you can't browse the internet

didn’t die . . . . my hands started acting up when i was cataloging . . . and i got annoyed and stopped typing. i am doing cataloging for a client who wants his collection insured and when i get home i am doing CAT-aloging for the animal rescue group. i had this swift idea to get a few cat themed books donated and then hawk them as donation prizes – so, you give tax deductions to the book donors as well as tax deductions to the book ‘buyers’ – so everybody’s happy, ‘cept yours truly who had this grand master plan and now has to implement it. isn’t that always the way you work hardest for things you aren’t getting paid for?

anyway, the collection i am cataloging is history, LOTS of history, general history with a few sub-specialties and boy is this some obscure crap . . . uh. . . fascinating stuff. needless to say i am all over green. in 28 years of bookselling i have never been able to just pick a specialty. i have gone through phases where i am focused on buying and selling of one kind of book over another. (right now i am doing a crash course in feline-ania – not as much fun as it sounds) but as always happens i get distracted by the next shiny object. if i had a specialty i would actually KNOW what i was looking for when i went shopping. if i was surfing the net, i could just pop in some keywords and we’re off to the races. granted i wouldn’t find as much stuff to buy, but then again i wouldn’t find as much stuff that needed to be bought.

now, when i go into a shop i have to cruise nearly EVERY section . . .yes every one. you never know, people smoke crack and shelve books and you can find the damnedest things mis-shelved. you never exactly know what you will find – booksellers frown on a miscellaneous section so things have to go SOMEWHERE even if it is only remotely close.

this however is the appeal of real world brick and mortar honest to god bookstores, you never know what you are gonna find. and you could find ANYTHING. but when your only shopping outlet is the internet you are kinda fucked. you HAVE to start with a keyword or two, and if you truly try to browse you have to sort in some manner and just basically start with A, or Z if you swing that way.

i am trading some books i don’t want to a seller who has an open shop where they will do much better. in exchange i expect to get some credit for some of their wares – but since they are 700 miles away, i can only see their inventory by remote. so where to expend my capital? would you wanna skim through several thousand records of a database looking for something to blow your skirt up? i don’t, so again i have to put some keywords in and hope for the best.

you know, i don’t have a want list, not really, i have a list of books i want and can’t afford. but i don’t really have a list of books i want and can’t find. basically since the internet came into the house, i whittled that notebook right out of my life. thus shopping in stores has become the only chance i ever have to being surprised. looking for something i don’t know exists is kinda my raison d’etre. when i going to a shop and they ask me if they can help me find something, how do i answer that? i don’t even know what i am looking for, how can they help me find it?

you just can’t browse the internet.

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