For the Love of Cheap Books

When I was in NYC last week I devoted a whole day to Brooklyn. For the average tourist there isn't much to see other than shirtless hipsters sucking back iced coffees. But there is a Target. And at Target there are books. Lots of cheap books.

My basket full of Elnett hairspray and Sonia Kashuk fake eyelashes, I popped by the book section on the way to the checkout. Sitting pertly on an endcap was Dead Until Dark, the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series (the HBO show True Blood is based upon this series). There it was, all shiny and sexy with its new mass-market cover. I picked it up. It said it was $5.99. A thrill ran through me. A new book for only six bucks??!! I threw it in my basket, I paid for it, and I gobbled it up in two days.

I know to a die-hard lover of Literature this sounds like getting your dinner at a Mickey D's drive-through. But, just like eating habits (and other things too!), sometimes you want your (reading) pleasure quick and dirty.

The experience doesn't even need to involve frothy vampire porno-lite lit. I had a similar experience buying Cormac McCarthy's The Road in paperback for half price at a Shopper's Drug Mart a couple of years back.

I admit, from a publisher's point of view the above is anything but romantic. These big box sales channels mean deeeep discounts.

But come now, how satisfying is it for the purchase of a book to not be an investment for once? I didn't need to dither at the cash thinking, "Is this book really going to be $20 good? $30 good? $35 good? I could just get it from the library. I could borrow it. I could go without (sigh)."

I'm still lusting after how I just threw that book in my basket and it swept me away for 48 hours. It was like a perfect capsule affaire de coeur.

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