I like old books. You knew that already.
And, seeing as how I [for bibliophiles of a nervous disposition ... you may want to look away now ...] yes, seeing as how I cut up so many of them to create my Plundered Pages vintage paper packs, I need a constant new supply of interesting pages to plunder.
And, in my frequent searches for such papery treasure - in shops, sales, markets etc wherever I find myself at any given moment - I've found: beautiful books; familiar books; battered books; overpriced books; even under priced books, but rarely if ever[outside of my own loft] have I found ... FREE BOOKS.
Until a fortnight ago ...
We were walking along a high street when I spotted the 'Books For Free' shop. A shop I actually remembered seeing before but which I'd never really taken notice of because really ... as your Grandmother would tell you ... you get nothing for nothing in this life.
Except in this case, it turns out that you do!
|The cover of one of the lovely illustrated books I chose - for free - from the Books for Free shop!|
So, I wanted to 'pay it forward' and share this fortunate phenomenon with you here.
Here's how they describe themselves in the 'Books for Free' section of the Healthy Planet website [they're who set up the shops]
So yes they rescue books from landfill and then allow you take 3 home with you per visit. For free.
'Free' free. For nothing. Nought. Gratis. Free!
Simple as that!
In fact, the hardest parts of the experience for me were:
- trying to decide which 3 to salvage and scurry home with [I still don't think I believed they could really be for free until I walked out the door with them.]
- trying to nonchalantly scour the childrens' book shelf while hoping the little girl doing the same didn't reach for the titles I wanted. [I'm guessing it would've be frowned upon for me to wrestle her to the ground and yank it from her tiny grip.]
- watching the staff stamp the company logo / website details into the front of each book I took. I winced when I saw the green inky mark defiling the illustrated pages!!! I know I cut up books - but I do so purely so someone else gets to enjoy the images later. Seeing them stamped pained me!
- And finally ... it was incredibly hard to leave behind so many interesting books! They weren't the usual charity shop fodder ... there were many ex-library books in odd and fascinating categories. Lots of wonderful pages you just don't find very often. So much so I considered paying any passing child to go in and get me 3 more ... [which I didn't do btw!].
Now ... please don't shoot the messenger ... but it seems - from their shop location list + map - that, other than one in Wales, there aren't any Books for Free centres outside England.
Sorry about that! But they do seem to be expanding ... so you never know.
If you manage to find your nearest centre, and come home with a haul of your own I'd love to hear about it! Or maybe you've already been to one - in which case ... wow ... you kept that to yourself didn't you? ;-)
Call me an altruistic soul, call me a vintage-book evangelist, call me a hopeless business woman but ...
I know it may seem poor business sense for me to sell vintage paper packs ... then go and tell you all about where to get some for free ... but the thing is I really, really, believe in rescuing old books from long-abandoned dusty shelves and giving them a new lease of life - whatever form that takes.
And, by sharing this with you: I'm happy, the landfills are happy, the old books are happy ... and hopefully you're happy too! And what better reasons do I need?!