Sunday, 27 October 2013

There were boxes

and boxes and more boxes and then some bags -all filled with books.
Our living area was literally knee deep in books for some weeks. There was a shed somewhere with more books. There were books stored in the rectory. There were books in the church hall.  And yes, "Cat will run the book stall, won't she?"
I weakly agreed. After all, according to the Senior Cat, the average age of the congregation has to be at least 80. The last time they did a big event like that was about fourteen or fifteen years ago - and yes, I did the same thing then.
On that occasion the book stall was outside under an awning and I think we actually had less books. I only remember two trestle tables sagging under the weight of books. This time there were three trestle tables and they already had too many books on them when we lined books up on the floor and there were more books in boxes.
After consultation with the organisers we made them cheap. Most of those sold will be used as holiday reading and then passed on to yet another charity shop or left for Book Crossing or some such.
There was also the inevitable pile of cookbooks - many looking unused - and a lot of them sold. There were "coffee table" books and travelogues, old travel guides and seemingly endless "airport" type novels. There were very few children's books. I did not buy any that were there.  
I came across just one book of slightly greater value. It has long been out of print. I talked to a book dealer I knew and she gave me an excellent price for it. I also offered her the opportunity to go through the books before the sale because I knew that she would only buy a very few from us but she would give us more than I could ask at the Bazaar. And, she did.

I have mixed feelings about all of this. I have a rule that I do not buy a second hand book unless it is not possible to buy it new. I would love to buy cheap second hand books but authors do not get paid anything unless you buy the book new. So a book has to be out of print before I will buy it. Yes, there is a possibility that it will be reprinted but, more often than not, it is not going to happen. It is the best I can do. 
I have a large collection of second-hand children's books bought that way. There was and is a second reason for doing that. Libraries cannot keep as many good books for children as they should be able to do. The space is simply not there. I feel that children should be able to read some books if they are keen readers and want to do so. The Whirlwind has read almost every book I own and some of her friends have read many of them as well. Their current English teacher has been delighted by how many books they have read and encouraged them to continue talking with me about them.
So yes, books should be passed on. The money will go to a good cause and people will read more. I just wish the authors could be paid too.
And so, we sold books yesterday. We sold boxes and bags of books. We had other dealers of course but we also had people who pounced on things and said, "Must read that" or "That looks good" or "That's one I haven't read."
And people left 50 shades of (yes, there was a copy). They left almost a metre of Mills and Boon but no doubt someone will read them somewhere. I thought the few teenagers might want the first twilight book but, like the Whirlwind, they went for other things.
The Whirlwind has two more books on her overloaded shelves. Her father has seven, the Senior Cat has seven.
Oh yes, perhaps recycling is a good thing if it means people are reading...but I do wish the authors got paid when it happens.


Helen Devries said...

I'm afraid I can't resist a book sale...especially when English language books are rare here - at least rare for my interests - and the second hand outlets are exploitative.
I do see the worry about authors' payment....but cannot see a solution.

catdownunder said...

Ah Helen I think you have a good excuse - how can you possibly get books to read at a price you can afford in your part of the world without attending such sales?