Getting hold of hard-to-find books used to be an involved business of, first of all, researching which sellers might deal with the book in question, second, seeing if anyone has it, third, putting the book on their ‘wanted’ lists, fourth, fifth, and sixth, waiting.
Fortunately, there is abebooks. Ten minutes of research located very affordable copies of three different books at three different UK booksellers. I put them in my shopping basket, hit the button, and forgot all about it.
When I logged on this morning I found that all three booksellers had acknowledged the orders and dispatched over the weekend. I don’t know what cut abebooks takes, but it must surely increase the simple number of books each seller handles. For me, it’s so simple it almost makes me pine for the dogged, long-winded pursuit required in the good old days.