For those of you who are writers and hang about this place looking for tips on writing, I say good for you. This is a smart move, for this is indeed what we do here. Excellent.
However, this week I wanted to tell you where to find other cool people’s writing advice. Specifically, people who put down their advice in book form.
Yes, I know we have ebooks and yes, they are thoroughly awesome. You can go buy one now if you’d like to see how awesome they are. However, my post is about book-books.
You know. The things with the pages. And the smell. And the feeling. And the happiness.
While the book industry is probably going to be around for years to come, independent bookstores are suffering lately. Which makes sense, being as I personally am sometimes too lazy to get up and walk the quarter-mile to one of the three independent bookstores around me to find the book I seek.
I’ve used Amazon. I have. I admit it. It’s true.
I used it until a couple of months ago, when I discovered that for books, there is something far superior to Amazon. It is called Biblio.com, and I’m going to tell you all about it.
Usually I am wooed to such romanticizing only by the promise of money, but since Biblio supplies me with books, and I like books, they have won my heart forever. The fact that I have to pay for these books is a minor thing indeed.
Basically, Biblio has a ton of independent booksellers on its payroll, and they sell books through them. Supporting independent bookstores AND being lazy is a win-win, I think. I like to be conscientious when it doesn’t require me to work hard. Or, you know. At all.
Biblio ships everywhere in the world, they tell you where the sellers are located so you don’t wind up paying huge shipping fees for a book from the UK when you were trying to save five cents on the price, and they even have a search engine that allows you to search for the edition you want, if you’re interested in such things.
I sometimes am interested in such things. I don’t care if Hemingway ever spat upon the edition I’m holding, but did you ever have an edition of a book you enjoyed when you were a child that you desperately wanted to find again? You could only find the latest new shiny version whose pictures were far inferior to your childhood memories.
Until now. Biblio saved me from this terrible fate. I have Peter Pan in the only correct edition now. I don’t care which edition you had when you were a kid, this one is the real one and I found it and it’s mine.
I will always love independent bookstores. Usually, I wander around acquiring books I had forgotten I wanted, or never knew existed. I hang out until the clean-up crew starts giving me dirty looks and the counter staff “accidentally” spills something on my shoe.
To get you going, I’m going to recommend some of my favorite writing books currently extant. You should go on Biblio.com right now and buy them:
Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
The Well-Fed Writer, Peter Bowerman
On Writing, Stephen King
The Copywriter’s Handbook, Robert Bly
If you are a poetry lover, Biblio.com is also one of the best places I’ve found to get poetry books. Usually it’s nigh impossible to find books from poets because even independent stores tend to stock only the most recognized names. That means if I want to find the newly crowned poet laureate of Britain, Carol Ann Duffy, or the wonderful Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Lizel Mueller, I used to have to go through Amazon.
Your books come to you smelling like bookstore, too. There’s something about a used book smell. It’s like the opposite of car-buying. For cars, you want the new-car smell. For books, you want that smell that says other people have read these pages before, that they have loved them, and that so will you.