In the 1970s, the decade in which I first attempted to grow up, books were expensive commodities. There was a thing back then called the Net Book Agreement, which forbade bookshops from offering any books at discounted rates or from attempting to secure discounts from publishers. The NBA was a Victorian invention, mostly benign in its effects in that it protected book publishers from the full frenzy of the marketplace (Amazon, I’m looking at you). But it did mean that books, for the teenaged me, were far from being pocket money commodities. I mostly relied on the public libraries of Walton, Liverpool, to keep my reading habit supplied.