please empty your brain below

As you've mentioned Amazon (non-Witchy Value place), and given the time of year, I'd like to do a plug for

They offer *excellent* prices and free delivery worldwide. I've used them 20 or 30 times and the book has always arrived within 4 days, and in perfect condition (unlike other book companies I won't mention).

And what about liberating those books you don't like on Book Crossing? I'm sure you wrote about it once...

Library BVI is NOT infinite.

There are always those books, start reading, somehow feel you should struggle through and end up paying fines on. The ones you read quickly you never have to. (and I know you can renew, but....)

Currently reading "London in the 19th Century" by Jerry White, I reckon a BVI of 50 plus. Sometimes get drawn into those "trend" type books ("Freakonomics" springs to mind) they usually end up with a low BVI on the shelves at Oxfam.

Excellent article, I'm just the same! My top tip for BVI is The Power Broker by Robert Caro. You'd probably have to get this one online though it has to be said. It's a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Robert Moses who rebuilt much of New York; very long, very heavy, takes an age to read but I found it absolutely fascinating and couldn't put it down. Moses's influence spread far and wide; if you want to know how they managed to take parts of Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens to build the monstrous traffic systems along and at either end of Park Lane look no further, as Moses's words were invoked in the House of Commons by the transport minister introducing the Bill.

PS I read it a couple of months ago, and just last week learnt that Ken Livingstone has just read it and heartily recommended it!

PPS How about Diamond Geezer's Book Club??!

Your surrogate mammy has noticed the decimal point is in the wrong place, last para. first line.

dg writes: No, really, I meant 5, not 0.5

p.s. you can sell your unwanted titles via Amazon you know, (the postage thing then works in your favour.)
BTW some books are such a good read that I've read them in no time. Some books I've got for virtually nothing (e.g. 10p books withdrawn from library collections), sometimes they're a good buy, sometimes not.

I at one time sold books in the market,
I sold new books that i purchased from wholesalers they where called remainder books and was big business.
I enjoyed selling books and I still am a book fan , I was amazed at what people's interests where .

Methinks (hopes) you're having us on DG.....wonderfully Orwellian to reduce literature to a BVI.

But if we are being serious then its flaw lies in those books that take one an age to get through and when finished one wonders why one bothered (but a high BVI). Conversely there are those that one flies through that leave one a changed person (but a low BVI).

Isn't Amazon free delivery for anything over a fiver these days?

I suppose we're all guilty of having far more low BVI books than high BVI books.

Of course, the good thing about libraries is that you can borrow a book for free (provided of course you renew or return it on time, and you don't lose it), and then read the book to find whether it's worth keeping, and therefore buying. I've taken out many good books on my Herts library card, which I've subsequently bought from bookshops such as Waterstone's or Amazon. Of course, if the book isn't worthwhile, then you can just take it back, and you wouldn't have spent a penny on it (besides travel costs, of course).

Regarding NiC's question, Amazon is free delivery over a fiver nowadays. I remember when the free delivery threshold used to be £25 or thereabouts, and you were therefore tempted to load up your basket with 'filler' items just to push it over the £25 boundary. I wonder how much money Amazon made on these extra sales? Hmmm...

Join a Library.

Go to Oxfam. All books in my local Oxfam are 99p (used to be 59p) and there are some very very decent ones there.

Alternatively - the library. Though my inability to return books on time or even renew them (despite them making that ridiculously easy these days what with online and telephone renewal) means that that often ends up being very costly for me.

Increased BVI: if the library (sorry, trendy Idea Store) in Bow doesn't appeal then there's an alternative on Theobald's Road opposite Gray's Inn Square, dg. Even better, it's a Grade II listed building.
Shame that the Bodleian doesn't lend.

I like this idea.

I have a similar thought process when buying clothes & shoes; I always think about cost per wear.

I am pro-library also. You can phone or go online to renew your books, and if you go in, you don't need to bring your renewals with you. Even better, you can order any book you like for a small fee. If it's not in the London Libaries Consortium catalogue (12 London boroughs and counting) they'll still find it for no extra charge. I love getting books from the BL stacks in Yorkshire, even if I can only have them for a week. Not a problem if you don't mind waiting for them in the first place.

Having said that, I haven't been to the library for ages, what with the high BVI of my current reads (good but slow going)!

I don't think the condition of books in libraries or charity shops would meet DG's high standards of non-creasablity...

Your BVI index is a great idea.

It points out the basic gamble that any book presents to the reader or publisher. It's amazing how many books fail miserably, to prove the gamble was lost.

I think any good BVI ought to include how much time one spends thinking about a book. Often I will think about a book for years, but only read it once.

I just remembered - they sell books by weight in South Africa.

I just did a BVI for a work book. I felt sick when the result came up on the calculator.

As Gordon rightly points out, my local libraries aren't libraries, they're Idea Stores.

I believe they have some books, in amongst the computer terminals, cafe, newspapers, creches and information desks. Just not a lot.

Flood by Richard Doyle is a wonderfully trashy bit of novel. Saying that it probably holds the highest BVI for me since I've read it three times now.

Lowest would have to be something shit and christmassy like "The Ginger Survival Guide". Ha-fecking-Ha.

Nice guide though, you'd probably be interested in George Orwell's Cigarettes and Books where he weighs up the value of books compared to everything else he buys and suggests that they should be sold by weight.

Only £4.99 and you get that wonderful cover so I think it's BVI might be quite high. The other essays are great too.

As a librarian, obviously I'm going to say get along to your local library...

I loved Book 1 and have read it a couple of times; picked it up at the book market under Waterloo bridge for a fiver...

The Waterloo Bridge Book Market is truly splendid, isn't it? I've found books on pretty much everything there, some dating way back to the 19th century (!), and others being modern-day bestsellers. And they're all far cheaper than you'd find in places like Borders or Waterstone's (albeit mainly second-hand).

I've no doubt DG's been there many times already, though...

I've just been made to feel wholly inadequate by DGs reading speed!

Who reads books in three hours? I'm a very quick reader and I've had The Magus by John Fowles beside my bed for about three months now. Try it, it's really long, cheap and an awesome read.

I have often considered the real value of books. I rarely buy new hardbacks unless I know their BVI is guaranteed to score high. Second-hand hardbacks I cannot stop buying, and to increase their value, I will (unashamedly) take them to bookshops and have their authors sign them. "But I'm not signing this book today. I did the book-signing for it four years ago," they will say. "Please sign it for me. It's my favourite book" normally does the trick. Although not strictly a book, it is in fact a card game, Bibliophile Vol 1 - Literature's Most Memorable Opening and Closing Lines has a very high BVI. 52 books in a pack of cards! Their website, offers a free sample pack to the trade, but alas I was rumbled and coughed up the full price.

A book is also a time commitment, something I have trouble remembering. That is time is also a cost.

So an audiobook that costs twice its paper equivalent could still be good value because you could consume it in cheap time.

I'm a big library fan, after all we all pay sky-high Council Taxes, so it's not really 'free' is it. I often order books that are reviewed in the papers, they will get it for you for £1, and they are brand new. I'm hooked on Biographies, read one per week. Never read a book twice tho.
I thought Amazon was free del on anything over £15, books included. Buy from them at Xmas only.

I love libraries, but I find they never have the most interesting new books that you see in the bookstores. So I just treat bookstores as my library. I have no qualms about standing in a bookshop and reading sometimes over 50\\% of a non fiction book before putting it down and moving on. how do you calculate the BVI on that? especially as I rarely buy a book in the bookstore.

I'd like to shamelessly plug Read a book, then swap it for another one!

I bet you buy all those leftover books bout London then make out you did the things in the books.I met you once by the way in a pub in Leyton

No you didn't

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