Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Praise Of Pre-Loved Books

I know, I know, as a writer I should be encouraging readers to avoid second-hand bookstores as if they were biblical clichés – but what can I tell you? I love second-hand bookstores. Here’s a piece of whimsy on the subject the Evening Herald was kind enough to publish …
There are a couple of drawbacks to having a book published, the main one being that most people assume that you’re earning JK Rowling-style loot, and expect you to stand every round. The truth is that most writers are as broke as Delhi orphans, and it’s wasting all their time writing that has them that way.
  Which is why, while most writers want you to buy a brand spanking new copy of their latest book, and preferably in hardback, said writers will generally be found haunting the murkier corners of your local second-hand bookshop. They’re addicted to books, after all -- the writing is just a symptom of a particularly bad affliction -- and they can’t afford to pay top dollar …
  For the rest, clickety-click here


lawlis42 said...

While I, too, am fond of secondhand bookstores (we have a rather decent, albeit haunted, one here in Amarillo)I do like getting brand new shiny hardbacks. I think lots of people look forward to that new book from a favorite author. It's like getting that special candy treat when you're little, only more permanent and less tooth-rotty.

Uriah Robinson said...

My idea of heaven, a raincoat, a new umbrella and a trip to Hay on Wye, the only place in the western hemisphere where it rains more than Ireland. ;o)

As it is always raining you can justify spending all your time buying books and as a break going to the pub. No walking hiking or any other exercise just strolling round the bookshops.

adrian mckinty said...


I got a second hand copy of The Wasp Factory which has this dedication in it "To Nadette, with my love and very best wishes - Iain Banks."

You dont get stuff like that on Amazon.

marco said...

Every month I have access to a charity used books sale with thousands of books at ridiculous prices,add the normal secondhand bookshops,and for English books,the thriving bargain bin section of my English bookshop in Florence,and you'll see I'm pretty spoiled.
Pre-loved...many actually seem to arrive as good as new.I remember a copy of L'Arcobaleno della Gravità/Gravity's Rainbow which seemed as yet untouched by human hand.(I convinced a friend of mine to buy it-he now uses it as a doorstopper-literally).
And it is sad to see how many have a dedication-birthdays,marriages-I'd feel bad giving away a gift.

v-word:cabilia,a region of Algeria.