Friday, June 09, 2006

Confessions of a Book Addict

Last night my sister pointed out to me that I have said many times that I am not going to buy any more books until I have finished the ones that I already have. And why did she have to remind me of this vow? Yes, you guessed it! I went out and bought two books yesterday. I've pretty much given-up on that vow. In fact, I don't know why I still say it. Maybe in the far reaches of my mind, I actually think that I will be able to hold my book-buying impulses in check and resist the call of new books anytime I step into a bookshop.

I'm quite good whenever I go to Nu Metro at the Silverbird Galleria. Nu Metro, and many other shops, wrap-up their books and magazines in clear cellophane so that you cannot flip through the books leaving your grubby little paw-prints all over it and creasing the covers in the process. I guess from a business person's point of view, this makes good sense afterall who is going to buy a supposedly 'new' book that looks like it's gone through ten different owners? But, from the same business p.o.v, it makes sense to give the buyers a taste of what they'd be getting. Even if they decide to wrap-up most of the books, they might consider leaving one copy unwrapped so that buyers can flip through and decide if it's something that they'd be interested in. Since many bookshops do not tend to stock many copies of each book, perhaps this would not be feasible.

The other fear of booksellers, of course, is that you will read the whole book/magazine in the store and not need to buy it afterwards. Sorry, but isn't this part of the draw of bookshops? I've spent many happy hours in bookshops reading whole books that I had absolutely no intention of buying. However, chances were that the longer I was in the store and encouraged to return, the more I likely I was to buy books from there. So, what's the lesson here? I guess it is that you have to spend money to get money. Okay, perhaps easier said than done from a profit-making p.o.v especially in Nigeria's tough economic climate. But, just my 2 kobo both as a book-lover and someone who has extensive experience working in bookshops.

So yesterday when I visited bookshops (Bookworm and Quintessence) that did not wrap their books up, I of course perused away to my heart's content and ended-up buying books in both shops. Quintessence has a great selection of Nigerian books for children, in case you are interested. So does Nu Metro, in all fairness, and you might even be able to flip through them. Bookworm has expanded it's store area, with fiction in the first room and non-fiction in the adjoining room. There's also a seating area. Very good, Bookworm!

Oh, I didn't mention my new books. They are Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad by Bebe Moore Campbell and Defying the Odds: Case Studies of Nigerian Organisations That Have Survived Generations by the youth and business leadership NGO, LEAP Africa. I have already read most of Defying the Odds and it's a very interesting read and provides very good guidelines for family businesses that tend to wither away after the founder dies or leaves the business. I can't wait to start Sweet Summer. Hmmm, maybe I'll hold off on Great Expectations for now. Oh, I don't know. I'll figure it out.

14 comments:

uknaija said...

I suffer from the same affliction...it was joining the public library here that saved me from bankrupting myself...a luxury that I am constantly grateful for...But I still run riot each time I visit the States on books that aren't available yet here....leading to some concerning excess baggage bills:-)

I loved (still do each time I visit) Glendora...it was an oasis for me on many Saturdays when I could browse as long as I wanted.... books that I could never have afforded....The British Council Library was another haven...although they did have a bit of performance about getting membership...It's really good to know that the book market in Nigeria is expanding in this way...shame that NuMetro shrinkwraps their books

Adunni said...

I don't suffer from that affliction yet, 'cos there are no good places to buy books in kaduna before now i couldn't really afford to buy so i belonged to the borrowers and exchanger's clubs. I'm seriously looking foward to POP cos now i can afford to splurge on books in Lagos so i'll be getting that affliction too and probably drive my mum nuts with the volume of books i'll get. My friend is bringing me purple Hibiscus and Everything Good Will Come this weekend so i'm looking foward to reading them.
I know i'm reading them after the whole of Nigeria has done so but better late than never.

Vixen said...

I'm an avid booklover here. I can't live without books....I love books so much!

Ore said...

@uknaija: Glendora was my place back in the day. I used to buy so much from there.

I loved the public library when I was in the US and in the UK. You save so much money and can experiment a bit more. I saw a library on Awolowo Road, but have never been there. I will walk in one day and see what they have.

Adunni, I'm sure you'll really enjoy both Purple Hibiscus and Everything Good Will Come.

Pilgrimage to Self said...

Ah, book buying. The bane of my life!!

ayoke said...

Ore, when next yoou visit Nu Metro, ask them to take the wrap off if you are interested in flipping through a book. They will. I was under the impression you couldn't but a friend of mine confirmed to me that you could. She spends hours there. 'Said they only wrap it up to keep them clean or something like that.

Ore said...

Thanks for the tip, Ayoke!

adefunke said...

You should have seen me at the airport, juggling my belongings between my two pieces of luggage (BA has this 32kg max weight per bag thing and they are very strict about it.) At one point the guy at the scales had to comment, 'na so so book you carry'! I love books, and yes they will remove the shrink wrap on the books at NUMetro.

Nneka's World said...

I feel you!
i am a book addict. Its so bad that i mistakenly buy books that i have read!

There is nothing like reading a nice well written novel.

Like Uk naija said, i had to join the public library, i dont know what to do with my book collection, maybe drop it off at oxfam.

Reading is good for soul, being able to loose yourself in another world, imagining yourself as part of the story.

I am a member of three different libraries.

ivieboh said...

ive started reading like crazy again since i started working. something to do on the plane rides. and i wanted to add...all your natural hair links are all also my saved favs on my comp. what a coincidence, lol.

Ore said...

@ivieboh: What a coincidence indeed! Great minds visit the same websites perhaps?

Anonymous said...

for all you book addicts out there, I just came across this new publishing company setting up in Nigeria http://cassavarepublic.blogspot.com/
I think Chimanda second novel is coming out soon. We need more companies setting up like this cassava republic and farafina. But I hope that they will promote and support local writers

Anonymous said...

hmm have you read unfinished issues by isoken john

it is on amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0595238351/ref=cm_lm_fullview_prod_1/002-2655310-4707268?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

Ore said...

No, not read it.