Went to the Times warehouse sale yesterday out in the boondocks of PJ Section 13.
Phek Chin at Silverfish always says that she feels so sad for books that look as if they need adoption, and I know what she means. I never feel sorry for the books lined up on shelves in the bookshops where the ambiance invites reverence for books. But here were thousands of volumes that one must assume have fallen from grace. No longer the "latest thing" perhaps. Not selling, certainly. These books are up for grabs at ridiculously cheap prices. Spread out on tables, heaped in tall piles on the floor.
Some were books I'd already bought at much higher prices. There were trade paperback copies of Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Hollinghurst's In the Line of Beauty for just RM15. There was a pile of copies of Peter Ho Davis' The Ugliest House in the World which contains two of the best short stories ever set in Malaysia (Ho's mother is Malaysian and his father Welsh).
Most of the paperbacks were just RM8. Of course, I was happy to provide a home for some of these waifs and strays and left with a bag full (including a collection of short stories by Alice Munro and The Swimming-pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst). There's always room for more on the groaning shelves of a bookaholic!
Talking about bookshops getting rid of old stock, here's a story from The Times about a bookseller who has resorted to burning unwanted books because shelf space is money! Bibliocide indeed.