Thursday, October 8, 2009

DK Travel Books and Penguin Books Warehouse Sale

My favourite series of travel books are those published by DK, you know, those with plenty of pictures and not too many words. They are just perfect for lazy readers like me and officially they are called DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. They come in three main flavours - the usually thick version by country, the thinner version by city or region and the handy Top 10 pocket guide by city. My collection of these DK travel guides is growing over the years and what better time to add to my collection than by visiting the Penguin Book Warehouse sale that is currently ongoing.

I am sure any serious book lovers must have already visited the Penguin Book Warehouse sale in PJ since they started on last Friday and will end this Sunday. Those of you who have not visited the sale, you still have a few more days to do so but you would have missed out most of the better buys. I was there on Saturday and went again yesterday but I found the selection was much reduced and I am glad that I bought many DK travel titles on Saturday itself since there are not many left yesterday. Among all the Book Warehouse sales that I have visited, I find the Penguin sale to be the best in terms of value and selection that suit my taste.

It does not seem very long ago that I visited the last Penguin sale but when I checked, the previous one was actually held almost two years ago in November 2007. How time flies!
Typical prices - most Penguin paperbacks are going for RM15 (up from RM12 the last time), the DK Travel guides at RM34 (against RM24 previously), DK Top 10 series at RM14 (previously RM10). There are also plenty of Rough Travel guides for RM20'ish but they seems to be less popular than the DK guides since I suppose most people are lazy to read and find looking at photos an easier task.

Many of the books on sale are not that old, some are just last year's edition and you may come across a gem every now and then. Here are some of my prized purchases this time around, you can read their reviews in Amazon.

The Rough Guide to Film (RM28)

This gives a comprehensive A-Z listing of directors with short reviews of their famous films.

The Rough Guide to Film Noir (RM15)

This concentrate on film noir giving the origin, the history, the 50 essential film noir, the profiles of key directors, peformers, cinematograhers, etc associated with film noir and more. The same series cover other genres like gangster, comedy, sci-fi and horror.

1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die (RM15)

This complements the "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" and list the recordings by artists in all genre of music from classical to pop.

DK Universe (RM60)

This is the full size version and there are many copies still available and makes very fascinating reading and viewing of the universe.

I was actually deciding between buying this title or the more down to earth DK James Bond Encyclopedia at RM50 but choose the Universe because it is more timeless. The James Bond stops at the movie Casino Royale with Daniel Craig and is thus slightly outdated but it is still a very good buy for James Bond fans unless you want the latest edition which will come out later this year.

Below are a sample each of the DK Travel guide and the Top 10 series that I bought in case you need to check out the series on Amazon.

DK Travel Brazil (RM34)

I grabbed this because Rio has just won the rights to host the 2012 Olympic Games and I never had any South American DK guide. Other titles I bought are China (RM38), South Africa (RM34), Canada (RM32), Morocco (RM32) and Holland (RM34)

DK Top 10 Berlin

Berlin is the only major European city that I have not visited so I hope to go there next year. Other titles I bought are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Venice, Sydney, Amsterdam, Brussels and Beijing all at RM14 each.

During the last Penguin sale, there were plenty of Penguin Classics but this time there were just a few titles scattered here and there. But I managed to get this one since it met my criteria for buying Penguin Classics - nice print and plenty of notes at the back.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead (RM15)

My copy is just the normal, standard black Penguin Classics edition but the contents are exactly the same as the above deluxe edition.

Though many titles are gone by now but there are still plenty of novels and also Ladybird books at only RM2 each so you may still find something you like. Just a hint, there are boxes under some of the tables where you may find a hidden gem but stay away from them if you are allergic to dust. Happy book hunting.

Ronald Kwok