While in Victoria B.C. last week I visited two of my favourite places: The Turntable, a tiny used vinyl/CD shop with a massive collection of great music and Russell Books, Victoria’s answer to Powell’s Books in Portland. I’ll show you my finds first, then I’ll tell you my conundrum.
The Turntable is tucked in FanTan Alley, a shoulder-width alley way that houses a few very eclectic shops. The owner knows his stuff and is very personable. He has a number of regulars who come in looking for things – 2 or 3 showed up in the half hour that I was browsing.
I found these 3 CDs, all in great shape.
In contrast, Russell Books is a massive store on Fort Street, a main thoroughfare in downtown Victoria. It is a gem of a book shop with tens of thousands of books, mostly used and a very knowledgeable staff. I love it when you ask about something you think is obscure and the store clerk not only knows what you’re talking about but tells you all kinds of things about the topic that you didn’t know. For example, my son was looking for an Isaac Asimov young adult series called Lucky Star – hard to find. The helpful clerk not only knew about that but also knew that the books were made into a TV series that Asimov didn’t like and so he insisted that from then-on the books be published under the pseudonym Paul French. Sadly, we didn’t find any in that series under either name but I did find these treats.
So here’s my conundrum. As someone in the process of writing a novel, I feel almost hypocritical buying nearly all of my books used (or only getting them out of the library). This does not help authors in any way – other than it means their work is being read and of course, that’s what all writers want. They also want to make a living. Same goes for musicians. I buy music new as well as used (never digitally… just haven’t been able to go there yet). My son and his friend have actually made a conscious decision to support musicians by buying new music each month, preferably a physical copy of the album they want. I love that – and yet here I am buying used CDs.
So am I a hypocrite? How do you support the arts?