We are of course very grateful to anyone who thinks of bringing their books to a charity bookshop.
Did you hear the ‘but’ coming.
The thing is that emptying those damp cardboard boxes from your garage or attic into our shop is not really such a great gift.
If your books are brown and falling apart no one wants to buy them so I will spend my time filling large, heavy, yellow sacks to be sent to be recycled.
To be blunt, we don’t care whether they are fine examples of English literature – if they are in rubbish condition we can’t sell them, so away they go.
When I first started as a volunteer, I was very reluctant to throw good books away. I had learned early on to regard book ‘burning’ as a very bad business indeed. One day, one day, they would be stars on Antiques Roadshow and before that they would inspire a child into being an author, or I could remember reading them and loving that story and anyway they are books …. so on and so on.
Now, I am sorry to admit, they just get yellow-sacked and I have to say I relish the tidiness of the storerooms when they are clear of yellow sacks and crappy books.
And even in good condition, I am afraid there are some we just don’t want.
If I never see another Jeremy Clarkson book it will be too soon.
(Personally, I think the man should be gagged and forcibly removed to an uninhabited island with no vehicles. I do realise there are people out there, living freely in society, who find him refreshingly funny and direct. But for anyone who does not fall into that category and are therefore not an idiot, could you stop buying Clarkson books for males in the family who you don’t have any other earthly idea what to buy for Christmas. Buy a Victorian stuffed owl, a train ticket to Bournemouth, a pair of socks from the 99p Shop, anything but a Clarkson book because it will, surely as eggs is eggs, it will end up in a innocent and hapless charity bookshop.)
Likewise, Michael Palin – no, no , he is a nice chap I gather, but there are a lot of his books in the charity circuit and they just don’t sell. Sorry Mr Palin but we don’t need any more Pole to Poles or New Europeans.
Dated cookery books. No thanks. No one want to have 365 Microwave Recipes or 100 Ways with Pasta (1980) . Or cookery books based on out of fashion diets ( and there are a lot of fads in diets, we see them all). Mrs Beeton unless a really early edition and not, please, held together by sellotape.
Delete as applicable for gardening books.
(These rules do not apply to classics of the genre but they are rarer. Keith Floyd, yes please. Fanny Craddock for humour value…..and vintage for novelty value though who these days who poaches chicken and puts into gelatine?)
And finally, or at least for now. We have to work very hard to smile nicely when someone pulls up, opens their boot and says breezily, ‘I have brought you a load of books. I’d like the bags/boxes/crates back.’
I say,’Thanks so much, that is brilliant. It is just near closing time, so could you possibly collect your bags/crates/boxes in a day or two.’
They say,’Oh no, sorry, I need them now. They have just come out of our garage and we have a lot more to clear so we will be back with more!’