Once upon a book

When last did you visit a book exchange?  When I was in high school and studying afterwards, this was quite the rage.  We did not go to high priced bookstores that exist today, nor were there really any.  CNA was the stationer and not really a book store, having the selection it has now.  You bought new books through Leisure Books or found them at smaller stores. However libraries were what people did.  We took out a pile of books and returned or renewed them two weeks later.  Every suburb had a library.  With a vast range of books.  However as I grew older, renewing on time became a problem for me.  I think that every library that still exists has a photo of me on their system "do not give her books" - simply because I lost two and refused to pay the R375 per book they wanted for a book that was for sale elsewhere for R100.  The rest was for capturing the book on the system, tagging it and what not else.  I would have helped them with that for free.  And two books in 21 years was hardly a bad average.  Books were probably also not the premium they cost now.  I can remember book exchanges - they were always small. And crammed.  And they smelt of books.  Well read, often handled, books.  That semi-musty, semi-dusty smell.  They always seemed to have very small aisles and very helpful assistants and worked everywhere on the "bring books in and swop for other books and pay a small amount"  The more you brought and the less you took - you could almost walk out without parting with money.  

I read hundreds of books that way.  For a while in a previous job I had an Apple IPad and read a couple of books on here.  It is not for me.  Convenient but just not the same.  I like the real life look and feel and smell of books, both new and previously loved ones.  I love a new book of which you gently open the spine (my dad worked in a busy book store for many years as a teenager and learnt the art of "opening" new books) - I have spent the last 20 years opening every book in this house from novels to school books and varsity books this way.  

The upper end bookstores today sell mainstream novels of popular authors for R260 to R380.  It is crazy and perhaps better prices would encourage more people to read.  So you need to shop wisely .... Exclusive Books has an annual book sale - visit it more than once over the 2 week period.  They keep topping up and prices keep getting better.  I picked up 2 great new titles for R40 each.  Then there are branches of Bargain Books, unfortunately too few of them.  They have a good mix of new titles at good prices.  The Centurion store is by far the best. 

Then there are book "exchanges" who today work more on a sales method where a popular title will cost you about R60.  Or a book club which is more about wine than books but at least you get to pay for one book and read five or six.  

There is also OLX, Bid or Buy and other such sites.  Keep your eyes on these for good deals.  

Look around - there is much to be read.  Just sniff out the bargains. 

Till soon 
c'est la vie xxx

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