This has been reblogged from the Trinity site. Having gone to so many the book shall be interesting reading!
Tag Archives: collecting
This wonderful event is on the 4th to 6th of March this year. Imagine living close to the event – more time spent ferrying new purchases home than browsing if it was me. As it stands I will be driving there and spending short trips to the car with rucksacks full of books.
To set the scene first – Trinity is in the middle of Dublin. Its portal opens on to the mad traffic close to the Quays, O’Connell street and the north side, Dame street and pedestrians coming and going to the shops in the Grafton street area. Generally anyone can step inside the college during the daytime. When you arrive at the doors they should be open so in you go. Inside the courtyards it starts to quieten. There may be people who try to get you to join a tour – up to you. The oldest building is facing you as you come into the first open square – a redbrick building I believe is called the “Rubrics”. Bring your flask and sandwiches and walk towards the building. It lies across your path so keep to the right and you pass the “Long Room” which is the old library. You enter on the right corner of another square behind the redbrick building so keep moving along on the right side till the grounds open up – for cricket and rugby mostly – on your right. You will find ornamental cherry trees and benches close by. Have a peaceful picnic in this oasis of calm with a book – a world away from the crowds. Peace is a wonderful thing to my mind.
Anyway – the book sale. It is held every year. Any book donations to the library during the year that are judged better sold than kept will be held for the annual sale. The dates vary but it starts on a Thursday evening with an auction for the most valuable objects – letters, signed copies, rare items, etc. The open sale begins Friday in a hall on the right as you come through the main entrance. People with boxes of books mark the way. Each book has a price on it and the books are laid out on sorted subject tables. A vast number of subjects are represented and books from all ages are there. My oldest purchase was a reprinted history book from 1804 – first printed in 1794. History started in 4004 BC and moved seamlessly forward to cover Biblical, Greek and Roman events before addressing more recent happenings. I believe the reprint was to change the words using the letter F as the letter S, with the actual letter S. Most such changes happened in print around that time, I believe. Saturday is my favourite – half price morning – everything is half price. At 2.10 pm that day they will sell off the remainder by the boxload for what ever price can be achieved. Each time I fill a rucksack I run a reality check to make sure I haven’t bought too many books. Considerations include not breaking the back axle of the car with the weight of books, not financially ruining my family, not buying books I may never read, etc. Pace myself and be brutal with choices – but I still need a rucksack.
My favourite sections are History, Travel, Hobbies (I got “How to Drive a Steamtrain” there), Fiction, Archaeology, Woodworking, Bookshelves and Libraries, Gardening, Buildings and everything else I find of interest (not being flippant but saving your time with my sometimes wild magpie choices list). As you become more involved in books you will see that not everyone judges the category of a book as you do. I got a beautiful book on the archaeology of Carthage with glorious illustrations once at that sale. It was in the Archaeology section, but it turns out the text was in French. I really must remember the pacing and brutality of choice thing. Some years are better than others and you may find too much, loads, or room to include the more fringe choices – its all down to the random donations during the year. Maybe I will see you there. I am looking forward to it.
Asking the question probably answers it to a certain extent. Its either do it or don’t. Making shelves for people in return for money is in theory easy. The issues are demand and supply. Firstly there needs to be the connection between people tripping across piles of books and getting shelves to solve this problem. Secondly there is the idea of the shelf. Primarily it should be furniture. My reasoning for this is it is the best return on investment. Anything stuck to the wall can not be rearranged and if removed leaves holes. Holes in any wall are not viewed as a positive feature and doubly so if the property is rented or you are thinking of moving on in the future. Shelves as furniture are an asset. They look well and if made well, they last well. They can be rearranged, moved, sold or given to someone who will appreciate good quality. On the supply side there are numerous sets of shelves and bookcases out there. The issues there are value for money too. You shouldn’t need a mortgage, nor should you be forced to buy low cost kits that after the slightest damage turn out to be temporary.
Reading Pratchett I find I agree with the character Vimes when he looks at the price and quality of boots. The rich pay 150 for a pair of boots that are waterproof and last for 4 – 5 years. The poor buy boots that cost 40 and leak almost straight away and buy a pair each year. So the poor pay more and still have wet feet. Good quality shelves or bookcases are in the same category. They look well and keep the books well. They last well and tag along with you through life. They are worth something if you want to sell them. I like value for money – either getting it or giving it, but I am living in a society where a company pays more for advertising than manufacture. Needs more thought.
I looked about on the net recently.
There seems a distinct disconnect between selling books and selling bookshelves. We have book supermarkets, bookshops and online traders. The online traders seem to have the closest relationship and have sections to sell shelves, yet there is seems quite poor uptake – ebay had no bids on any of their shelves listings that I looked at.
People do seem to get as far as books and leave it at that. I find it amazing. Why not pile the shopping in one corner and clothes in another?
It occurs to me that a closer link, done correctly might work, but the sellers and others may have to help people to see that books are more like food than shoes.