Opinion: Why secondhand books and brand new books should co-exist

At this time of year, the 'what to read this year', 'best of last year', 'top 100' kinds of book lists can be overwhelming. We believe that reading should be about picking up what sparks your interest, what makes you curious and what brings you joy. It doesn't have to be the latest bestseller if that doesn't appeal to you, but if it does that's also great. There are literally millions of books published each year, multiply that by the number of years since books were created - that's a lot of books to choose from. Whether a book was published two weeks ago or twenty years ago, it can bring just as much joy to the right person, so why separate them?

The quote, ' Any book you haven't read is a new book' sits proudly in our front window for a reason. Because we really believe it. Secondhand does not mean second rate. There can be just as much beauty in a secondhand book and infinite amounts of knowledge still relevant to share with the world. However, without brand new books being sold, there couldn't be any secondhand books. It's a circular economy that we feel should be encouraged in this age of climate change awareness. (The sustainability of current publishing processes is of course a much larger discussion to be had another day!)

Taking care of your books, whether you bought them brand new or secondhand, can really help preserve them to be read multiple times whether that's going to be by you or other future owners. I'm not just talking about rare or antiquarian books either. Your average bookshelf of paperbacks can still use some basic TLC. First and foremost, your books should be somewhere where the temperature is steady and it's not too humid. It doesn't take long for dust to settle along the tops of your books, wherever you keep them. Buying a cheap soft bristle paint brush to brush off the tops every so often will help stop it from sinking into the pages. If by some terrible accident your book pages or dust wrapper become torn, absolutely do not use sellotape to fix it. You can get archival tape that will do a much better job and not cause issues in the future.

That's not to say that every book can be or should be preserved forever. Some books just weren't made to last and do eventually become irrepairable. Some, like textbooks or encyclopedias, age quickly and become pretty much useless after the knowledge has been updated in further versions. Unless it's a first edition, groundbreaking text of course. If you have these kinds of books, we do strongly encourage you to take them somewhere to be properly recycled - most council waste disposal centres have specific book recycling nowadays. However, if you do happen to have a first edition of a groundbreaking text, get in touch! 

To enable us to to provide the widest range of books possible, it just makes sense to add new books to our already huge collection of secondhand, rare and antiquarian stock. Some previously out of print books get a renaissance, which means we can order you a new copy. Sometimes you just don't want an antiquarian, delicate to handle or expensive copy, so we can get you a modern edition and the text can still be shared at an accessible price. Sometimes you really do just want the latest bestseller and we can get that for you too. 

I suppose what I'm really saying is, we love ALL of the books and we want to be able to share as many as possible with all of you book lovers that come to visit us.