Just discovered The Bookish Gardener, a wonderful blog by a gardener who loves books–or is she a bookworm who loves to garden? Anyway, if you love books and love gardening, and especially love gardening books, this is a must read. She has my taste in books; she loves all the cranks: Henry Mitchell, Christopher Lloyd, Elisabeth Sheldon. And just like me, she hates to pay full price.
I found The Bookish Gardener via A Gardener’s Notebook with Douglas E. Welch, where I also learned of Coast Journal by Valerie Adoph, which is another good book review blog, though a little less narrowly focused (and less chatty) than The Bookish Gardener. Following a trail of links, I also discovered her website Gardenread.com, which has garden book reviews organized by topic. She is no longer updating GardenRead, but the reviews there are still worthwhile, of course.
Since we’re talking about books, I thought I’d put in a pitch for a few of my favorite book buying sites. After all, ’tis the gift giving season, and whether you’re looking for a gift for your favorite gardener, or hoping to drop a few well-placed hints, it can’t hurt to learn of a few more places to buy books. Yeah, yeah, yeah–I know–and you know–about amazon.com already. I’m talking about really good books, really cheap.
Let’s start with my longtime favorite, Edward Hamilton. This place sells both remainders and current titles. They put out a newsprint catalog as well as their online offerings; the two overlap but you sometimes find things in the newsprint that you don’t find online, and vice versa. Two titles I heartily recommend are Notes from Madoo by Robert Dash, for a mere $2.95, and A Year at North Hill by Wayne Winterrowd and Joe Eck, for $4.95. They have many more worthy (and some not-so-worthy) titles, and shipping is $3.50 no matter how many books you order.
Daedelaus Books also sells remainders, but only high-class remainders. Consequently they have a smaller but choicer selection. If you are a fan of Graham Stuart Thomas, this is your place to shop–at the moment. As with Edward Hamilton, titles are always selling out, and when they’re gone, they’re usually gone for good. A while back they were offering several Margery Fish titles, but they’re not there anymore. He who hesitates misses a bargain.
This may come as a surprise to you, but Pinetree Garden Seeds also has an extensive selection of books. Some are remainders, overlapping with Daedelus and Mr. Hamilton, and some are current titles. I just bought Cuttings From A Rock Garden by H. Lincoln Foster & Laura Louise Foster from Pinetree for $6.98. Now I see Daedalus is selling it for $4.98. Rats. How’d I miss that one? But wait. Pinetree only charged $2.98 shipping for the whole order (you don’t think I ordered just one book, do you?). Daedelus charges $4.95. Phew! I broke even on that one! Half the fun is getting the best deal. But you knew that already, right?
And I would be amiss not to mention Powell’s. Powell’s is a bona-fide bricks-and-mortar bookstore with a substantial online presence. Do yourself a favor and click on the Sale link, then the Gardening subject heading (which is where my link above will lead you). Start there, and if by some strange chance you don’t find anything to tempt you in those 70+ pages, then go to the main Gardening section. Powell’s sells a lot of used books, which are usually more expensive than remainders, and are available in smaller quantities. But, if there’s an out-of-print (OP) book that you’ve got to have, used is the only way to go. And sometimes if it’s in print and not about to be discontinued any time soon, used is the way to get the best price for a really popular book.
If you’re looking for the best price, no matter what, no matter where, try searching with either Bookfinder or FetchBook. Both search a huge database of sellers and sort by price, etc. If your OP book is not in either of these two sites, it’s probably not out there–today. Why not check back in a month? After all, bargain hunting isn’t limited to the holiday season.