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Second-hand Book Stores

Tips and Tricks

Second-hand bookshops are mines of information. Burrow into the basements. Or better still think of it as a hunting trip to track down a rare species. Be David Attenborough for a day.

Very few bookshops seem to have a section given over to Mythology, so the Godly tomes you seek can be hiding in dense thickets of Theology, or fluttering about in Folklore or artfully camouflaged in amongst the Art books. You should also cast your nets and set traps in areas devoted to Archeology, Geography, History, Reference, Travel. Even Spirituality and Cosmology. Keep away from Mills & Boon or any shelf containing a book by Jeffrey Archer.

Charity shops and thrift stores are terrific as there is usually only one bookcase. 40% of these will be devoted to Cookery and Gardening. Then there will be lots of paperbacks you can skim through in a flash, as you will mostly be looking for hardbacks and large format books. There won't be too many of these apart from the Guinness Book of Records, but who knows, there may be Knit Yourself A Cuddly God in the Crafts section, or Aztecs From Outer Space next to a children's annual.

Libraries often have sales. I know someone who picked up a brilliant book for a mere 10 pennies. One which had cost me ten quid second hand. Then of course you may have a good reference department in your local library. Sadly I have far more and better books than my nearest town library.