If you read my blog you know that I love Africa. But I will say this: the books there are a bit pricey. In Burkina Faso where I lived, an average new novel (when you can find one at all) has a cover price of 11,000 francs. It sounds like a lot, and it is. For most people in Burkina Faso, 11,000 francs is more than a week’s wages.
That’s right. A week’s wages for a book.
Think of it in UK terms. Minimum wage, £6.50. A week’s wages, £273. Can you imagine spending £273 on one book?
We are fortunate to live in a place where we have access to bookshops, school libraries and public libraries, Kindles and Nooks. We are blessed that we can buy and borrow books without spending a fortune on them.
If you want to spend a fortune on a single book, the place to go is of course Ebay. As you know, there are some very optimistic sellers on ebay. At the time of writing:
- £273.41 can buy you all 4 volumes of Moral Theology, published in 1713
- £273.97 gets you a Handbook of Herbs and Spices, published in 2001
- £273.33 buys you a used copy of Ray Mears’ World Of Survival
- £271.99 would buy you The Accountants Bad Joke book OR Lumbosacral and Pelvic Procedures
Most of the ludicrously expensive books on Ebay are non-fiction, but I did spot a novel, too. Robert Harris’s thriller The Ghost is currently available at a Buy it Now price of £271.82. The seller of this used book is called Fortune International Ltd (not kidding) and in the smallprint they say: ‘Our company is dedicated to providing you with the best quality, lowest cost products on eBay.’
You can spend a week’s wages on a book if you want to, but thank goodness you don’t have to. We have affordable books all around us. All we have to do is read them.