Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas. May You Receive and Give Lots of Books!!

Just a quick post to wish all Feed Your Reading Habit blog followers and readers the very best festive season for 2011. I've really enjoyed being more proactive with the blog this year and hope to keep up the good form in 2012. I'm really excited to see what bookish treasures are under the Christmas tree for me this year. No doubt my first blog post of 2012 will focus on just that. I hope that you receive lots of great booky gifts yourself, but if not I hope that you find some time to relax and curl up with a good book just a little more than usual. Best wishes, Amber!!

Friday, 2 December 2011

December Book Giveaway - Enthralled (Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong)

Courtesy of our friends at Harper Collins, this month we have a copy of Enthralled edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong to giveaway.

Enthralled is a collection of fourteen original teen paranormal short stories from some of today's bestselling YA talent, united with the common theme of road trips, and edited by bestselling authors Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong. Whether they're writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart. Authors featured include Rachel Caine, Claudia Gray, Ally Cordie, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl. 

To enter our book giveaway just leave a comment on our blog. And don't forget to increase your chances by checking out how to gain bonus entries!!

Bonus Entries
+1 Entry = Follow our Blog
+1 Entry = Liking the Reading Habit Page on Facebook (Click here to do so)
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+2 Entries = Provide a Link to our Giveaway on Your Blog
+2 Entries = Join the Reading Habit Community Network (Click here to do so)
NB: If you're eligible for bonus entries, make sure you let us know when you leave your comment!!

Entries are open until 5pm EST on Saturday 31st December 2011. The competition is open to residents of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and the UK. The winner of the competition will be announced on Monday 9th January 2012. Good luck to everyone!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Reading Habit's Top Five: Reasons to Buy Second Hand Books as Christmas Gifts

Even though the climate change debate has changed our shopping habits somewhat, the mere thought of buying second hand goods as Christmas gifts is still a little on the nose to most. As a second hand book dealer I’ve never really understood this. There are so many advantages to buying used goods, books in particular, that it just seems ridiculous to always buy new. Pride has a lot to do with it I think. We equate new with value and with personal status, so we buy new. We don’t want to be seen giving a ‘scabby’ present. Never mind that buying new requires new resources, that buying new is money in the pocket of a multinational rather than a human being, that buying new requires only a flippant flick through the latest sales brochure rather than any real thought. Now, I’m not saying don’t buy new. All I’m suggesting is that in some cases buying second hand makes more sense than buying new. So, in an effort to reduce the stigma attached to purchasing used books as Christmas gifts, and to be honest used goods in general, I’ve come up with five reasons to buy second hand this Christmas. 

#1 Save Money - More Bang for Your Buck

When is it more important to be price conscious than at Christmas when you’re already digging deep into your pockets for food, holidays, festive season parties, and activities to keep the kids entertained. Buying a second hand book as a gift rather than buying new means saving money. A new book will set you back anywhere between $15 and $40, whereas a good quality second hand novel can be purchased for between $5 and $20. Or, seen in a different light, buying second hand books means you can get more for your money. Rather than buying your loved one the latest John Grisham in hardcover for $35, wouldn’t it make more sense to buy three of his titles for the same price? I know which I’d prefer if I was the receiver.

NB: A good used book dealer should be offering books in ‘good’, very good’ and ‘as new’ condition, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that second hand equals poor quality. It’s not uncommon to be able to purchase a pre-loved book that looks like it has barely been read.

#2 Conserve Resources – Get An Environmental Gold Star

Not only does buying second hand books’ keep them from going into landfill, but it requires the use of no new resources. Consider this. In total, approximately 15 million copies of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth have been sold since it was first published in 1989, and on average about 100,000 new copies are produced each year. That’s a lot of copies of one book and you can imagine how many of them have either gone to landfill, or are sitting in a second hand bookstore just waiting to be purchased. Do you really need to purchase the 15,000,001th new copy of this book? Wouldn’t it be better for Mother Earth if you purchased a used copy? The choice is yours, but if you want to earn yourself an environmental gold star, second hand is the option. It’s the fun kind of recycling!

#3 Find that Hidden Treasure – And Earn Brownie Points at the Same Time

Without much thought and with very little effort, almost anyone can buy a copy of Bryce Courtenay’s latest Christmas instalment as a gift. However, if you’re looking for something less generic, something that requires thoughtfulness beyond a brief browse through the Target Christmas catalogue, a second hand book might just be the answer. Let’s say your dad is a real Bryce Courtenay fan. Why not find him a signed first edition copy of The Power of One? It’ll certainly get more ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ than the brand new book. Remember that extra effort in the search will gain you extra brownie points in the giving. How great would it be if you found that elusive title that completed your mother’s Agatha Christie Crime Collection? You’d be in the good books with your mum for at least a month I’d say! When you’re goal is to make the receiver go a little misty-eyed, think second hand, rare, antiquarian books and I reckon you’ll be on a winner. There’s also a benefit to the buyer with this one - it’s called the thrill of the find and it’s the ultimate warm fuzzy feeling.

#4 Support Local People – Build a Relationship with Your Book Dealer

Used book sellers are just like your local butcher, grocer or hardware store. Their very survival is based on the support and custom of local people. Buying the latest Nora Roberts from Big W does little for your local community. Sure, the staff might get a little of the profit in their pay packet, but let’s face it, the majority goes straight into the coffers of the company itself. Buying from your local antiquarian book dealer is an investment in your community, because money in their pockets will inevitably circulate right back through. Money arguments aside, you’ll also get customer service. Remember that! It’s old-fashioned I know, but I’m a sentimental kind of girl. If you’re really lucky you might even strike up a Helene Hanff 84 Charing Cross Road style relationship with your second hand book dealer. Wouldn’t that be nice?

#5 Buck the System - Be a Trailblazer Not a Follower

Just because it’s not the norm, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Be a pioneer, buck the trend, set an example for others. Hell, why not have a complete second hand Christmas with no new gifts at all, just pre-loved all the way. This may seem like a fairly flimsy reason to buy used books (stemming from a desire to reach the number five), and you could be partially right, but I prefer to see it as something bigger than that. Buying second hand is all about ethical consumption. It’s about being socially conscious. We could all do with some role models where these moral arguments are concerned, so why not put your hand up and be one.

To close, I want to acknowledge that there are arguments against buying second hand as well. The most obvious is that buying second hand takes money away from the publishers and the authors themselves. You could argue that buying new ensures that there is a future for writing and it’s a valid argument that as a true bibliophile I’m not immune to, particular when considering the specific case of the Australian literary scene. In my defence, I’m only trying here to balance the argument a little for second hand goods as they are generally un-championed. Poor diddums!