I’m a bit of a language nut — the sort that not only reads usage guides
for fun, but contrasts them for fun — and I’ve wanted A
Dictionary Of Canadianisms on Historical Principles
(Walter Avis et
al., eds; Toronto: W.J. Gage, 1967) for some time, but best as I can
tell it only made one edition, and has thus been out of print for longer
than my lifetime.

Candice was talking about used textbooks earlier tonight, and
that reminded me of abebooks.com,
the used-bookseller clearinghouse (which, I should note, is Canadian,
based in Victoria, BC). While her search didn’t turn up anything, it made me
think to check for Canadianisms, and I hit a jackpot — sixteen
copies available, about two thirds of which were from Canada, and two
of which are within an hour’s drive from here.

I picked one in near-fine condition and ordered it. The bookseller works
from his home, so it’ll still come to me in the mail, but it will do so
from a town about 70 km south of here, which pleases me. The transaction
is brokered through Abebooks, which means they’re probably skimming a
bit off the top, but which also means I don’t have to trust a small
bookseller to get the Internet-payments thing done right.

Can you imagine how annoying it would have been to track down that book
before the Internet came along? Even if I’d known that this bookseller
existed, the title isn’t much of a collector’s book, so it may
or may not have appeared in his catalogue, and so on. Abebooks is one
of those things done right.

I’ll be sure to let you all know how the transaction went, for the
benefit of those of you who (like me!) have never used Abebooks before.

In other news, I am currently listening to some amazing jazz vocal
renditions of Icelandic folk tunes and American jazz standards by
a young Icelandic woman named Björk Guðmundsdóttir, with whom you
might be on a first-name basis. The album, Gling-Gló, predates
Debut by a few years, but it’s definitely our Björk, even though
the music isn’t pjarticularly cjaracteristic of her style at all. It’s
listenable, familiar, and surreal.

5 responses to “WONDERS OF THE INTARWEB”

  1. I’ve ordered nearly twenty books through Abebooks before, and I’ve been very satisfied.

    And I agree that they’re a great source to find hard-to-find, out-of-print books (for example, I got a copy of McEwen’s Niuean Dictionary through them).


  2. Lately I’ve been using addall for my book searching needs. They scan a whole bunch of sources including abebooks.

    The only downside at the moment is that they’ve now broken it up into new and used books, whereas before you could just do one search. Still, a handy tool.

  3. I’ve not used Abebooks much. In fact, I may have only used it the once, but it was a good one. My father was asking me if I knew of any good way to find out-of-print books because he was searching for, oh, I don’t recall precisely what it is now, but it was some scholarly-type literary criticism about a Greek playwright. He found copies through Amazon’s used book program, but they were magical ones impregnanted with fairy dust or some shit — at least they better be for $250+. He called me, I told him I’d look around, and then I remembered Abebooks. Ten minutes later I was forwarding him a copy of my receipt: $20 from some small shop somewhere in Pennsylvania. It arrived a week or so later, and everyone lived happily ever after. The end.

    A side note for mendel: the fun and exciting characters in your current music field show up fine on my friends page but become ?s when I go to read/reply.