Books in Australia are very expensive. I’ve got no idea how anyone can afford to read. A book that costs £7 in the UK might be $25 (around £16) here. Even kids’ books cost $15. It’s hardly pocket money. The result is an abundance of extremely good second hand bookshops. By extremely good I mean they are packed to the rafters with a wide range of reading material. The photo is of a second hand bookshop I visited in Castlemaine. It looks like a health and safety hazard. Normally I like to browse by myself but when the lady in the shop asked if she could help me find something, I accepted her offer straight away. Time was tight and I couldn’t afford to get lost in a maze of stacked books.
Normally I am against buying books second hand. My reasoning is that if you buy a new book the author gets royalties for it, if you buy a used book they don’t. Libraries are great because not only do you get free access to books, but every time you borrow a book the author gets a little bit of money too. At least that’s how it works in the UK. I need to find out what the situation is here in Australia.
In the Castlemaine bookshop I was looking for more Paul Jennings stories and I managed to find a collection (after being given directions and a map) of three of his Un books in one volume. At $7.50 it was a bargain. Even second hand books here normally cost almost as much as a new book in the UK. I didn’t feel too guilty about my purchase because I’d already bought all of his books once before. Not only did I not feel guilty, I’d even go as far as to say that transaction made my day.