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View Diary: LGTB Literature: Then and Now (25 comments)

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  •  Maybe it's the only way to get them (8+ / 0-)

    I'd rather buy my books in person from bookstores, but they've never stocked more than a small fraction of what I wanted. Before the Internet took off as a marketplace, I routinely made special orders for books, or ordered them from bookstore & publisher's catalogs. (My copy of Blake's Complete Writings was my first special order.)

    A few years ago, when I was involved with Wikipedia, I collected books on Ethiopian history. That's a topic one does not see in the average bookstore.

    In Portland there is Powell's Books, said by some to be the largest bricks-&-mortar bookstore in the world. (Foyle's in London & The Strand in New York may dispute that, but the claim about Powell's gives you an idea about the size.) At any one time I've found, at most, a total of three books on Ethiopian history there, & most often one of the books I already own or have decided isn't worth buying. I doubt it would be easier to collect books in the English language on this topic in any other city -- except maybe in Ethiopia.

    Even availing myself of Amazon, Alibris, & other online sources, finding books on this topic is a challenge: most of the books I wanted are out of print & were published in limited quantities. Money is often a significant barrier: I can't afford to spend $100 on a single book, although I did spend around $55 on a thin paperback volume which is the only published biography of Emperor Tewodros II in English. (Please don't tell my wife I did that. ;-) Over five years, I was able to collect barely 50 volumes, many of which aren't available in either the local public or university libraries.

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