This weekend I was taken to a place that is dangerous to time, space and wallet: Barter Books in Northumberland. It is a large Victorian railway station that has been converted into a dog-friendly second-hand bookshop, with café and reading places. There is a mural and other paintings, with a lively 2inch gauge railway whizzing about overhead. The smell of bacon sandwiches and fresh coffee drift through the building distracting, momentarily, from the wall-to-wall view of books.
The household, who visited alone and kept very quiet about their purchases, returned a day later with me and spent most of the time gently but firmly directing me through the shelving. No matter where we sat we were in line of sight of something I wanted to look at.
I was very good. I only left with one basketful. The pile of Giles Annuals for £3.60 each stayed where they were. The first edition hardback Pratchetts did not.
(I keep worrying that I haven’t seen my three signed Pratchetts for a while – I’ve only seen two. I really hope the third didn’t go to charity, but I did check them all first).
It’s possible to buy online and have things posted. They only catalogue about 10% of their stock, but take emails and phonecalls from which they actually go and check a shelf.
They also buy books to sell on – shall have to have a think about what to send. Such things should be encouraged!