Friday, November 07, 2008

How (not) to buy books

If you, like I, read a lot of books from different areas you probably buy a lot of books that are of questionable quality. I used to do this too. Now, I use libraries instead. Some of the advice here will be specific to Sweden, since this is where I get my books, but you can probably find similar places where you live.

  • Find the book you want. If it is an English book Amazon is the place to go. If it is Swedish use Bokus or AdLibris. The value of these websites is that they provide a lot of information about the book, such as summaries, reviews and references to other related books. The related books are interesting since they provide you with options based on what others bought, the author and other people’s recommendations. All to help you find the best book for your topic.
  • Use the ISBN, title, author, etc and search in your local on-line library catalog. In my case it is the library in Staffanstorp. If you find it all is well, just reserve it and pick it up the next day.
  • If you don’t find it in your local library goto your country’s common library catalog. In my case it is called If you don’t find it here you will have to buy it, but I have found more than 90 percent of my books here lately.
  • If you find the book, go back to your local library catalog and make an Inter library loan (fjärrlån in Swedish). Make sure you say that you found the book in the common catalog and that you want it delivered to your local library unit. The book is usually delivered in about a week at the cost of 5 SEK.
  • If you like the book and think you will read it again, buy it. If you don’t, just return it and feel content with that along with saving a small tree, you didn’t encourage a crappy author to write another book :)

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