Monday, 19 April 2010

Charity Shop Win! Or was it a Fail…?

The plan was clear in my head as I entered the Red Cross shop in Lewisham. Go in, give them a box of books and get the hell out. No hanging around and certainly no looking at the bookshelves, this trip is all about getting rid of books after all. I was doing so well until I caught a glimpse of the bookshelves on the way out… and then I was lost. If that wasn’t bad enough they were doing a ‘two books for the price of one’ deal. Here’s what I ended up with (apologies on behalf of my camera phone as always),

I can see a theme developing on the blog over the next few weeks… :o)

It’s not often that I go into a charity shop and find books that look as if they wouldn’t be out of place on the shelves at Waterstones or some other high street bookstore. Charity shops are more often than not places where good books go to die, at least as far as I’ve seen. Books in a charity shop have maybe one or two reads left in them before the glue on the spine goes and the poor book starts shedding pages left right and centre. Or is this just the charity shops that I seem to find myself in? Who knows, the thing here is that I certainly wasn’t expecting to find books that looked brand new (as well as being books that I’d been after for a long while).

I’ve waxed (kind of) lyrical about my unexpected charity shop finds and it has to be one of the best book buying experiences doesn’t it? Going into a charity shop and finding a book that you’ve been looking for but were never expecting to find. How about you guys? What has been your ‘big find’ in a charity shop or second hand bookshop…? And is there a charity shop/second hand bookshop in London that you think I should be visiting? Comments please!


S.M.D. said...

Some of my best book buys have been at thrift stores and charity shops like the on you're talking about here. Seriously. You can find some awesome finds in these places. I picked up almost the entire set of 1st edition hardbacks of Peter Hamilton's space opera stuff for $1 USD each once (about $10 worth of books that would have cost me $150 or more elsewhere).

Great finds, by the way! I don't know if we'd get any Moorcock in the thrift stores in the U.S., but you definitely found some goodies!

Bets said...


Many of my books are from thrift stores and friends of the library sales... some are just barely readable, but I've found quite a few gorgeous hardcovers and coffee table books. It takes a lot of looking around, but I like shopping. :)

Anonymous said...

It is amazing what one can find in those shops! I forsee some good reading for you ahead.

I found pristine (you know that smell that a new book have; these had it) of US hardcover of Robin Hobb's Shaman's Crossing and The Forest Mage for $1.50 each at a used book sale for charity.



lee-tyke said...

terrific buy sir : ) im currently reading 'chronicles of corum' (2nd trilogy), got hawkmoon sat on my 'to read pile' and the other two you have there on my amazon 'wish list'.

I love charity shops me, specially oxfam bookshops. That edition of corum you got is up for £20 on amazon, I know cos i went for the cheaper 1982 falling apart edition cos im right poor me.
I will be checking up on what you think of them in weeks to come as ive made it my current mission to work my way thru moorcocks work (using a reading order guide found on his website) and am loving his stuff so far.
......ive yet to find any in charity shops though.....thank baby jesus for amazons used books : )

lee-tyke said...

When I lived in Eastbourne I regularly went to Brighton's Lanes where some of the best 2nd hand and charity bookshops can be found. I spent hours wandering round them occassionally stumbling upon a must-read book. I used to drive my mates mad by taking off and crouching behind bookselves scanning various titles.....
.... I would be like..."can we just pop in here, c'mon i will be 5 minutes I promise and then we can go to pub...."

Now I live in Barnsley in Yorkshire the pickings are not so rich. The charity shops are just full of the kind of populist stuff you find on the shelves of Asda.

Sorry for ranting, you mentioned something I love to do.....

Mike said...

Wow, I'm jealous Jennifer. I just picked up those books myself, new, and they cost me almost $30!

My happiest moment was tracking down a near perfect condition of Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant along with three other of his books that were in near mint condition. Around 100$ of out of print books for 10$, not a bad deal if I do say so myself.

Sadly I was quite put off used books once I located a book with a very flat dead mouse stored between the pages ~shudder~.