Buying books is probably best achieved by shopping around, although some websites offer new books at competitive prices combined with prompt delivery.
Secondhand books can be obtaind via abebooks.com. In many cases the prices are competitive and delivery is fast whether from Wales or New South Wales. Some books are offered at absurdly high prices. Some of the shops/stalls attached to preserved railways have material, especially magazines, available cheaply. The Kidderminster Railway Museum is excellent. The one at Weybourne station on the North Norfolk Railway is excellently run and is in effect the best collection of railway books in Norfolk. Some small non-specialist booksellers have material which can be very cheap: Peters Books in Sheringham is an excellent example of such a vendor (acquired several copies of the Locomotive Railway Carriage & Wagon Review from him). Cromer now has two secondhand bookshops. The National Trust secondhand book shops used to be highly competitive, but now sell rubbish at inflated prices. There are many excellent secondhand specialist bookshops: they are welcome to negotiate to advertise on this website. Sometimes it is worth looking in other bookshops in towns associated with well-known booksellers where it is possible to locate the same material far more cheaply. E-Bay is a lottery: some material can be acquired for little more than a song: other material goes for absurd prices. The best items appear to have been acquired at car-boot sales and then sold on. The Holt Bookshop is an excellent establishment (its proprietor organixzes excellent author events), although limited in its stock of railway books. The Bookhive in Norwich is highly interesting, but sells few books of interest to Kevin albeit there is a PhD in library science somewhere in its stock arrangement which is mainly horizontal.
Robert Humm's premises formerly adjacent to/part of Stamford station noe at 59 Scotgate Stamford PE9 2YQ are the antithesis of the dark cobweb ridden image of the secondhand bookshop. The proprietor is clearly a bookman of the first order. One of his specialities is the gathering together of scattered material and assembling it into sets, and if necessary bound. Thus, anyone with the funds seeking a full-set of the Railway Magazine (for instance) should look towards Stamford. His catalogue (the current Issue is No. 103) is produced two or three times per annum and is available on subscription. It now contains short articles: No. 96 contained Portillo's Bradshaw (the bibliographical basis for Michael Portillo's exploration of the British railway network* mainly by bumping along in Pacers)..
*BBC television series: have always been suspicious of Spanish obsession with self-mortification: also one suspects that his Thatcherist leanings tended to make him query the neeed for "society" and networks.
British Ralway Books
Lens of Sutton was a fascinating place and noted for its vast collection of photographs which have been preserved like some cherished heritage railway. It was visited by a naive National Serviceman in 1956 and he obtained copies of old (now ancient) Railway Magazines: mainly ones with colour plates (most of which decorate the staermindex website. The proprietor John Leslie Smith (died 30 December 1999) was likeable and no doubt the shop was full of enthusiasts. John Minnis got there rather later: see British Railway Journal, Number 67 page 47
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