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Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Last night Ethan and I got lost at the Strand for a while. I'd never been in their graphic-novel section -- and, I found, with good reason. I didn't buy anything, but the struggle was a hard one. The gorgeous special edition of Ghost World was $25, still expensive but more respectable than the $40 cover price; and my current lust, Kramer's Ergot #7 -- a coffee-table collection of comics that's the size of a coffee table -- is $99, listed at $125.

Not to bore you with the money thing. Some people love porn, and some love fast cars. I am addicted to nice-looking books, the kind with bindings that could have been in the Library at Alexandria. This is why I spend so much of my time reviewing books for places that pay dismally -- because, if I wasn't getting a couple of bucks for a three-hour review, I'd be spending massive amounts of cash on the same books.

I've always been wary about where i spend money on books and music -- well, music not as much, I'm fine with used record stores -- but in general i try to mostly buy small-press books and books of new & unknown authors. (hence me always bugging you for, oh, star wars mass-market pop-up books and the such.) i have a huge appetite for books, and not much budget for it, but I'll always buy Stephen King used (and thank you l*rd, there is so much to go around) but i won't buy, say, a Manic D Press book for $.01 on amazon.
it's a hard balance. and i think it especially sucks that so many people who love reading are in industries that don't make money. so the total capital of editors-and-librarians-and-authors-who-buy-books is steadily small, and feeds back into their salaries, which are also small -- whereas, say, pro basketball games are not mostly attended by basketball players and basketball editors (uh, managers? ticket-sellers? I don't know what the equivalent would be).

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