Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bargain basement-ing

I decided to explore the bargain basement of a bookshop.

I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much.  I thought it would consist largely of bad romances and cheap thrillers with cringe-worthy titles (my personal favourite so far: I Started Early, Took My Dog).  Those kinds of books fill me with a strange mixture of hope and dread. Part of me thinks that if this can get published, then surely just about anything can.  This makes me feel a lot better about my own chances.  On the other hand, it does make me wonder what sort of books they turned down, and whether my own writing will be shoved aside in favour of books with unnecessary adverbs.

There were plenty of cheap novels, and several books that made you wonder why anyone ever thought that would be a good idea (a book entirely about string?).

But there were also numerous books that were genuinely good, which made me strangely sad.  Why were these books here anyway?  Why were they selling off books with plot-lines for half the price of Twilight knock-offs? As much as I love bookshops, I highly doubt they were doing to be generous.

The act of putting a price on a book can seem almost crass.  In the end of the day the price of a book is not representative of just the paper and ink.  If it was, then books would probably be a lot cheaper.  The price of a book represents what value a shop believes that its customers will but on the experience of reading that particular book.  While I like the fact that I can get a book for less than the price of lunch,  it saddens me to think that these things aren't valued more.