June 12th, 2008



I was chatting with davidjwilliams and in passing he mentioned a site called BookFinder, which I'd never heard of before. It's a site which searches for new/used/rare/out-of-print books for sale. Because I have a colossal ego, I typed `Dave Hutchinson' in, and there are the usual suspects. As The Crow Flies, which eCampus.com is selling new for a frankly staggering £32.97 (although I guess you have to take the exchange rate into account) bol.com in the Netherlands is offering for £23.24, and some very optimistic people called Moremedia in the US are selling used for £76.17 (with the note: `satisfaction guaranteed'!) *cocky swagger*
Here's The Villages which is going on Alibris UK for £49.54!!!*£$&! Who are all these people? Have they lost their minds?
Here's SP2, which Alibris UK is offering for £52.23, and SP3, which those wacky folks at Moremedia will sell you for £75.18 - and guarantee satisfaction.

Faintly reeling at all this, I typed in `David Hutchinson,' which is how the old Abelard collections came out, and then I sat and made a dint in the floor with my jaw.
You can get a copy of Thumbprints, the first one, which came out in 1978, for £17.82. The most expensive copy of Fools Gold, which came out the following year, is going for £20.86. If you wanted to pay top whack for Torn Air (which is my favourite, incidentally) you'll have to shell out £17.82. While a copy of The Paradise Equation, which came out in 1981, could also cost you as much as £17.82. Although it is described as `Overall, tight and clean.' Best review I ever had. Although I'm not sure whether it's a review of the book or my overalls (which are always clean and often snug)
I'm not certain, to be honest, how to feel about this. The first of the Abelard books came out thirty years ago. I don't think much more than a thousand copies were ever printed, and we didn't sell all of them, so in one way it's surprising and kind of gratifying to discover the damn things are still washing back and forth - many of them in pretty good nick, too, if the descriptions can be trusted.
On the other hand, I don't think any of them sold for more than twelve quid when they first came out, and in any sane world you'd find them on a market stall these days for a quid at most, so I find the prices a bit alarming. How can you ask £17.82 for a thirty-year-old book that was written by a seventeen-year-old who didn't have a clue what he was doing? How does that work?

In other news, Bogna gets home from Greece on Sunday morning, so I only have three more evenings of wild unfettered debauchery to go. That I've spent one of them rambling about the second-hand sales of my old books probably tells you all you need to know about my life. Tomorrow night I'll be folding socks.
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    the enid
pygmy marmoset

in which a senior tory loses his mind...

This will have been fairly well-covered by now, but David Davies, the shadow Home Secretary, has resigned as an MP and will contesting the by-election in his seat to protest the forty-two-day detention vote.
I listened to Davies's announcement on the radio at lunchtime and he sounded like Peter Finch in Network - "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!" He's not just protesting about the forty-two-day Bill but about ID cards and all the other chips the Labour government has been taking off our freedoms. Basically, he's standing up for Magna Carta.
Has he just gone crazy? I have no idea. He has a reasonably comfortable majority of about five thousand, and the LibDems say they won't contest the election. As I write, Labour haven't decided yet, although the merest chance of a by-election win may tempt them to have a go.
This is new stuff, but I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said today and rather admiring him for standing up for it.
The one downside, at the moment, is that Gordon won the forty-two-day proposal by only nine votes - Anne Widdicombe and some Democratic Unionist MPs, to whom a colossal amount of pork was allegedly promised (£20 million, I heard) That had become a big issue, the fact that the Government was so weak and divided it had to rely on buying votes. Now that issue is dead in the water and David Davies is the New Story, so Gordon's kind of off the hook.
I dunno. We're in uncharted waters here. I can't remember a politician ever doing something like this before. As they say, we live in interesting times.
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