I’ve been doing a fair bit of book shopping at opportunity shops recently. I think you call them good will stores in the USA, and charity shops in the United Kingdom.
You can get some interesting books, and you are giving someone a helping hand. Twice, if you donate the books back once you’ve read them.
The thing is, I have started to notice several patterns.
Firstly, there is the collection that has been donated. Grandma or Great Aunty Phyllis has passed on and no-one wants her entire collection of Barbara Cartland novels, so off to the local op shop they go. The same goes for Great Uncle Bert’s collection of westerns.
The month or so after Mother’s Day will see a rise in biographies and autobiographies of film stars and celebrity cookbooks. After Father’s Day the pattern repeats, but the books are biographies and autobiographies of sports stars and rock bands.
The New year sees a systematic dumping of the latest hot novels that have obviously been unwanted Christmas presents.
The main pattern, however, is one that shows just how much longevity some books have. I have seen the odd Harry Potter book in op shops, but the main stay seems to be Twilight. Every shop I’ve visited seems to have at least two copies of each of the novels. The largest shop had an entire book case of them! They obviously don’t bear re-reading by the hoards of fans who originally swarmed all over them. The same goes for the Fifty Shades series. The same large op shop had four shelves of various copies of that series. Buy it, read it, dump it.
Some authors though, are obviously well loved and collected. I rarely see Australian author Kerry Greenwood’s books. And I have NEVER seen any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. Some books are read until they fall apart and then new copies are purchased. I’ve never seen any Tolkien books either, most likely for similar reasons.
I have, from time to time, come across real gems. Odd books I’ve been looking for for ages, but have been unable to find. An odd little novel I’d heard about, but never seen, called “Sherlock in Love” turned up at one of my local op shops about three months ago. It’s sitting in my To Be Read Pile for future enjoyment.
A book I read many years ago by Rosemary Sutcliffe called “Flowers For Adonis” turned up in the same shop. That was snaffled for a re-read.
Even if you don’t buy much, it is lovely to browse and see what other people have passed on. The old saying of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is never more obvious than at op shops. If you are a reader and have an op shop or two in your area, pop in, you never know just what you will find. Me, I’m hoping for a copy of Dinah Lampitt’s “Pour the Dark Wine” in better condition than my poor old copy.