I’ve been wondering for a long time why the range of second-hand books in most charity shops is so restricted. I rarely see paperbacks more than a few years old, hardbacks ditto (and they all have dustjackets). Where are the paperbacks from the 1930s to 1980s? Where are the hardback novels of the 1950s to 1980s?
In Vitalise the other day I found an almost closed box of books. I only had a quick look because we were running late to pick up the M, but I found a lovely copy of East Lynne and another 19thc novel. I’ll put images up when I have a moment. They also had some non-dustjacketed hardbacks from the 1970s and some paperbacks from the 1970s-1980s, all in good condition. I took my haul to the counter where the assistant was baffled because the books had no prices on them. Another assistant explained to her that these were from the box left out for recycling.
It made me wonder how many books are just pulped by charity shops – so I’ve emailed Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Marie Curie, Barnado’s, Cancer Research, The Children’s Society, Vitalise, Age Concern, Help the Aged, PDSA, Scope and Tenovus. Will update this site with any responses.