Foxed pages? Don’t you dare leave that thing here!

Every so often I go through ‘stuff’ and put together bags for charity of things I can’t sell or which will take too long to sell. I did a book purge recently and rocked up to my local Salvation Army shop with a car boot full and happily unloaded the boxes for inspection.

“We don’t take books,” the woman said sniffily.

“Eh? But you sell them!”

“Not books with brown spots on the paper. It could be mites or anything nasty. We only take books that look new. No charity shops take old books any more.”

Well bugger me. One of the delights of charity shops was finding that one book in the series you were missing, or spending 50c getting something from an author, perhaps a bit obscure, you hadn’t tried before, or finding something out of print you’d been wondering about.

Now that delight will fade. I have noticed charity shop bookshelves are getting less interesting than they used to be, full of recently published books read once and discarded. Rather like looking at a bookshop at any airport.

I don’t give a damn whether the books I buy have foxed pages. I’ve bought many on eBay and from second hand and charity shops that way. If I’m after a particular title I certainly don’t mind as they’re usually cheaper anyway.

Nobody will get my haul then, perhaps finding something interesting or crowing with delight over that missing book in the series. I’ll have to find some other way of moving it on.

I love books. Always have. So does my husband. In this house we have eight crammed bookshelves; we are both ‘re-readers’. We love poring through book sales, church fetes, second-hand bookstores and charity shop bookshelves. But I fear the delight will be minimal in future.

If something’s out of print in hard copy, it’s unlikely to be reissued in e-book. Thank heavens eBay and Gumtree don’t have rules about foxed pages!


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