Beki Grinter

The Dummies Guide to Buying a Book

In crafts and craftiness on September 24, 2010 at 10:06 am

I’ve noticed a gap in the series Dummies (or Idiots) Guide. While there are several about writing books, there’s not one on buying a book, although obviously they actually all are about buying a book.

So based on my experience with books (I own some and along the way I’ve purchased some) I offer the following points for consideration as the start of a work. I’d be happy to collaborate.

When I moved from San Francisco to Atlanta I went through a house-staging, an experience that was designed to sell my house by stripping it of my life and turning it into the “ideal life” instead. From this ideal, I learnt how the ideal home is decorated with stones, small reed balls, and table coverings while simultaneously stripped of pictures of unattractive destinations. I also learnt a lot about the appearance of books. Up until then I admit my first thoughts had been focused on content, but apparently size also matters when considering which book to buy.

Size. Different sizes imply different places for books. I’d been struggling with the naive assumption that it was the size of the bookcase, I learnt I was wrong. Big books belong on coffee tables. Little books in bookshelves. No, don’t move those shelves to accommodate large volumes, find the appropriate shelving vehicle, the coffee table, place at jaunty angle on top of similar books all arranged to reveal corners. Do not purchase coffee-table size books if you own more than about 4 per coffee table owned. Do not buy an excess of coffee tables to cope with said books.

Colour. When buying a book it’s important to consider the colour. The colour should match other books already owned. There are also more acceptable and less acceptable colours. Orange and yellow, despite being the predominant colours of the dummies and idiots book series, should be considered with caution. There’s only a small amount of bright yellow that any home needs. In general staying closer to colours in the off-white family (sort by Magnolia, Egg-White, Snow, etc.), light blue (morning sky, baby etc..), light green (winter grass, dew) and use accent colors (burgundy, British racing green more sparsely).

Furniture. I’ve already outlined the crucial role of the coffee table, but other furniture is also acceptable for storing books. The bedside table should feature a smaller, jauntily placed book on it. Please do not have multiple books.

Book Shelves. Do not fill them (rookie error). Remember you need enough space to have a couple of books laying full down on the shelf in addition to the ones stacked vertically. And, just like coffee tables, it’s essential not to overload on bookshelves.

I learnt about content criteria as a teacher.

New Editions. It is essential to purchase each new edition. Authors know that it’s important to revise content as things change and preferably swap the chapter order about at the same time (although I can’t find that particular top tip in the guides to getting published). And nothing changes as quickly as philosophies developed by now dead philosophers. For the buyer, it represents an opportunity to spend more time preparing for class.

Just a few thoughts, it’s been a long week.


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