Pruning for want of a better word, perhaps weeding. I am, finally, going through all my boxes of books. Most of my books are in boxes, and it has been such for several years. I live in a house full of my dad’s books, which I also love; dad passed away a few years ago. According to my sister, who has stamped each book in memory of dad, there’s about 3,000. I’m planning to keep at most, around 10% of that, and my sister will be keeping some too. Once the house is sold, we will need to dispose of the remainder. One plan is to invite all his friends over, and ask them to choose a book they’d like. The rest will no doubt end up at a second hand shop (a fair chunk are of good academic stock), of which I have a couple of possibilities in mind. I will end up in a smaller place than this, probably a unit, so book space will be tight. Consequently I am going through all my books, and weeding, as I have a few thousand too. Already managed to weed out a few hundred, out went the Hardy Boys, and old sets of encyclopedias, retained, of course, are my Biggles, and Enid Blyton, and I daresay others. These too, will end up in secondhand shops, though some may end up at the UNSW Bookfair, a place at which I’ve scored many a bargain in years gone by.
Yet, still I’m tempted to buy more. Though I have a leatherbound Shorter, I am tempted to buy another, for the office. The standard Shorter is available for approx $120 via Amazon (locally it’s $250) whereas the leather is approx $240 via Amazon (locally it’s $825). At around a difference of $120 (+pp), it remains very tempting just to get a second leatherbound edition. One day I hope to buy the full OED and I’ve noticed on Amazon US that it’s anywhere between 32-40% off of late, in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen it full price, similarly the Shorter. Current price for the full OED is approx $717 via Amazon (locally it’s $2,500). On Amazon, the full OED is currently 33% off, though I’m sure it hit 40% off a week or two back. Even at full price, it’s much, much cheaper to buy it from the US Amazon than locally. I do support my local bookshops where I can, but the price differences are too huge on these. They’re so expensive that I wouldn’t consider buying them at all locally. Even buying direct from the UK is cheaper than buying them in Oz, where the leather Shorter is available for approx $387 via Amazon UK (direct from OUP UK, it’s approx $544) and the full OED is approx $1,630 via Amazon (direct from OUP UK is the same). Hmmm…I didn’t actually mean to end up doing a price comparison between Oz, the UK, and the US on the OED but those price differentials are fascinating. Playing into that of course are the sizes of the respective markets, not to mention exchange rates (which are great for buying overseas at the moment), but still the price in Oz is well, just a wee bit high.
I had planned to spend a sentence on my OED fetish and move on to another book I’m interested in, which I spotted in a local bookshop this evening. That is, BibliOdyssey, and it’s gleanings from the blog of the same name. Essentially a collection of images, found online, and occasional text ie a printed version of the blog. It’s smaller than I anticipated but a nice little book nonetheless. As for the price, which is what I’d done my initial cross country comparison on, try these (all amounts, as with the OED, are converted to an Oz dollar equivalent): Oz: $60, UK: $31, US: $25.