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Thread: what gives on woodworking books?

  1. #1

    what gives on woodworking books?

    I use the winter months to catch up on reading and to do short interval putzing in my [marginally heated] shop to make small improvements and fix things. Yesterday was plane sharpening and tuning day. Today it's colder so I decided to I would learn more about planes and went looking for the Chris Schwarz' Handplane Essentials book on Amazon. Expensive. Next looked at my pretty good local library. Nada. Next used Colorado's state wide library share system. Close to nada.

    I've been here before, pretty much any winter. No Lost Arts Press books, very few FWW or Popular WW, my small personal library of maybe 30 books is much more richly endowded than almost the whole state. This seems to be an anomalous condition. Is the woodworking community so small there is no library demand? Are we maybe collectively illiterate?

    Opinions, informed or otherwise, sought.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
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    127
    My opinion, which is worth exactly how much you are currently paying for it, is that most of the library systems keep what has been being checked out. In my area, you can find woodcarving and turning books . . . and not much else. LAP books aren't exactly what one might call 'mass published', unlike series from Better Homes and Gardens, or New Yankee Workshop, or PWW. I have slightly better luck browsing the used bookstores in my area, and even then it's panning for gold.

    Is it an anomalous condition - not really. But it's the same reason you're not going to find Lee Valley / Lie Nielson / etc . . . at your local home center. Those who know, know where to go to get what they're looking for, and usually once they get it, they hold onto it for their personal collection. My opinion is that it's the difference between a lending library and a reference library - lending libraries have collections that I might enjoy browsing and reading, and if I like what I read - I go out and purchase it so it can go into my personal reference library, which is for me and mine - but if I need something, it's there and I don't have to wait for it to be turned back in by someone else in 2 weeks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Clarks Summit PA
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    641
    John, my library is the same. Some of my thoughts are that woodworking is waning in popularity & some good books are never returned to the library.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Putney, Vermont
    Posts
    722
    I have bought about 10 used wood working books this winter from Thrift books. Not the popular Lost Art Press Books, but many by Jim Tolpin and a few other good wood workers.
    Generally each book was 3 or 4 dollars. A couple books by Krenov for under 10.00.
    There are many wood working books used out there for very little in cost if it is what you want to read.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    22
    I think the best part about the internet is the ability to get cheap used books on any subject, no matter how esoteric. Or in my case find someone willing to send the entire back catalog of Fine Woodworking for just the price of shipping.

    20200205_162212.jpg20200205_162217.jpg20200205_162224.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Tucson, Aridzona
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    161
    Always good to see Joyce in the stack
    ~mike

    currently ratless

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    148
    Iím a retired Librarian. If you really want a book and donít want to buy it, ask your local library if they have nationwide Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Some libraries charge a small fee, some donít, but not all library systems offer ILL service.

  8. #8
    Abebooks.com. Same as thriftbooks.com with different vendors

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
    Posts
    537
    Highly recommend. I always check Abebooks first when I'm looking for a used book.

  10. #10
    Lets blame the millenials, they don't read books. I think 2006 was was the peak of hobby topic publishing. Fifteen years later the books have migrated to used book shops and no one is writing the next generation of books. Blame YouTube

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
    Posts
    537
    Quote Originally Posted by kent wardecke View Post
    Lets blame the millenials, they don't read books. I think 2006 was was the peak of hobby topic publishing. Fifteen years later the books have migrated to used book shops and no one is writing the next generation of books. Blame YouTube
    Read one of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' by Walter M. Miller Jr and you might believe books will one day be the do all, end all. Who knows? Just sayin'. :0)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    22
    When I am looking for something hard to find I use bookfinder.com. They scan everywhere and compare prices across the board. There is usually some random place selling a copy cheaper than everywhere else.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    366
    A search of my local library's catalog turns up has about a dozen books on "woodworking." Most are beginner-level books and/or books of project plans. The larger "district" library, lists about three dozen books on woodworking - including, somewhat surprisingly, Schwarz's Handplane Essentials (checked out right now). The local library serves a population of ~50K, and the district library serves a population of ~250K.

    For comparison, my local library (the one with a dozen woodworking titles) carries over 100 titles on knitting, and some 500 on gardening. But I wouldn't be too surprised if that's roughly in line with the relative popularity of those hobbies.

    Figuring out what to buy for a library's collection must be a tough job. Once you get past "classic" fiction and current/recent "best sellers" in both fiction and non-fiction, how do you know what will serve your constituents well? I suppose you monitor what types of books get borrowed frequently, and what types of books get requested frequently, and go from there.

    If you can't find Schwarz's book for sale at an acceptable price, @Stephen Rosenthal had a good suggestion - ask your local library about getting it through Interlibrary Loan. You might also try suggesting to your local library that they add the book to their collection. My experience has been that the librarians almost always welcome suggestions, and I've had probably a 50% "hit rate" in getting books added.

  14. #14
    I love my library district's research librarians, they get me stuff that borders on legendary, but even they are struggling with my LostArts request list. What kicked off my original post was my statewide search. My district now ties in to a state/region wide system, that includes universities like CU, CSU, UNC, UWyo, towns like Denver, Boulder, etc. You want it, plug in your card number and eventually you get it. Assuming someone has it.

    Colo has the highest % of college educated in the country, and many of our libraries are quietly flush with some gas/oil money. Coloradoans are stingy on income taxes but pass almost any cultural or recreational tax that floats by, literally including some to improve access for river floats. But that whole system is sparsely populated for WW books, so really all that fine system tells me is we don't own many WW books. Which gets me back to why. I have found that LostArts books are actually cheaper new from LAP than used off ABE or Amazon.

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