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Finding horse books, and book reviews

From: Francis

Dear Jessica, since you are an author as well as a horsewoman, perhaps you can explain this to me. Why is it that truly excellent horse books seem to go out of print so quickly and become almost impossible to find? It's tremendously frustrating to look for something on the Amazon.com website and to find that the book may possibly be made available in six or more weeks. I feel that I would do better to look for the books myself, if I only knew where to look. For example: I have been searching for a copy of the book that the late Dr. Klimke wrote about his horse Ahlerich, and I have had no luck at all. Do you have any suggestions for me? So often, a clinician will refer to a volume that I then cannot find when I look for it, or I will find in one book a mention of another book, which of course I cannot find either. Help, please!

Oh, one more question: I am not a literary critic by any means, but I wonder how you would feel if I wrote a brief review of your books on Amazon.com? I expect some of your other subscribers would like to do the same, if they were brave enough. Would you like us to do that? Do such reviews help sales? I'm sure I can speak for all HORSE-SENSE subscribers when I say that we don't want YOUR books to go out of print!

Francis


Hi Francis! You're not alone in your search for out-of-print books. I, too, spend a good deal of time looking for books as I travel. I'm lucky because I'm able to visit hundreds of book shops everywhere. ;-)

Amazon.com deals with a lot of book shops. When I visit used-book stores, I usually see a few books and sometimes an entire shelf of books marked "Amazon.com" -- those are the books requested from Amazon.com by people like you, and supplied by the used bookstores around the country and possibly around the world.

There are other places to look for books online. You might try a few additional sites: Powell Books in Oregon is a great source of old and out-of-print items. Alibris -- also online -- is brilliant; I get quite a lot of books from them. Alapage is a French service that I've found to be very useful for French horsebooks that simply aren't available in the US.

Some other good sources, sadly not (yet) online, are October Farm and Robin Bledsoe's bookstore in Cambridge, MA. Actually October Farm does have a website, but I don't think their catalogue is online.

Another useful source of horse books is eBay, but you'll have to resist the urge to "win the auction" -- it's all too easy to wake up the next morning and realize that you've just paid three times as much as you would have in a used book store.

If you're in the UK, there is (or at any rate there used to be) a wonderful book (published annually?) called SKOOB, which listed an enormous number of used-book shops and provided information about their collections and how to get in touch with the owners.

As for reviewing my books on Amazon.com, yes, please do, I'd be grateful. Since publishers provide little or no advertising for most books after publication (and sometimes before publication!), books tend to sell -- or not -- based on that oldest form of publicity: Word Of Mouth. Yes, I do think that the reviews on Amazon.com and elsewhere serve to promote sales, and they also help to sell new book ideas to publishers... so, who knows, if enough reviews get posted, you may make it possible for me to get another book published. For instance, I'd really like to publish a series of HORSE-SENSE books on specific subjects, for all the people who aren't online.

Anyway, yes please, I'd be delighted to have you (and anyone else on the HORSE-SENSE list!) drop by the Amazon.com website and put in a few good words. It's easy to do and most reviews are short, so don't feel that you have to write long essays, unless, of course, you want to! ;-) As the saying goes: "Can't hurt, might help." And thank you for asking, it really is a kind thought.

Jessica

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