On my birthday - it seems so long ago now! - I decided to order some second-hand books. I have quite a long wishlist at Amazon UK, of which several of the items are out of print so not easily available. Cyprus isn't one of the countries included in the Amazon payment scheme that's necessary when ordering from the marketplace, and even if it was the postage charges are pretty high to Europe. I tend to order from Play.com if I can, since it has free postage anywhere in Europe (including Cyprus) but their selection is not quite as good as Amazon's, and they don't have a second-hand selection.
So I started browsing that wonderful collection of second-hand bookshops, Abebooks UK. I was pleased to find some of the books I wanted at only about 60p... until I discovered that the postage to Cyprus would be £3.50 or more, and not much less per book if I ordered more than one item from the same seller. Now, perhaps I'm strange but while I don't mind paying a reasonable amount for a book, I really begrudge paying vast postage amounts. Particularly when it's way higher than the actual cost would be.
But then, suddenly, I spotted a seller called 'Allbooks.tv' who was offering free worldwide postage!! Oh joy!
Of course, their actual book prices were significantly higher than some of the others. And I didn't find their browsing catalogue very helpful, and when I looked at their main site, they weren't offering free postage as standard at all - that wsa only through Abebooks.
But, when I started searching by author and title, I discovered that this store had ten books I particularly wanted, five of which were out of print. All claimed to be in good condition, and none cost more than £3.50. So I put in the order. I had been given birthday money by three people, and always have a hard time finding things to spend it on. I love books, particularly second-hand, so this seemed like a good use of some of it.
This morning I went to the Post Office, clutching a slip of paper that was in our box a week ago saying that there was a parcel too big for the box. I hadn't expected the books so quickly - but that's what the parcel turned out to be. Well-wrapped, and all in excellent condition. Some of them look almost new.
I shall be using this service again!
Oh, and I nearly forgot. The 'TV' in the title wasn't just because the free shipping was offered by a seller called allbooks.tv.
Richard has borrowed some DVDs of the American political humorous soap 'West Wing' from some friends, and likes watching a couple of episodes with Tim every so often. After lunch on Sunday, he went to make coffee and Tim turned on the television.
It went, in Tim's words, 'FLUP!' - and died.
It's had a good life - I'm not sure where it originally came from, but it spent some years with my parents in Saudi Arabia, about 20 years ago. It returned to the UK, and we were given it when we moved to Cyprus since it has multi-standards, something which was relatively unusual even nine years ago. It's done us well.
I'd forgotten because I don't watch TV as such, anyway. I had a couple of new DVDs for my birthday, and was hoping to see them in the next few weeks, but I guess not....
As Richard says, it's one less thing to move. And he's been hankering after a flat screen TV for a while now, pleased to note that the prices are dropping all the time. So maybe, once we finally do move to our own house, we'll consider getting one.