The Virtual Gardener Dec 1996

An On-Line Bookstore

Like many people at this time of the year, I'm shopping for a few last minute Christmas gifts. As an avid reader, I almost always include a book or two among the gifts I give. A fun place to get ideas for book gifts is the on-line bookstore at You don't have to buy a book there to enjoy the Website and get lots of help in finding just the right book for that special person on your list.

This virtual bookstore boasts over a million titles and the beauty of it is that you can search for books by subject, title, or author just like in a library. Searches are fast and result in a list of books that meet your search criteria. For example, searching on the subject, "xeriscaping" brought up the following titles:

* Dry Climate Gardening With Succulents: The Huntington Botanical Gardens (The American Garden Guides); Debra Brown Folsom, et al

* The Dry Garden, Beth Chatto

* The Dry Garden : A Practical Guide to Planning & Planting (Wayside Gardens Collection) Mark Rumary, John E. Elsley

* Shade and Color With Water-Conserving Plants, James E. Walters, Balbir Backhaus

* The Xeriscape Flower Gardener: A Waterwise Guide for the Rocky Mountain Region, Jim Knopf

* Xeriscape Gardening: Water Conservation for the American Landscape-, Connie Lockhart Ellefson, et al

* Xeriscape Plant Guide, Rob Proctor, et al

* Southwestern Landscaping That Saves Energy and Water/Extension Publication, No 8929; E. Gregory McPherson, Charles Sacamano

* Xeriscaping for Florida Homes-, Monica Moran Brandies

In addition to a simple list of titles and authors, you also get information on the type of publication (hardcover or paperback), the price, the name of the publisher, the date of publication, the ISBN, and sometimes even a review of the book. One of the most interesting features of this bookstore is that it gives customers the ability to express their opinions about books they have read and have them displayed for other shoppers to read. Opinions can range from a simple, "loved it," or "hated it" to a full-fledged book review. If a shopper-written book review is selected as a winner in the ongoing Book Recommendation Contest, the author can even win a prize. Book authors and publishers are also given space to comment on reader reviews, providing a forum for spirited discussion.

Gary Gruenhagen
December, 1996