I promised you the weird and wonderful world of the Swedish Book Sale. I’ve been in exile for so long that I forget, and then friends will mention it, and enthuse at great length. So, in this day and age of internet shopping at all times, the sale still holds people’s interest.
Swedish books are expensive. And by books we mean hardbacks. That seems to be all that counts. So after a year or two or three, a book will end up in the sale. And that’s it. The year before last when I suddenly needed several copies of Adele Geras’ Facing The Light in translation, I bought the one last remaining copy. It was after the sale, you see.
And when Philip Pullman won the Astrid Lindgren award, they had to reprint His Dark Materials, as it was no longer around. It’s mad.
This year the sale starts on 26th February, and whereas it used to be something like a 7 am start for the aficionados, they are now doing a Harry Potter and opening at midnight. People will have been poring over the catalogue for weeks, ticking and choosing. People “save” themselves for the sale; i.e. they don’t buy something, because they’ll wait for the sale.
As if it wasn’t mad enough, some books are reprinted in an especially cheap edition, purely for the book sale. It’s sometimes the only way to get hold of classics.
Among this year’s offerings are Artemis Fowl and Septimus Heap, Eldest and Wolf Brother, Coraline and Spot, Bob the Builder and The Gruffalo. Special offer on Stieg Larsson, of course, a collection of Dostoevsky and the latest Henning Mankell (that WAS fast). My favourite elk annuals, Tintin and the new unabridged Anne Frank. Already. Coffee table books like Cosmos and dictionaries and atlases, as well as THE basic cook book. Not even English language paperbacks are left in peace. They’re going too.
Good-bye to all that.
And my friends wonder why I buy British, when it comes to books.