Welcome to the new week! I’m happy to be finally putting up this post and I hope you are as happy to be reading it. I sincerely apologise it’s coming later than it should (based on what I had put up on my Instagram). I spent most of the past week putting things in order for my place to be fumigated and all of that house renovation stuff. So, I was too occupied to put the post together and even more disappointing, I could not steal away for the 5th edition of the Ake Book and Arts Festival. Did you get to attend? If you did, what was your experience? I did most of my following on Twitter and some on Instagram and I could tell it was an amazing event.
Back to Today’s Book Post
Yes, books, books and more books! I get the question a lot, “Where do you get your books from?” So, this is a detailed cheat post on every book acquisition secret I use. I’m not one for soft copy books. In fact, I can’t remember ever reading an e-book to the end. If at all, maybe one or two. Hence it’s yes to the hard copy books and this is how we roll:
Obviously yeah? Pretty much. I get a good deal of my books from the quality bookstores located wherever I find myself. Here in Lagos/Ogun, I get most of my Christian growth or self-help books from the Dominion Bookstore (it’s the Living Faith Church Bookstore) located in Ota. Sometimes, I buy from Bible Wonderland in Lagos. Other times, I explore the bookstores of other churches e.g. Daystar. When it comes to literary texts – African Writers Series and the like, I opt for the university bookshops e.g the one in UNILAG. The bookshops in Ibadan and Ife are also amazing. I’ve witnessed individuals who tell a friend on their journey to get them some books, and another bookstore that does the magic for me is Laterna, located at Victoria Island, Lagos.
- Fairs and Exhibitions
You never can tell what you can find in any of these places. It can be amusing. I once attended an exhibition in South Africa and I went straight to the man with books as soon as I spotted him. In places like this, you’d find Classics. I bought second edition copies of Oliver Twist, Emma and A Tale of Two Cities. I remember seeing a first edition of one of Ian Fleming’s books but it was a little above my budget (who wouldn’t love a first edition?!) and I still wish I had bought it anyways.
- Thrift Shops or Stands
When I’m out of the country, I visit a nice bookstore and then a thrift shop to check out their books. Superb! Thrift shops aren’t very common here in Lagos in the sense of a ‘shop’ but the stands, stalls and by-the-roadside tables of books are almost everywhere. Don’t be shocked if you find me at a thrift stand buying books. In fact, this is one of my best ways to buy. The books are old (yes, I like oldies a lot!), usually still neat and most times, it’s hard to find a second copy so it feels unique, and above all, they are cheap!. Sometimes, I buy five books for about N500 or a thousand, and the feeling is great – It’s like a brave soldier who has found great spoil after the war. The book, Unwinding Threads which I posted on Instagram was a thrifted copy – compiled in 1984. Isn’t that lovely? Yes, from Apapa, Lagos to the outskirts of Lagos, thrifted book stands are everywhere. Check ‘em out!
Let everyone know that giving you books as gifts is a great idea (that’s of course if you like it). I tell all my friends and I make it clear. So, sometimes the books come on special occasions such as birthdays or as random, “Oh Alex, I saw this and I thought you’d like it”. With open arms, yes! Thank you. A good percentage of my books are gifts – from Spiritual Growth to Personal Development to Novels and to breath-taking Journals.
- Online Shopping
Personally, I have never bought a book on Amazon or any other online store, but I have had an order placed on my behalf for a textbook I needed at some point. So yes, this works too, but maybe when you’re out of options or you’re desperately in need of a particular book. Now, there are online stores like Okada Books where you can order new books and get it delivered at your doorstep. You can even publish your own books.
Ah yes, book shopping at the airport can be an advantage. It can be high-priced compared to buying from a normal bookstore, but it’s worth it sometimes if the ‘added price’ is not too far from your estimated price. Always negotiate well and break language barriers if you have to (I do this a lot at the thrifted stands). Most new books are available at the airport. I bought my copy of Harmattan Haze on an African Spring by Wole Soyinka at the book stand at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Every airport I’ve seen has a bookstore, so take advantage of it when you can.
As an undergraduate, I got to know a particular man – kind and active – who I could order books from on a one-on-one basis. At some point, he bought me my copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. I still have his contact phone, so if you choose, you could state your interest in the comment section and I’d mail the number to you.
Oops. No, I am not asking you to steal. However, one of the ways I also acquire books is by claiming ownership from a close friend or family member (with their knowledge o). I see it, I like it, I tell you, I take it, I hide it, and You do nothing about it. You could try that too. It just might work, and if it doesn’t, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Yes! Thank you for reading to the end. This has to be one of my longest blogposts ever, but I hope you loved every read and you learnt a thing or two. Are there more amazing ways in which you get your own books? Please leave a comment. And even if there aren’t any, just identify your self. Please don’t be a ghost reader today…leave a comment and share this post with others too on your social media pages. Gracias! Thank you so much.
P.S: Fridays are usually for lifestyle posts and Mondays for posts on Faith and Inspiration. However, because I postponed this post from last Friday, there’d be a swap. Hence we’d be opening our Bibles on Friday instead! I pray you a most amazing week. Especial shout out to all Stream 1 NYSC folks, God be with you!
With Overflowing Love,