I can book on this special sale

Published 12:34 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It is that wonderful time that only comes once a year, and it is almost at an end. I know the Christmas holidays are over and Valentine’s Day is weeks away, but my favorite celebration is in full swing — at least for a few more days.

What, you ask, is the glorious event that I await with great expectation each year?

It is, are you ready, the annual Barnes and Noble After-Holiday sale. Oh the wonder. Oh the magic. Oh the books.

This year there are more than 28,600 bargain priced books in the online sale. That’s 28,600 possibilities, and some of them cost less than $2. For a book-aholic like me, it is almost too much to resist.

Oh those sneaky Barnes and Noble folks know my weakness well. They know my addiction to books so they send me e-mails giving me coupons, alerting me to discounts, soon-to-end sales and this biggest of all, this after-holiday temptation.

These clever people understand me. They know my need, my desire for printed pleasure. How can I resist the lure of adding more books to my out-of-control collection — and at such a reduced price?

I fight it. Resist the urge to open that e-mail, but it’s no use. The books call to me. They tell me of their glory. They speak to me of the joy I feel when I hold one of them in my hands.

I close my eyes and relive that feeling. I can almost smell the perfume rising from the pages, that glorious fragrance of ink mingling with paper. I hear the crisp snap of pages turning, the clap of a hard cover as it slaps shut and the swish of a paperback gently closing in on itself.

How can I not look? How can I delete this message without so much as a peek at what lies in the online discount bin?

I can’t. I can’t do it. I cannot send this invitation to browse to the trash can unread.

So I click, and there it is before me — a seemingly never ending list of books, complete with pictures, editorial comments and stars to denote what others think of the contents.

I move quickly down the page, stopping only at those items that arouse my interest. Oh the variety is amazing. There are books about animals and aliens, religion and self-improvement, novels, classics, funny books, sad books, picture books, instructional manuals, cook books, how-to books, books containing paper dolls and the history of paper dolls…

I am dizzy with the possibilities, drunk with the potential for purchasing more and more and more books.

And then at the height of my frenzied searching, I hear a voice in my head. It speaks quietly at first. Then with more force as I reach bargain book number 100 of the 28,600.

“Step away from the computer. Step away from the computer NOW!”

I close my eyes praying for the voice to stop. Hoping my good sense will evaporate and I will continue my mad consumption of book shopping bliss.

Alas, the ounce of reason left in my brain freezes my hand on the mouse. I take a deep breath, close (but not delete) the e-mail and rise from the chair.

My head is spinning. My heart is heavy, but I know I made the right choice. On this proud day, I fought back my book-addiction demon.

Still tomorrow is another day, another test of my will. Who will win this battle, me, or those who tempt me with messages about that glorious time that comes but once a year, the After-Holiday 75 Percent Off Selected Books Sale that doesn’t end until Feb. 1.

Give me strength…