By David P. Cantrell
I learned about AbeBooks.com several years ago when I searched for an out of print novel, Top of the World by Hans Ruesch. The film version, The Savage Innocents, was released in 1961 and starred Anthony Quinn (a Mexican born actor) as Inuk the Eskimo. Peter O’Toole played a Canadian Mountie. It’s reported that O’Toole demanded the removal of his name from the credits, because his voice was dubbed. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know, but I couldn’t find his name on the movie poster.
The novel tells an amazing tale, full of fascinating cultural information about the Arctic tribes, and their struggle to survive in a harsh environment. Their adaptations to the frozen north worked for them, although they often seemed barbaric to outsiders. For the most part they lived in peace with each other. Populations were sparse and women prized, which could lead to violence. Sometimes a husband would honor a visitor by offering sex with his wife. In the story a well-meaning Catholic priest is offended the honor and refuses it, prompting Inuk to kill him and the subsequent involvement of O’Toole’s character. But, this post isn’t about Inuk.
AbeBooks.com was created by two Canadian couples that wanted a more efficient way for booksellers to offer their inventory to the world. It formed in the mid-nineties and has grown into a global organization with websites in several markets. They offer millions of books from some 50,000 sellers. Many of them are non-profits, like Goodwill. Most of their books are used, but not all. And, most are inexpensive, but not all. They’ve sold many rare books through their network.
If you’re looking for a book and can’t find it locally, give AbeBooks.com a try. I bought 25 books for a 7th grade English class for about $100.00. I also obtained the ninth edition of Greggs Reference Manual, a great resource, for a few dollars. Oh, I did find the Top of the World as you can too for less than $5.00—delivered to your door, no less.
David P. Cantrell is an author and a member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff