Exercising my bragging rights here, but I have a child who loves to read. Not likes…not enjoys…but LOVES to read. We knew this about her early on, as demonstrated in the following scenario that took place when she was two.
Scene One: Husband’s Home Office
Child in question has entered the room, where husband is trying to get important work done. Oblivious to this, child climbs onto office couch with large storybook, assumes a prone position on pillows, legs crossed, and begins to “read” book to herself. Out loud.
Husband, about to make conference call, asks her to hang out elsewhere. Seemingly oblivious, child continues “reading.” Out loud.
Husband, now agitated, yells to wife downstairs: “Need some help here–the child is in my office!”
Two-year-old sits up on couch and yells to mother downstairs:
“The child is READING!”
End of Scene
So needless to say, we’ve happily spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on books for said child…particularly before a vacation, where she peels through one-a-day, like a vitamin regimen. (It also explains why she’s got a book in her hands in most of our family vacation photos.) And, as any parent who has ventured into the book department of Barnes and Noble lately will attest, the financial impact of this wonderful hobby is significant: A hot, new hardback title easily tallies $15.95 a pop. We pay it regardless, grateful for her passion…yet I’m always on the lookout for cheaper ways to keep her well stocked. (And yes, I have thought of the library alternative…but we happen to live in a small suburb that falls through the cracks of said library privileges. Don’t even get me started.)
Anyway, this is why I’m kind of obsessed with used bookstores. A great chain, like Half Price Books (www.halfpricebooks.com), is a frequent stop on my shopping outings with The Child. Pleasant, modern, segmented into easy-to-find sections, these second-handers offers many of the newest titles for a fraction of the cost of the major discounters, so you can walk out with a huge bag of books for under $50. (I mean, think about it: Someone’s kid finishes the latest Clique hardcover; mom sells it back to a used shop; and you’re the one who wins big by paying, say, $4 instead of $14.95 for this hot-off-the-press title.)
I will confess, though, that The Child recently acquired a Kindle, and is already scouring the Amazon website for new reads to download. In the interest of book preservation, I may just limit her use of the gadget to vacations…quite frankly, so I don’t have to pay the $25 second-baggage fee to haul her reading stash. What think?