Mining the World of Bargain Books
Sometimes bargain books are offered as an "assortment," i.e. not by individual titles, kind of a book goody-bag where one's only option is to specify the maximum number of any individual title. We don't like surprises, so this option would not be of interest.
We look for interesting titles by quality publishers, interesting illustrated books, first books by authors, or books by well-known authors. We look for well-made books and books with a high price-to-value ratio. We always specify the kind of books we won't accept (e.g. no hurts, no remainders), and we try to buy from jobbers or publishers that we trust.
For example, here are some interesting titles that were lately remaindered by Oxford University Press:
Lienhard, John H. Inventing Modern: Growing Up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins. Cloth binding, 292 pp. Illustrated. "The professor and historian who hosts NPR's The Engines of Our Ingenuity here looks at the distinctly 20th-century culture of "Modern" in America, born of the push for new technology and progress and shaping the thinking of young minds growing up in such an age. But it has not been one long march into the future. Modern was once X-rays and radium and radio waves, art deco skyscrapers and the Bauhaus School, Buck Rogers and Fritz Lang's Metropolis. It was also the Teepee Motel in Wharton County, Texas, left behind by the new interstate; Burma Shave signs that no longer dot the highway; and the utopian cities envisioned by razor magnate King Camp Gillette. John Lienhard considers Modern as an entity here, offering snapshots of 20th-century America and remarking on the signposts of its evolution until it went the way of fins on cars. He looks at not just the artifacts but also the thinking of our Modern society, and how the revolutions of science and the romance of discovery were reflected in the kitsch of Modern culture even as they were obscured by it. Black and white illustrations appear throughout the book."
The suggested retail price of this book is $28.00; it is available for $2.00.
Angel, Solly. The Tale of the Scale. Cloth binding, 304 pp. "This is an engaging first-person account of a ten-year journey in relentless pursuit of a small vision. In the mid-1980s Solly Angel saw in his mind's eye a quarter-inch thick personal scale weighing a pound—a true travel scale—and he decided to make it a reality and bring it to market. An urban planner by profession, with an international reputation, Angel had no mechanical skills going into the project. He records his transformation, over the course of a decade, from a bungling ignoramus to an expert on thin scales, and takes readers along from Bangkok to California, from Groningen in the Netherlands to Murrhardt in Germany, and from New York to Tokyo. Geography aside, Angel also explores realms of knowledge inhabited by people with diverse yet complementary outlooks on the invention process—engineers, designers, lawyers, product development specialists, corporate functionaries, and friends who philosophize on the deeper meanings of one's life pursuits." Originally retailing at $28.00, this book is available for $1.50.