Thank you for buying
February 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya is a mall for misfits. It’s a mall for the mall-less, or a mall to assuage the people who hate the malls that simply don’t cut it. It is alive and pulsing with human activity while the building itself staggers on in a halting, limping gait.
More importantly, for a bookshop that’s particularly tiny, it has three bookshops and one book rental outlet, as well as two stores selling old issues of magazines at a discounted price. That’s saying a lot. You can tramp about floor upon floor in glitzy Pavilion and only come upon one bookstore tucked away from the madding crowd. But I suppose no one goes to Pavilion to buy books.
BookXcess is a lovely bookshop in Amcorp that sells new books at discounted prices. Presumably, these are excess print run copies that publishers wish to clear off. I’m not sure about that, but I’m thinking that’s the only way you can get brand new books in Malaysia for RM 17, or new hardcovers for as low RM 30. If I sound like I’m gushing over BookXcess, well, I am. You can see any number of people browsing through the racks on a given day; it’s made book-buying a relatively achievable ideal. Instead of shelling out RM 100 for a hardcover edition, or RM 60 for a paperback in regular bookstores, you can buy the book for much less and have some spare change for dinner and a mug of beer.
And buy books we must. Don’t get me started on the local libraries.
Next to BookXcess is a used bookstore that’s called – well, I don’t believe I know the name because I don’t think it has one. The shop is tiny, and books sprout from every which corner, shelf, and bare space on the ground, making the browsing activity a particularly dusty, and potentially painful one (especially if we’re not all, you know, flat and narrow). It helps if you’re agile, especially if you’re browsing one of the shelves towards the front and someone else decides to enter the shop, or leave it. Naturally, I love the place. When it comes to books, I’m of all the all-or-nothing mentality. So yes, give me a shop with books precariously balanced on shelves that could kill me at any moment.
This long, rambling preamble is basically just a means of saying: I’m pleased as punch, today. For I bought books, and books make me happy.
I’ve been wanting to read Pinkerton’s Sister for a long time now, but I’ll often see it in regular bookshops for about RM 60 and then put it down, because I WANT to read it but there were always other books to buy, books that I was sure I’d like. RM 60 seemed an extravagance on a book of fiction that seemed potentially promising, but that I wasn’t really sure of. Well, how thrilled was I to find it at BookXcess for only RM 17? Hello? SO thrilled!
Also, a copy of The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Biography in hardback. Yay.
Books I bought from that aforementioned used bookstore that requires agility and dexterity of its patrons:
- Anna Akhmatova’s Selected Poems, old Penguin edition
- Henry James’ The Aspern Papers and The Turn of the Screw
- Michele Roberts’ Daughters of the House
- Edna O’Brien’s Girl with Green Eyes (again, the older Penguin edition with a lovely, melancholy cover showing an image of a woman’s face, as opposed to this hideous pink cover in the edition linked to in Amazon)
- Honore Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet
All 5 books for under RM 50! Eeeeeee!
Tagged: book buying