The Online Photographer

Check out our new site at!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Critical Delectation

Look, it's a Tuesday. The weekend is far off. It's winter. Spring seems like a long way off, too. You work hard. And no matter how impecunious you may feel—God knows most of us feel that way most of the time—you can afford a photography book. What better treat to give yourself on a Tuesday in the middle of the miserable winter? What else are you going to do, stuff your face with something you shouldn't eat? Don't do that. You're heavy enough already. Buy yourself a new pair of shoes? They'll just get ruined by road salt. No. What you need is a photography book. There is no better treat you can give yourself today. Am I right?

Of course I'm right. Here's what you do. Look over in the left-hand column, where our ads are. Scroll down. Sooner or later you'll get to a stack of book covers. Those are links to pages. Pick one. Click on it. And buy yourself a book. You should do it. Today.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but you should really do this not for you, but for us. We need you to pitch in and help support the site. If you buy a book on, we get a buck or two. It won't cost you anything at all—the price is the same to you whether you link from here or no. But we need that buck. It means something to us. It's a pat on the back, a word of cheer, a leg up, a supportive gesture.

So what you'll actually be doing is not buying a photography book for yourself, but helping to support your favorite website. (Okay, one of your favorites, then. But you're reading this, right?) So if your wife or husband—or, I don't know, mother, or tax accountant—asks you what in the hell you think you're doing buying yourself an expensive photography book on a Tuesday for no reason, you don't have to fall back on the time-tested I deserve it, dammit or the overly frank I wanted it. "Mike made me," you can say, smugly—and truthfully. I am making you. Go ahead, and blame it on me. It's my fault. Because you're a generous person and you're supporting T.O.P. That's why you're going to buy a photography book today. Right? It's not selfish. It's altruistic. It's not for you. And you shouldn't care who knows it. You're just doing your small part. I'm not kidding about this, either—you'll be doing us a very generous favor, one we will sincerely appreciate.

It'll be great. Just when you're on the cusp of forgetting that you ordered it, it'll come in a nice little brown box, and you'll have the evening to page through some cool new work or have something to read instead of wasting your time watching some damn game show or reality show on the idiot box that you will get absolutely nothing out of and that (let's be honest) you won't really enjoy all that much. (How many times can you watch "Deal or No Deal," honestly?) A photography book, that you will enjoy and get something out of. You know you will. A photography book will be just what you needed—inspiration, information, a new acquisition to be proud of, a fresh adornment for your shelves. And by the way, if you think you have no room on your shelves, pick the five worst books that have been hanging around your living room for way too long already and give them to your local library. And c'mon, don't make pathetic little excuses like that. You need a new photography book.

At the very least, look at the list of books, and click on the one you would buy today, if you were going to buy one. Just pretending. It's just an exercise. A game. Make a choice. Call it an act of critical delectation.

And then, buy it. You really should.

(There is no charge for the enabling.)

Posted by: MIKE, BPE (Book Purchase Enabler)

Link to Amazon Germany Here

Link to Amazon U.K. Here

Featured Comment: Mike,

A sweetener: some photo books are eligible for Amazon's current textbook promotion ($15 off $150). Eligibility seems arbitrary (The Americans and Real World Camera Raw, yes, but not Friedlander, nor Origins of Photojournalism).

A question: Your sidebar states "buying anything from Amazon..." Does that mean if I click on a link and buy something other than that specific book, you still get a commission?

robert e, IMS (impecunious monitor-shopper)

BPE Replies to IMS: Indeedy we do. Thus, I can do monitor-purchase enabling, too.


Blogger Player said...

Dang Mike, I've been feeling guilty enough about not buying Ctein's latest book (even though I don't do digital restoration), and not buying at least one of your great photographs. If I buy a photography book, will it heal my angst? :)

BTW Ctein, I plan on getting your book, really I do. Bear with me.

I have to admit, though, that I feel better after writing this. :)

10:39 AM  
Blogger Clive Evans said...

I notice that David Hobby over at also has links to so that us Europeans who don't want to ship books from US can still buy AND support the site.
Might generate a few more Cs for you?

10:56 AM  
Blogger jw52tx said...

I don't understand some of those words but I did what you said and bought a book. Please dont use any more of those words and make me buy another camera.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Josh Hawkins said...

Two questions I've had for a while about this program. Say I click on a book and add it to my wishlist or my cart but wait a little while to buy it, does TOP still get credit for my purchase? Say I click on your amazon link, look at a few things, but then buy something completely different while I'm there, let's say socks, does TOP get a credit for that, or just the linked books? Thanks for the clarification.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Mr. Hill said...

I hadn't thought about it before, but I think from now on I'll try, any time I plan to buy something from Amazon, to click through your site to get to it--they will credit you that way, too, right?

And by the way, Dicky is not, in fact, driving any more; I bought her Subaru off of her a month ago.

12:40 PM  
Blogger eolake said...

I had to look that up. Again.
Man, the vocabulary on this guy. What are you, eddicated? :)

1:26 PM  
Blogger m. said...

Amazon is still usually cheaper, but if I want a book to arrive in a timely manner I buy from Barnes and Noble. Except at Christmas, books ordered with free shipping take significantly longer to be shipped.

I really want the Polidori and the Long books, but now I have to buy darkroom suppies (and film, where the heck do you buy 120 film in Madison?) because I bought a Holga because of that damn toy camera book.

But then again, I'm so tired the word they gave me for verification makes sense.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Dave New said...

I took advantage of Mike's great recommended reading list and forwarded the link to my family for the holidays.

To my surprise, I ended up with about five of those books. I'm still working my way through them.

Thanks, Mike.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Ernest Theisen said...

OK so I bought Looking At Pictures. My conscience is now clear and it should stay that way for 20 minutes.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Say I click on a book and add it to my wishlist or my cart but wait a little while to buy it, does TOP still get credit for my purchase? Say I click on your amazon link, look at a few things, but then buy something completely different while I'm there, let's say socks, does TOP get a credit for that?"

We would get credit for your socks purchase, yes, but I think for us to get credit for things you put in your shopping cart or wish list, you'd have to go back to the Amazon site through one of TOP's links.


3:07 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

David's a genius, and has taught me all I know. (Well, all I know about how to run this website more efficiently.) I've taken his/your advice and added links to German and U.K. Amazons (those are the only ones where I'm an Amazon Associate. Oddly, my application was turned down at Amazon France).


3:16 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"What are you, eddicated? :)"

I am adduced, edified, and I pontificate, but not eddicated.


3:20 PM  
Blogger Clive Evans said...

I'm a Brit living in France and Ireland so is what I use!

ps Been reading you[somewhere........]
for over five years now, keep it up!

3:34 PM  
Blogger David C. Fox said...

Amazon is not a great company according to my experience. i've only had one terrible situation w/ someone who sold thru Amazon where i ate $25 but Amazon makes it too hard for me to get satisfaction. and i've had several minor bad times.
i ordered Ctein's latest from Powells and am planning on getting the 'Migrant Mother' print AND i tell everyone who might care that TOP is the web's greatest photoblog. will that do for now?

6:04 PM  
Blogger Nick Meertens said...

Mike, I regularly shop at Amazon and will use the TOP link to get there in the future!
Not just now though... my book-buying budget for this month is already spend. After your article on Juan Buhler in B&W magazine I bought the book from Juan Buhler. It arrived today and it's a real nice little book, signed by the artist and I can recommend it to anybody!
Best, Nick

7:37 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Mike, not too long ago you said that you sucked at promoting yourself and at marketing. This posting proves otherwise!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"This posting proves otherwise!"

I wish it did. Over 12,000 readers visited the blog that day, and only 13 people bought books. Believe me, I suck at marketing.


9:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home