posted on Sep, 26 2016 @ 05:08 AM
a reply to: halfoldman
After haunting second-hand bookshops for at least forty years, I have a number of examples on my shelves.
I'm currently in the middle of re-reading my way through an 18th-century edition of the Spectator, eight volumes in octavo. That cost me £50. It
occurred to me at the time that this was cheaper than eight modern paperbacks of the same size would have been.
I once picked up a copy of William Law's "Serious Call". It was in the new section of the shop, but it had been sitting neglected on the shelves for
so long that it was still priced in "old money"- that is, the pre-decimal British currency. The price was marked as six shillings, I think. Inflation
had made this a trivial sum in decimal money, but the proprietor just resigned himself to saying "I suppose that's what we'll have to charge".
One reason for bargains is that bookshops tend to set prices for book collectors
rather than book readers. Books that are signed, or first
edition, or in good condition, are given premium prices, and those that don't meet those standards are marked down. I once picked up for ten pence a
full copy of the Canterbury Tales, because it was "1 volume of incomplete set" (Chaucer's works, I suppose) and the front cover was missing. It had
all the words, though.
Another is that charity shops in this country, especially Oxfam, have expanded their operations from clothes to books. They have been undercutting the
market and driving the traditonal second-hand shops out of business. They don't need high prices to make a profit, and the volunteer staff don't know
enough about books to recognise the ones which could command higher prices. That's how I was able to get hold of Winston Churchill's "World Crisis",
in two volumes. I had seen it marked as £80 or more in a traditional shop, but Oxfam only charged me £10.
edit on 26-9-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)