01 December 2008

required sbl book posting

It seems that everyone who attended SBL and who has a blog is now sharing their book purchases.  I could offer mine, but it is rather long to type in and I figure it doesn't really benefit anyone but me. . .so, no.  I do want to make the annual review comments regarding the exhibition floor (book tables) and identify my take on the winners and losers.

1. The biggest plus for the book floor this year was that it was the place for me to run into people I know as well as interacting with a few other top scholars, some of whom I met for the first time and others who are friends of friends.  Oh, yes, I did meet The Bishop on the sales floor (did I ever mention that?). . .and I think that places me at 4-0 over Tilling, who has strangely been avoiding any attempts from me to contact him.

2. I resisted (again) to rip into the Walter de Gruyter book table for producing volumes which no student can really afford (though many of us buy them anyway), which are riddled with typos and grammatical errors.  Perhaps I will do this when I can accurately chew them out in German, or have Jim West to translate it into some concoction of earthly linguistics reminiscent of Reformation era sanctified mudslinging.

3. Of the five major American publishers I thought that Baker Books had the biggest splash (and accordingly spent the most money there), while IVP left much to be desired this time around.  I know these are quite subjective at the end of the day, but as a former academic bookstore general manager I'm trying to be as fair as possible.  Eerdmans probably had the biggest gap of unfulfilled hope with the delayed publication of a few really good looking volumes, most noticeably Dunn's forthcoming (are they trying to make sure we all buy it at full price?  Conspiracy.).

4. I wanted to buy the three volume set of Goldingay's commentary on the Psalms.  Volume One was sold out while the other two remained.  This led me to buy the latter volumes reluctantly as I fear that perhaps things go downhill drastically after the first volume and I'm the only one who doesn't know about it.

5. Appreciation is also directed somewhat to Continuum/T&T Clark for giving somewhat of a break on their volumes (JSNTS/LNTS), which means I could by two books for the same price as buying 15 at Baker (minor hyperbole).  There was some discount, sure, but the racket still remains and right now too many of us hold these published theses as must-haves - I'm racking up my share of these (should I up my renter's insurance every time I buy three of these?).

6. I went with Accordance.  I know that Logos has something going, but the Accordance guy said they were better so I went with him.  It's a no brainer when the guy outright tells you his product is better than the other guy's.  (For the record: the Logos guy NEVER said his was better than Accordance. . .I never asked either of them directly.)

7. Because my wife works for FedEx I shipped my two big boxes of books home, kept one out for the plane ride, and have already decided that it completely sucks.  One down.  If anyone wants a book on Christian Education and Spiritual Formation that is a complete waste of time (and has my name in the front), just let me know!

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