It makes a lot of sense to say that my number one source for secondhand books is eBay. Decent bookshops for my kind of reading material are sadly almost non-existent in my area and online book dealers can sometimes be far too mercenary when it comes to the prices they want for anything they deem to be rare in any way. No, I can sit on my couch with a cup of tea and my iPad on my lap as I browse in comfort. It’s obviously a very hit and miss affair, search for any given author and you’ll invariably get dozens of new editions up for sale or fairly tatty examples of older works. It’s off piste or weirdly random where things start to get interesting. Sometimes I can go for weeks without so much as a sniff then all of a sudden I hit a long list of great books – all of which I must have of course, often from the same seller.
I’ve made some great contacts through eBay too, sellers who genuinely communicate in a friendly way and maybe even offer deals for frequent buyers. People who refund excess postage without having to be asked or just send a pleasant message to say “thanks for buying my books” or “hello again, nice to have you back”. I even have the pleasure of occasionally buying from a lady who meticulously wraps each book in coloured tissue paper and includes a small handwritten card making them far more like little presents than mere vintage paperbacks (thanks Bernie!) It makes the world a better place to be in and I’m glad to be doing business with people just like these, some of whom I have come to call real friends over the years despite having never met any of them in person.
This week’s selection of book covers, online purchases each and every one is dedicated to those very eBay sellers who have managed through their generosity and kind actions to put a smile on my usually worldweary face (I mean, have you seen my Gravatar, I gave the photographer my full repertoire of “blissfully happy with not a care in the world” looks and this is the best he could come up with!) – for that very fact ladies and gentlemen of eBay, I for one would like to take this opportunity to stand up and thank you heartily. Please carry on doing what you’re doing well and take pleasure in the knowledge that there are some of us out here snapping up your wares whilst greatly appreciating your efforts in recognising us as living, breathing customers with feelings too – actual human beings rather than a mere software trigger to demand the moving of a package from one location to another.
Now, enough sentimental noodling, let’s get to the best bit – books! Here’s my choice of five, all eBay purchases mind. Feel free to comment on any aspect of the article above or just the book covers, I always look forward to our conversations.
The People Maker by Damon Knight
This version was published in 1959 by Zenith Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers
The Pandora Effect by Jack Williamson
This version was published in 1969 by Ace Books
The cover artist is C. Gross
A Funeral For The Eyes Of Fire by Michael Bishop
This version was published in 1975 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Gene Szafran
City Of A Thousand Suns by Samuel R. Delany
This version was published in 1969 by Sphere Books
The cover artist is Russell Fitzgerald
Ladies Day / This Crowded Earth by Robert Bloch
This version was published in 1968 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is uncredited