One of the problems with secondhand books is the enormous amount of cookery books that people got for Christmas and don’t really want. Figuring at the top of this list are the ones by celebrity chefs, the ones where the meals look like they wouldn’t feed a small child, and the ones that seem to have been put together for the modern sale – you know what I mean it was for sale at £14.99 in our branch in Aberystwyth but only ever seems to have appeared in most places at £3.99.
Now for the most part secondhand bookbuyers are only buying for themselves and when it comes to non-fiction like cookery they are buying because they have a serious interest in the subject.
Of course there is the internet where there are probably millions of recipes, including millions that don’t work properly, so I guess the main reason that people buy cookery books today is because they have confidence in the author and know that if they try to cook something they haven’t cooked before they have a reasonable chance that it won’t turn into a culinary disaster.
Buying cookery books on the internet is also a of a nightmare, the browsing aspect is nearly impossible due to not being able to see the wood for the trees and even if you know exactly what you want it is either an expensive process or very difficult to tell the condition of the book if you are buying a secondhand copy.
Selling cookery books on the internet is also difficult as most secondhand cookery books are available on Amazon for a price including postage that is less than the cost of posting them.
In my bookshop I apply the normal maxim of looking books up on the internet and making sure the ones I am selling are cheaper than you can buy them online and with cookery books I am – have to be – very selective about which ones I stock, the pictures of the cookery books on the shelves in my bookshop today show you what happens.