I buy lots of used books from ABEbooks.com and Amazon.com. And it appears that selling used books online is big business. And when businesses get big, they automate. Most of the used books I buy online now come with barcode stickers. I’m sure such automation is needed to keep prices down, and handling to a minimum. What I hate, though, is when they put the barcode sticker on the front of the book, or the spine.
Don’t they know that some of us are book collectors? Don’t they know that used book buyers love the cover art? I sometimes decide on buying the paperback or hardback by their cover art. And the best thing about science fiction paperback books from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s are their covers. I sometimes pass on a cheap ebook just to get an old paperback with a great cover.
It drives me nuts to get a book with a beautiful cover and a damn barcode sticker is right in the middle of the art.
Most of these barcode stickers aren’t easy to remove, or damage the cover when removing. It would be different if they peeled off easily leaving no mark. But that’s not the case.
And I can understand the urge to put the barcode on the spine of the book, because that makes shelving and finding books easier. But if the sticker doesn’t peel off, I have to look at them on my book shelves, and they’re ugly.
If you have to put a barcode sticker on a book, use the back cover. And don’t cover up the book’s original barcode. Goodreads users, as well as many other book database programs, use the ISBN barcode to scan in with a smartphone. When that barcode is covered, I have to type it in by hand.
I understand booksellers make their money by selling in volume. I don’t buy $300 first editions. When I buy from ABEbooks, which orders their default searches by lowest total cost, I’m getting an out-of-print book shipped to me from across the country for just a few dollars. So I can’t expect much. But the condition of the book, and its cover is important to me.
Some of these books are fifty years old, and their cover art takes me back to my childhood. They are a dwindling resource, and damaging them reduces their collector value.
- The Chimes by Anna Smaill (Sceptre)
- The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
- Savages by K.J. Parker (Subterranean)
- A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (Morrow)
Our congrats to Anna Smaill and all the finalists. You can see the complete list of winners in all categories over at Locus.
Logan has seen some shit and it has taken it’s toll on him. I really like where they’re going with this. Long-term consequences are not often portrayed in superhero movies. Here we’re going to see just what years of superhero-ing can do to a man. I’m wondering if his healing powers are on the wane with all those scars on display. And the Professor does not look too good either. They both look rode hard and put up wet and the Johnny Cash song plays perfectly to emphasize the decay and remorse. Can’t wait.