fetish handling

A recent tweet from a friend:

flexnib tweetsuggests that it’s worth going into a little more detail as to what I do with the fancy, schmancy books I buy. Though I am generally being more restrained these days; living with a mortgage will do that to you. I s’pose it harkens back to the argument we often see with print (p) vs electronic (e) books; Look and feel vs bits and bytes.

As I’ve commented elsewhere, I have a kindle (version 2, US wifi only) which is now my primary reading device for all the stuff I used to buy in paperback. For example, I’m currently reading the Miles Vorkosigan series, the e versions of which I’ve bought via Baen (no DRM and all major formats supported). I’m reading a couple of books a week at the moment this way.

Stand on Zanzibar
Stand on Zanzibar

However, there are some books I’d like to read in a nicer edition. This might be long sought after items, or classic tales, or favoured authors. Despite my addiction to e, I also enjoy a nicely bound book; I have a bit of fetish for leather, limited editions, and signed copies (though I can’t decide whether I prefer signed or unsigned). These too, can be very addictive and I seem to have amassed a tidy collection of such. Recent arrivals include: John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar (Centipede Press, no.108 of 300), Carlos Zafon’s The Angel’s Game (Subterranean Press, no.200 of 750), and Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Club Dumas (Subterranean Press, no.182 of 500).

The Martian Chronicles
The Martian Chronicles

All these books are kept on regular bookcases and do get dusty. I don’t keep them in a special cabinet nor handle them with gloves. It’s only a matter of time before I spill wine or coffee on one, and thereby adding to its uniqueness :-) I buy special editions because I like to read them; I like the feel of them in my hand and enjoy a good paper stock. Growing up, hardcovers were a rarity and even as a young man (old fart that I am now), I devoured lots and lots of science fiction, bought cheaply secondhand. These days I can afford hardcovers and I can afford to buy them new…some of the time anyway :-) Instead of buying lots of hardcovers, I’m buying a few nice ones.

No book is too special not to be read.

9 thoughts on “fetish handling”

  1. you should buy one of those frosted glass door bookshelves and protect these precioussssssss smeagol ;)

  2. I just finished Angel’s Game two nights ago. I read it on my Kindle but it took me ages – not sure why. I liked it but not as much as Shadow of the Wind.
    Since I’m a bit of a transient, the Kindle is a godsend to my shipping costs!

  3. Your attitude to your special eds is like my attitude to my fountain pens. I am a little careful with my $600 maki-e Danitrio fountain pen (eg I don’t lend it to just anybody) but I use it and enjoy its feel when I hold it.

  4. Your fountain pens are a good comparison. We both buy nice things, so we can use them :-) Similarly, I am careful when showing my books to others.

  5. My partner has only child syndrome and finds it hard to share sometimes. When we were first together he would visibly hesitate before loaning me a book from his collection until… the day when he was reading whilst walking (a habit he picked up from me) and walked straight into a telegraph poll and nearly tore the middle clear off the hardcover. After that he had no one to blame but himself.

    I am a strong believer in using the nice things in your life. Otherwise what are you waiting for?

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