In the final analysis, it was rather touching or amusing, depending on the type of person you are. Not that I didn’t want to buy novels by Ian Rankin, but the buy didn’t set out to be a raid on Rankin as it appears now. After buying 12 Peter Robinson novels in ‘two fell swoops,’ I saw that there were two novels yet to be highlighted in yellow on my ‘Peter Robinson’ list. I found one of them going very cheap with Butterfly Books, another used books’ seller on Amazon. But I was loath to pay Rs.65 for shipping when the book itself was priced lesser. I had to fill the cart with books worth at least Rs.399 for the shipping charges to be waived off.
I scanned my memory bank for titles I was missing. Eventually, I decided to search for those titles missing in my Ian Rankin list. The prices were tempting and I went berserk. I forgot about ‘the Rs.399’ limit and the lone Robinson novel for which I was now filling the cart with Rankin novels. I crossed all limits and the raid ended only when I saw that I had filled all the gaps in my Rankin list. The shopping cart now had seven Rankins and one Robinson. ‘The 399 limit’ was breached long ago. All that remained was to click the ‘checkout’ button.
For some reason I postponed the ‘checkout’ and a few hours later the ‘buyout’ frenzy became a hazy memory. The next day, I remembered the books waiting in the cart and decided to ‘checkout.’
I went to my ‘shopping cart’ and you know what … somebody had pulled the rug from underneath the carefully planned purchase. The entire rationale for which I ‘carted’ the seven Rankin novels had collapsed. Of all the books available with Butterfly Books, somebody had to go ahead and buy that one Robinson novel I had in my cart!!! I felt like Rick Blaine ... huh ... !
I cursed myself. I searched again and again across all the used books sellers’ portals on Amazon. Absolutely no luck. The seven Rankin novels in my cart stared back at me. Should I cut my losses and wait for another opportunity for that Robinson novel to turn up? Would that opportunity come sooner or later? I had put together the Rankin novels with a great deal of fondness, no doubt. I didn’t want to lose out on these too. So, after a raging debate in my mind, the dust finally settled and I pressed ‘checkout’ for a cartful of Rankin novels. Not that the package, when it arrived, compensated for the laxity on my part for not being hungry enough, but the sight of each Rankin novel separately shrink wrapped and each looking as good as new, went a long way in consoling my bruised soul for some time.
That Robinson novel that I had pined for and lost and another one, which too is not on my list, are both available under used books on Amazon, but unfortunately with two different booksellers and each would charge Rs.65 separately for shipping. And that Robinson novel now costs almost three times more with this used books’ seller than it used to with Butterfly Books. Sometimes I feel like kicking myself, and sometimes I smile, amused at how it all turned out in the end.
‘After all, it is only a book. Why get all het up about that.’