Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tricks on Shopping for Art Books, or "Don't Look on Amazon"

 
Cover depicts one of Hugo's abstract ink drawings

 
Whistler Painting

I have a lovely collection of art books. However, I  have never read nor looked at all of my books, so I decided a long time ago to stop collecting them obsessively, and to only buy what really touched me.
The last major book purchase I made a few years ago was ODD NERDRUM: Themes, a book that gets 160.00+ on Amazon.  I got it as a remainder on B & N a few years ago for 50.00 (now it's triple that....and I am providing a link to Borders to get it for only slightly more than what I paid for it. ) But 163.95 Amazon? Really?

Today I broke my "no book rule" and searched the Internet for two books that I had to have. One is Shadows of a Hand: The Drawings of Victor Hugo, and the other Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly.  I checked Amazon first and was taken aback on the prices of the books.  I REALLY wanted these books but could not afford those prices.  I decided to check out who published them and see if they were still available/in print.

Like Breath on Glass was the most expensive one, and I found out that it was printed by one of my favorite museums, the Sterling and Clark Museum in northwest Massachusetts.  Their website had the book for a mere 45.00 plus 10.00 in shipping, a far cry from the 125.00-144.00 on Amazon.  The Hugo book (an amazing catalog of his ink etc. drawings) was 90.00 for the hardcover on Amazon. It was published by the Drawing Center in NYC, and voila, I found it for 35.00!

I had barely enough money in my Paypal account to pay for the one, and used my CC for the other, but I have my summer reading AND inspiration...arriving in the mail just in time for me to devour them during my summer break.

Lesson dear friends...don't always go to the big guys expecting the best buy.  You are better backtracking to see who the publisher is, and if a Museum, gallery, etc. you may be able to get the book for far less than what Amazon or Barnes and Noble will offer you.

(PS I don't care if they are reprints / not first editions....and softcover is fine by me. I just want the book, and would even buy them used, but new was cheaper in most cases than used!)

Happy from a day of painting, drawing, and buying books.

Patti O Shopper

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