Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The As and Bs of paperback fiction, the insanity of war, the madness of blogging and of course the wretched airport, a midweek ramble.

The whole business of selling secondhand paperback fiction has shifted once again, this time it’s due to Amazon changing its free postage. As anyone who buys secondhand books online will probably know, a book listed on Amazon for 1p isn’t necessarily the cheapest, for about a month now the golden year of secondhand books being available for as little as £1 including postage from Amazon has ended. Well not exactly as they still are if you want to buy a tenners worth at one time, but gone are the days of finding the book you want in Waterstones, pointing the amazon app at the barcode and buying is very cheaply. 1p on amazon means £2.81 which with most ordinary paperbacks means that if I have it it will probably be considerably cheaper and it is also likely to be cheaper on Ebay, but this means a lot of fiddling about.

This means that Ebay is fast becoming the biggest player in the world of cheap secondhand paperbacks, form the buyers point of view I think the main factors in it’s favour are that the feedback is easy to follow and most listings are accompanied by a photo of the book.

From my point of view it is the sold listings that are particularly useful at the moment I have just been through the As and Bs in our paperback fiction, the main task being to make sure the one on the shelves in my bookshop are cheaper than you could buy them online.

The other task is to try and work out which books should go on the fairly rapid journey to the 50p section, on to the 5p section and then to recycling, this is where Ebay sold listings come into their own. once you have looked a book up on Ebay set the dropdown “sort” top right on “price +p&p lowest first and dot the circle that says “sold listings” on the left.

I am reading “The Ghost Road” by Pat Barker as part of my trying to understand WW1 this is the third book in the regeneration trilogy, it is exceptionally good, I would put it in the top hundred of fiction written in the last half of the 1900s. It is centred around the treatment of insanity caused by fighting in trenches and focuses on some of the war poets. Dear reader, it is a readers book.

We had two copies on the shelf, one with heavy scoring at 50p and one in good condition at £1.50 which isn’t there now as I am reading it.

Looking it up on amazon the cheapest copy is 1p or £2.81 including postage, on ebay £2.50 including postage. Ebay sold listings show that 19 copies have sold from there in the last three months the cheapest having sold for £1.74, which shows to me a realistic price for someone who is prepared to take a little time and trouble.      

Obviously fiction needs pruning in some way otherwise the non sellers build up to the point where there isn’t room for the books that sell, most of the decisions relating to which books go on the short sharp journey to the being pulped at the paper mill, used to be made by me based on how good the book was, this seemed a bit hard on those books that I hadn’t read. Now I am basing this decision also on whether the book has sold on Ebay in the last three months, that is of course assuming that there are lots of copies listed for sale there.  

So here is a picture of the offending books from the As and Bs which take up about two bookcase in the shop, pulling them out gives me nearly another shelf of space.  

My reading of various books about the first and second world wars is changing my view on the matter, it does seem that the reasons the first world war started were relatively minor and that they could have been avoided.

Sassoon’s Statement raises some interesting questions (Germany wanted to negotiate a peace at this time):

“Lt. Siegfried Sassoon.
3rd Batt: Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
July, 1917.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of agression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.”

One has to appreciate that this was just after he was awarded the MC for gallantry in the trenches.  

The various airline companies that were using Manson Airport seem to be rapidly pulling out, which indicates closure next month. The Thanet conservative group seem to be blaming the whole thing on Labour not changing the terms of the s106 agreement made in 200 preventing nighttime flying.

I have tried to get some answers her in Simon’s blog about the Conservative lead rescue package, mainly asking the question: Along the lines of if Roger Gale manages to put together a rescue package, would this be based on the Che conservatives offering considerable nighttime flying as soon as they regain the balance of power at TDC.

To me the whole business, why the Conservatives didn’t change the nighttime flying rules when they were in power and why they didn't come up with a better buyer for the airport earlier seems all a bit odd.

I guess in Thanet where most of the floating voters seem to either vote Labour to keep the Conservatives out or Conservative to keep Labour, this about what we would expect.

I is looking as thout the airport is going to close in April, that it isn’t for sale and that as it’s a brownfield site there is very little that government at any level can do to influence development there.

Bit of an update on the Manston front which seems to be saying that Ann Gloag intends to sell the airport and not develop the land as we had been assuming.

I have notice that much of the comment on the blog recently seems to be about my administration of the comment left by others, please apricticate I manage the comment here mostly with my mobile and apply the comment rules under the comment box. Comment that is off the subject matter gets deleted if I am not sure about it.  

Sorry if there are any typos or grammatical error in this i typed it up very quickly on the cloud mostly using a bluetooth keyboard with my phone.  

Just noticed that The Shipwrights Jazz Bar has sprouted a scaffold

The soon to be opened Italian in King Street a sign


  1. STRANGE HOW a 1p book costs more than a more expensive one but I was recently talking to a mate who supports West Ham and takes his grandson for a pound but when he takes him for free the booking charge cost more than £1.00 so in reality he pays more for a free ticket. Good luck repricing the amount of stock you have.

    1. That’s it Don 1p = £2.81 on Amazon. Whereas £1 with free delivery means £1 but it has to be part of a £10 order. The free delivery one are dispatched from Amazon’s warehouse the ones with £2.80 delivery on them are dispatched by the third party seller and the £2.80 delivery allowance is something the seller can’t change regardless of whether the book costs £8 to post or 80p to post. Amazon is very bizarre from the seller’s point of view as if you list a book on Amazon it is automatically matched to page that Amazon have already made, sometimes for a completely different item.

  2. Michael,

    All wars can be avoided. All that is necessary is for one to do as the aggressor wishes.

    The Kaiser was the aggressor. From the outset his intention was to grab an Empire. He cajoled and misled his ally Austria into invading Serbia. His aim was war with Russia, Serbia's ally, and the Kaiser's sworn enemy. Having achieved this he dusted off the Von Schlieffen plan and set about the task of taking France and the European mainland. It is true that he did not want war with us - at this time. Rather like Hitler, he first wanted control of Europe and would pick us off later time.


Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.