Where do you get your books?

Mountain View, having the high concentration of educated people that it does, has a large number of book stores, new and used, as well as a beautiful, high-tech library.

I could spend hours in the used book store. It is the largest and most densely packed place I've ever seen. Unfortunately it is quite expensive. Many of the books were being sold for more than they were priced when they were new! I decided that, due to the combined limiting factors of my suitcase and my wallet, if I found a book I really wanted to own, I would buy it online for cheaper and possibly get free shipping to Bloomington. Or I would walk across the street and check it out from the library.

I hope everyone else at the bookstore doesn't realize these convenient alternatives. I really enjoy browsing books, and it would be a shame if the used bookstores of the world started going out of business.


  1. Best option, bar none, is a university library with a delivery system from its satellites. Anyway, the only books you should really buy are those you'll want to read again and again... and poetry.

  2. Yeah, I generally try to limit the number of books I buy. It's an expensive habit, and there are very few books I would actually read more than once. The libary is a better option most of the time.

  3. What I've done is keep notes on books I want to read, and then placed holds on them at either the IU or the Monroe County public Libraries. MCPL has probably the best (and most widely used) hold system of any public library I've ever used.

    A little-known feature of IU's library system is that when a book is in the hands of another person, you can post a recall. This gives the person with the book 10 days to return it, or face a steep fine.

    So first I see if MCPL has it. If not, then I see if IU has it, and post a recall if necessary. If that fails too, or if it's a really great book, then I use http://isbn.nu to do used book price comparisons, and then buy from whoever comes in cheapest. I got a copy of "The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience" by Francisco J. Varela, Evan T. Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch for $5.00 that way.

    When I want to buy new, I generally use Powell's.

  4. Of course, my strategies have changed since I left Indiana - putting holds on books in the San Mateo County Library system costs $0.75. And I don't have much time to read any more.

    But you still have time in B-town to benefit from my highly evolved system. :-)


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