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What is the value of a book?

May 29, 2012 2 comments

What is the value of a book?  As a question it’s right up there with “How long is a piece of string?” or “How many apples in a barrel of grapes?” So let’s narrow it down a bit to the vexed question of books as gifts.

In these days of deep discounts and multiple book offers on-line and in-store, how does the recipient of a book from me know that I have spent ages lovingly selecting it from a real bookshop, maybe even an independent bookshop?  Will they assume it was a bargain from Amazon?  Or – shock, horror! – part of a multiple pack bought for next to nothing from The Book People?

When books are regularly given away with magazines and newspapers and cut-price deals are everywhere, do we really value books as we should?  When you can download hundreds of free books onto your Kindle, do you think of them differently?

For the record, I buy my books from all sorts of places and I am just as easily seduced by a bargain as the next person – I would find it hard to support my reading habit if I didn’t succumb occasionally!  But if you receive a book from me, be assured that, nine times out of ten, it will be that carefully sourced, fully-priced, real-bookshop-bought volume.

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