I'm surprised at myself, I now buy directly from publishers in a way I would never have imagined. I thought I would have a written think about the different ways I get to buy books:
1. I go to a local bookshop with a person in mind I want to buy a birthday present for. This is great as I stay focussed and just browse until I see something which appeals and is not something I had planned for.
In fact I do not plan what I will get as a present anyway. So I am the ideal bookshop browser, walking in and saying 'Enchant me, attract my eye with a great cover, appeal to me because I want to choose something right now!' Mainly I buy children's books from age 0 to age 7.
2. I used to go to a local bookshop with my son T at the beginning of each holiday or half term. He was at a stage of hoovering up books, so we'd come out with a stack.
Now he buys in Reading after school, so I am not involved, nor is the local bookshop, but life is like that. He chooses 20th century classics, so often he will show us what he has found and we will say, 'Oh, but we have that somewhere already!'
3. Our local W H Smiths is good for GCSE and AS level books I want to have around for home ed purposes.
There are no prices on the books!! I can't believe some of the prices, but cough up because it is for Home Education and I can't tell what will be most helpful. I also get the odd history book there for my own interest. I found a wonderful road map of the USA there too!
4. Oxfam branches have great book sections, Wallingford and Didcot. I don't go in unless I am willing to get something, but can't have anything in mind as the range is unpredictable.
Once there was the famous Whole Earth Catalogue. It is a marvellous book, I had no idea the 60's and 70's really were like that. I have a long term plan to volunteer there if I get the chance.
5. I go onto Amazon with a specific purpose. This evening it was Arabic Board Books, then morphed into Arabic Readers for Beginners. I found various things and added them to my wish list.
One evening when I am feeling generous and agree to buy a book or dvd for T or H I will add a couple of my wish list items to the basket. There is quite a delay between putting something in the wish list and buying it, but it is right there for that 'willing to buy' moment. Looking at my wish list shows what topics I was interested in over the past year. I enjoy browsing what other people have searched for. The suggestions broaden my knowledge too.
6. I read the poetry and other literary blogs on my side bar and click through to the publishers of books I am immediately attracted to. Either I buy the book online straight away or I forget about it.
I need a wish list which holds all these direct from the publisher books. One thing I could do to help myself would be to write a draft blog post with links to each of these publishers. Then I could just update the baskets each time. This is still not nearly as good as a single ongoing Amazon wish list.
7. I read the Waterstone's blog and access the basket there.
8. Jessica Kingsley Publishers send me a printed catalogue every few months, so I buy from that if there is something I feel I would really benefit from, or borrow from the library or buy 2nd hand from Amazon.
9. I enjoy the Financial Times weekend book reviews, I cut my favourites out and stick them into my scrap book.
Coming up to my birthday or Christmas I look through and decide what to ask for.
10. I nearly forgot about the best source of all: the bibliography at the back of books I read. I photocopy them if I have to, or just mark them with buy, library, 2nd hand or have!
11. The list of other works by an author, split into Fiction and Non-fiction, at the front of each book. I am drawn to autobiographical works, so that helps me find them.
12. The village fete book tent in East Hagbourne and the half yearly book sale at North Moreton. How could I forget these?
Sorry for the long post, this is more for me than for any readers.