June 8, 2009

Books, books, books.  My husband and I are both college professors, both were English majors in college, and my husband went on to earn a Ph.D. in English – needless to say, we have books.  We read books.  We buy books.  We encourage our children to read books and we buy books for them.  Highlights of our honeymoon and our 10th anniversary trip were finding large used bookstores.  It is a rare month that does not have at least one book purchase on one of our Discover cards.  

The world of the Internet has expanded our book buying experiences considerably.  Yes, I have my Barnes and Noble membership, and my Border’s membership.  I am a member in good standing of the Book of the Month Club, the Quality Paperback Book Club, and the Children’s Book of the Month Club. But the sheer enormity of Amazon.com has made it a useful research tool for me.  What books are out there on natural beekeeping?  What can I find on needle felting?  What textbooks are available on Environmental Psychology? And once you’ve looked it up on Amazon it’s a simple step to purchase it there too.  Besides, often when I look elsewhere they simply don’t have the book.

I don’t know that using Amazon is especially green.  The Barnes and Noble store closest to me is about 40 miles away, so certainly I save gas by shopping online.   I have never heard one way or another about the nobility of Amazon’s policies or practices; I don’t think I’m supporting Asian sweatshop labor with my purchases.  Still, there are ways to improve, and a recent visit to Amazon reminded me.

I was looking for a particular out of print textbook.  Plug it in to the Amazon search and it pops up – it’s not available at Amazon, but used copies are available from numerous sources.  How to choose the vendor?env psych book   Well, there is the price of course (this particular book actually cost me 1 cent – – plus $3.99 shipping,  although one vendor was selling it for $40.85, plus shipping – a used copy).  But there is also value in using particular vendors.  In this case there were three I would consider for their social contributions: two Goodwill vendors and Better World Books.

I first learned of Better World Books at last year’s Green Festival in Chicago. Better World Books supports literacy programs around the world.  They provide the materials for book drives and will buy your used books (or accept your donations).  They sell both new and used books and have an extensive collection.  I learned something else too.  If I had gone to Better World Books first I could have saved some money – o.k., 3 cents – but still.  I think I need to get into the habit of checking Better World Books.

Sometimes, though, you want to just browse a little privately owned bookstore for the treasures you can find.  Is there a comparable online experience?  Why yes there is Run For Cover Booksrunforcoverbooks One of the owners happens to be an online friend of mine – hello JoannaW!  Run for Cover “offers a wide and constantly expanding array of new and used books on a variety of eclectic subjects, particularly in the various shades of politics, religion, history, biography and social sciences.”  Their topics are actually more appealing to my husband and I’m encouraging him to add them to his go-to and browsing source lists. 

It is a rainy, dreary day today, just right for reading a book.



  1. Your children will do well in life. Reading is the key to acquiring knowledge, as you already know. I would like to invite you to my Paradise Readers page. http://paradisereaders.ning.com/ Where you will find two professors who are my children, one in math teaching in Florida and one in business teaching in Minnesota. I have a PhD grandson who has taught in London as well. This page was originally set up to encourage young people to read earlier and to read more, but there has been a lot of transformation.

    Thanks again, I enjoy watching our page and comments. Dr Robert E McGinnis

  2. More people should get involved in taking care of old planet earth.

    Dr Robert E McGinnis

  3. Ah ha, just as I suspected, your husband is a college professor. I figured that out before I finally got to it. Now, I forgot what I was going to say, but glad to meet you both. Oh, yea, books. I have a fourth daughter that began reading very complicated books at age 2 1/2 because her parents read books to her and at least one of the parents writes them as well. I have been doing that for over forty years and love it. The young lady mentioned above never attended school a day in her life when a northern college called and told me that if I would send my daughter to the school they represented, they would pay for everything. OK, that was easy, and how did they know she would graduate number one in her class, just lucky, I guess. I have an older son that is a college professor in Wisconsin, my oldest daughter a math professor in Florida and so it goes. Just wanted to drop by, tell you how much I enjoy your writing, and hope to hear from you and yours again soon.

    I might add as an afterthought, two items. One the scenes you visited on your vacation, I see many of these every day as I live in the swamps of N C and secondly, have you ever heard of, Triond.com? You can actually get paid for the kind of writing you do, not much, but it is fun. I have six or seven articles with them and I am almost up to two dollars. Take a look at, Triond.com, you might find something there as an outlet for your talent.

    Dr Robert E McGinnis
    Keep after the bee thing, I love honey. The where school I taught in Florida, was very old and one day the ceiling fell in, there was over a thousand pounds of honey in the old building. We began seeing seepage on the ceiling tile and within a week the whole thing fell in. Needless to say, beekeepers from all over came to look, take pictures and collect the bees. What a day.

    • Thank you for your kind comments – and the Triond tip – I’ll check them out. …Sounds like you have a marvelous and brilliant family, and the bees in the ceiling sound like quiet a sight.

      Looking forward to hearing from you again,

  4. the run for cover site is cool! thanks for telling us about it. i have a thing for books also. if i get interested in something i just have to read everything i can about it so off to amazon i go! betterworld books are very good, i have ordered from the often and also goodwill. price does make a difference though when it is substantial. i, like you, have wondered how green i am using internet purchasing, but hopefully the things i order are traveling by mail with lots of other stuff. unlike if i drive to borders or barnes and nobles, and as you say, they probably won’t have it anyway. thanks for sharing. big bee hugs 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing Wendy – I like your new format and am enjoying your blog. Thanks for inspiring us all to go Green! 🙂

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