Why does Book Clubs exist in this day and age? And CD-book Clubs? Last Wednesday, Daniel, “Cookie” and I went to the yearly book sale that always start week 8 and on a Wednesday. It’s been a highlight in February since I was 15 years old and went for the first time. But like everything else in society, that has changed as well. When I went for the first time in Lund, in 1993, the queue outside the biggest book shop in Lund was the same size as to a Michael Jackson concert or today’s most popular pop star. We were packed like sardines in the shop and some displayed a real fox behaviour. They had checked the sale section days before the actual sale so they knew exatcly where to go to find the books they wanted. They set off like sprinters when the doors opened and when slower people like me reached the table in question, the few books of this and that title were long gone.
Next strategy was that one could pre-order the books and fetch them on the sale day in a bag. No hassle except there was a comptetiton who could get their order in first. First come, first serve. No guarantees still for getting your desired books. Next thing was cancelling the pre-orders, taking in more books of titles and having opening time 00:00-2:00, 7:00-9:00 (which was the usual time). But now I have noticed less and less people going and last year at the early morning hours the staff complained that they were selling too little and there being too few people. This year they had skipped the midnight open hours and I told the children there would be lots of people at 7:00 but when we arrived, we did not have to fight our way at all. People are just not bothering about shops anymore I guess. It’s so much easier to order it over the internet and have it delivered to your door or local post office.
But what about the silly book clubs and CD-book clubs? What is the reason for their survival? When joining them you agree to buy from three magazines. No problem, you think, and happily accept the rules and the fun welcome gifts. Then you get the magazines and shockingly realize that the books are much more expensive there than on the internet shops AND at the local book shops. And on top of it, they also charge you an arm and a leg for shipping. I was lured in to one of these CD-book clubs and bitterly regretted it when the first magazine arrived. My friend had spoken so well of CD-books for years. She has all classics on CD and I thought it could be fun for the car. What I did not count on was that clubs only cater to one kind of persons. Crime novel readers. Everything offered have basically been Swedish crime novels on CD. Not something I want to pay almost 30 pounds for, or 50 dollars! I had no idea either that the books would be so terrible expensive. All in all it’s been a nightmare to get the tree purchases made. Luckily on obscure pages, I were able to three times, find cheap things. A musical CD called “Big Music for Small Ears” (classical music for children), music from Mamma Mu (children’s stories about a funny cow and a crow), and finally a CD on how to sleep better.
Today I tried to close my membership and I had to fight for the purchases I made, to count. And they ask why I want to end it. So I told them. I have no interest in Swedish crime books nor do I like the hefty prices. I ought to do the same with the book club I belong to. I have done my three purchases there too but think it is fun to receive the magazine to see what new books have been published. But I don’t order. I go on a site for used books, and then the internet bookshops. If it’s a novel I am interested in, I go to the library and set myself up in queue for the book. And if it is a book translated from English, then I go to Amazon and buy it for a penny from the second hand sellers, in the original language of course. But how do these clubs survive??? Am I the only one that feel that they do not have a place anymore? And that book shops are walking the green mile?