Out-of-print books

Channelling biographies of people who lived hundreds of years ago is fine but sometimes I need to confirm what has been said. Relevant modern books are great but often expensive. The library is an obvious source, but neither bookshops nor libraries are open during lockdowns.

Now out-of-print books often provide an opinion, theory, or research that has been forgotten or superseded. That does not make it irrelevant or unhelpful; quite the opposite is my experience.

So what to do? Well, the most wonderful source is second-hand bookshops, both physical and online. The latter can be searched from your armchair and sometimes the former too. But rummaging in a bookshop can produce all kinds of unexpected delights. Not many of these oldies are available as ebooks, but the days of musty, dusty shelves and storerooms are long gone, so don’t be put off.

My local bookshop is a joy. Seddon Book Alley is no longer in an alley but is a proper grown-up shop offering click-and-collect, posting and local deliveries during Melbourne’s lockdown. Robert will try and find any book that you might want.

Another delight is M&A Simper in Warrnambool in country Victoria. I was seeking an obscure book called The Five Herods and Murray’s was the only shop in Australia to have a copy. His stock is also listed online, and he posted my book the same day.