Saturday, September 16, 2006

Book Off

I was intrigued to read about "Book-off" coming to London - apparently the Japanese have taken to this chain of secondhand book superstores - where all the books are pre-"cleaned" to appeal to the hygiene-conscious Japanese. I'm a secondhand book addict, and yet it was only about 1997 that I started collecting - before then, perhaps because I had a good salary, and a legacy of a home life that said "new" was best, I hardly ever bought second-hand. It's hard to know whether its a good thing or not buying secondhand books, since obviously the author gets nothing for your troubles - but I'd argue, somewhat persuasively, that the majority of secondhand books I buy just aren't available elsewhere. Every town has a Waterstones, and you'd be hardpressed to find any surprises on their shelves - yet every secondhand bookshop, or charity shop can furnish unexpected gems. There's a couple of favourites here in south Manchester, but I can't resist hunting out secondhand shops wherever I am in the country; and though I'm pretty demanding about the condition, I might miss a bit of mustiness.

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