Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Buying Second Hand Books

Several weeks ago, I found myself at the middle of Marikina Shoe Expo - the U-shaped complex on the fringes of Cubao's commercial district. As I mentioned in my past post the place is being transformed into a place uncommon to Cubao. Some of the old shoe shops were or have morphed into restaurants, curiosity shops, record shops, teahouses and even bookstores.

Yes, the old shoe district seemed to be developing an artistic bent.

Anyway, my salary had just come in and I decided to go to the bookshop called Datelines. The bookstore has an interesting collection of books from Filipiniana to comics. So there I was browsing through the bookrack that had all the second hand books. On the topside was the paperback edition of Philip J Caputo's a "Rumor of War". Then I saw it. The book that I would buy that day. It was one of those old antonym and synonym books, quite useful when one is at a loss for words. And it was priced at thirty pesos. Very cheap. Its pages were a bit yellowish, showing the usual decay of paperback paper, but still its pages were not yet brittle. The book would probably last another three years.

Then and there I bought the thing. Happy with my purchase I proceeded on my journey for the day.

There was another shop that looked interesting, right up front of its window was an action figure of a flame creature one of the main characters in the anime Howl's Moving Castle. There were several things that looked interesting. However, the store was closed for the day. It would have been interesting to see the items for sale inside that shop.

Night time came and I found myself flipping over the book that I got. It came after a minutes of perusing the pages. A faint odor that was neither pungent nor irritating but gave the essence that the book had not been read for several years. It was just like opening the tomb of Tutankhamen. I smelled the odor of age. Not irritating really, I still use the book, but I do not read for long.

I guess when buying second hand books be mindful of the condition of the books, paperbacks do not really age well. Papers were never designed to last that long. Not all of them anyway.


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