Thursday, December 22, 2005


I have more than 100 items in my Amazon shopping basket. This is normal for me over the past few years. My house is full of books spilling out of bookshelves, in the attic, in cupboards and so on. I have piles of books that I want to read. So why do I have 100 items in my Amazon basket? I read about new books in the Bookseller or Publishers' Weekly, or via the weekend newspapers or blogs (my favourite is Sarah Weinman's, linked to from here. She writes a round up of the newspaper reviews. with links, each week, so saves a lot of time). Then I log onto Amazon and put the books I like the sound of best in the basket. If they are hardbacks, I will wait until the paperback comes out -- but I need to bookmark the hardback as I will have forgotten about it by the time the paperback is published, having a poor short-term memory these years. I also index books I think my daughters will like, or Malcolm, and DVDs - and occasionally things like gift stationery, toys and calendars. Amazon itself, of course, has plenty of features encouraging you to buy items similar (or identical!) to ones you have recently bought, increasing basket size to groaning-point. I use their "new DVD" listings to add to my DVD rental list: one advantage of renting DVDs via Amazon is that you get a discount for any new ones you buy. (Amazon doesn't seem to have a "new published books" function as it does for DVDs, I wonder why.) So it is not difficult to accumulate a lot of books this way. I also keep on joining book clubs for the special introductory offers. The prices of the books you have to buy to fulfil your commitment are not good (Amazon often has them cheaper), and the selection is limited, so I am trying to cure myself of that addiction. I've recently cancelled membership of two book clubs and will now be OK until they send me the usual amazing offer in 6 months' time offering 5 newly published books at 1 p each if I re-join. I must try to resist. I purchase books at a steady rate from Amazon. If you spend more than 15 pounds then delivery is free. You can also get many US books via the UK site and hence qualify for free delivery, which is great for crime fiction readers as the US has a category of book called "mass market paperback" -- falls apart after one read but costs only three pounds. Does all this qualify me for Amazonaholics anonymous? Will I ever have time to read all these books, or will I forever be locked into the family/work/commute/(try to) sleep routine that takes 24 hours of every day? What do I want for Christmas? Time. (Sorry, Santa Claus is right out of that.)