Category Archives: Bookish

overdue library books

How Overdue are your Library books?


overdue library books university professor at the Queen’s University of Belfast has escaped a fine of more than £8,500 after finding that he had still in his possession a book that he borrowed from a library 47 years ago.

Emeritus Prof John Foster from the university’s Institute of Irish studies recently found in his possession a book by Victorian poet Arthur Hugh Clough, after returning to Vancouver to clean out the locker he used when he had worked at the University of British Columbia a span of years. Upon discovery of the book in his locker the open it up to find the due date stamp reading 11th of October 1966, whereupon presumably his pants darkened in a most unprofessorally like manner.

The university said that it was more than happy simply to be getting the book back so it would not be charging the Prof to fork out the £8,577.50 overdue fine.

While this is seemingly an extraordinarily long time for a book to be overdue, this doesn’t come close to the record unsurprisingly in the convict colony of Australia. A School of arts library lent out a first edition Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin in 1889, only to have it returned mildly late in 2011, a full 122 years late. Again, in a show of literary lovers companionship the late fee was indeed waved.

compare book prices old books

Supporting Your Local Book Shops

compare book prices old booksAs we look back on the recently finished independent booksellers week and all the press that it gathered, we have to look at ourselves as an online book and textbook retail and ask ourselves are we damaging local bookshops. Personally I have some very mixed feelings about this. I used to be an owner of a small bookshop that dealt mostly in second hand books, and I was, as most people are very proud of my little store. But over the last 10 years with the meteoric rise of the Internet, I found it harder and harder to keep my little shop afloat in a world that seems more than eager to move online and away from the local bookstore.

As much as I want to, I don’t blame people for not shopping locally, as even I have moved on to this wonderful World Wide Web where I can get all my literary needs for about half the price of what I would pay at a local bookstore. Even the major retailers are moving the majority of their business online, as the simple cost of maintaining a brick and mortar store becomes harder and harder to keep up with. When my store was on the verge of shutting down I raved and ranted at the major retailers, at Amazon and just that anyone who would stand still for long enough, I was angry but I didn’t know who to be angry at.

It seems perverse from me, someone who works for a website that sells books solely over the Internet, to try and tell people that they should be supporting their local bookstore’s, undo. Scratch that, it is perverse and entirely hypocritical, but I’m going to do it anyway and here’s why. People have been decrying that the end of books is nigh on the age of the digital media is already here, but let’s be honest who doesn’t prefer the feel of a good honest book in their hands over holding a tablet or ereader. My eyes still gets sore after only an hour or two squinting at my iPad or Kindle. There is no real substitute physical book.

Compare Book Prices

So while books are here to stay to just a little bit longer, so too should your local bookstore. But bookstores in your local area need to realise that they simply can’t compete with the prices of books online and need to act accordingly. Local bookstore’s need to play to their strengths, let people come in sit down somewhere and read a chapter or two, offered them a free drink of tea or coffee and employ reasonable intelligence staff that no when people want help and when people just want to be left alone.

One of the best ideas that I’ve ever seen is from the one remaining second hand bookstore in my area. They offer a box of free lollipops that sit next to a box of free children’s books, and while the books are necessarily in the best condition, the kids don’t care they have a lolly and something to read.

There is no online substitute for a real honest to goodness community fall of knowledgeable welcoming people.

Should Physical Books Come With a Free Digital Copy

Books are ImportantHow many digital book readers haven’t dreamt about this at some point? Buying a physical copy of a book and getting a free digital download of the same book allowing you to get the best of both worlds. I can’t count the number of times I have wished for this be the norm.

Every time this comes up in conversation, people seem to be of the opinion that getting a digital copy with your purchase of a physical book is going to become the norm, later if not sooner. Any number of factors point to this being true, predominantly the fact that this is already happening in the musical world. Granted, it has been a while since I purchased a CD, but I am told that more often than not when you purchase a CD today, you get a digital download key included.

I also recall that Barnes and Nobel did try this out when digital books were first on the rise a few years ago, but the fact that they only tried once, and never again is fairly telling in how their efforts were received.

Another consideration is that this would be a great boost to the physical book stores around today that bemoan the internet for killing off their business. Allowing them to sell digital copies along with the books in their stores would cause digital books to become less of a threat to the local stores and indeed a boon to them at no additional cost to the publisher.

Amazon_Kindle_3But what most people don’t take into consideration is the huge element in the digital book world that is Amazon.  Amazon will fight tremendously against this becoming the norm as they have invested so much time and so much more money in becoming the number one retailer of e-books around the world, they have no vested interest in giving their share of this market away.

Amazon sells their e-readers, the Kindle, and Kindle Fire, at manufacturing cost in order to get them into the hands of the consumers. Once they do though, the consumers are forced to use Amazon’s kindle store to purchase their digital books. The consumers simply have no other option.

No one stands to lose more than Amazon if consumers always received a copy of the digital book whenever they purchased a physical copy, and at the same time, they are one of the few companies in the world that are actually in a position to be able to stop this practice from ever occurring. No major or minor publisher in the world wants to risk getting on the bad side of Amazon. They are too big a distributer to every single major market on earth to try and annoy.

Book Price Comparisons

Book price comparisons are a great way to save money when buying your new or used textbooks. Obviously we here at highly recommend you use our very own Book Price Comparison Tool located on our home page.

This tool gives you the power to compare book prices from hundreds of various book vendors from all over the world. All you need to do is to enter the author, isbn, or name of the book and hit search.

The amount of money you can save by taking the time and doing some quick book price comparisons is not small at all. One quick check of my local book store has the price for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone” at the cheapest price I have ever seen a physical book store sell it for at $16. That’s not so bad I hear you say, no it’s not, I reply, but one quick look below shows you that you can get a high quality used copy for a quarter of that price, and a brand spanking new copy for $6.

Lets have a quick look as some example book price comparisons to see just how much you can actually save when you take the time to do some price comparisons.

Lets try out with one of the most popular books of the last few decades, Harry Potter. There are a few hundred million copies floating around, so it should be fairly easy to find a good deal.

SImply Type in the term you are searching for, in our case, Harry Potter

Book Price Comparisons

Then a list of available titles with the search term in it will come up. Pick one of these to do a price comparison for a particular book.

Compare Book Price Comparisons

We clicked on Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, lets see how cheap we can get it.

compare book prices 3


Just under $6 from an ebay site, $7 from Amazon, and $12.45 from There is also one eBook listed for just under $9, but if you want to search just eBooks, try out our eBook Price Comparisons Tool.

We also have a comparison tool optimised for mobile phones as well as an Android app. Lets

take a quick look at that.

Go to or look us up on the Google Play Store.
Mobile Book Price Comparisons

If all has gone to plan, then it should look something like the above screen shot. From, just as in the desktop version you simply need type in your search query.

mobile Book Price Comparisons

With Harry Potter again as an example, we hit search now and as you can see it shows us a number of options for this keyword, and then a selection of prices.

Mobile Book Price Comparisons