————- The Book (R)evolution ———–
Books: the printed text on packs of paper fitted into paper covers which were predicted to have become extinct by now.
Well, looks like that prediction was wrong.
So, so wrong.
The rise of the ebook and the ebook reader meant that people were beginning to question the worth of the actual physical book. An ebook was cheaper and much more practical when travelling (because let’s face it, you just can’t carry a 700-page novel on a hike. Or you can, but it won’t do you any favours). Soon, Kindles were all you saw on Amazon, and book sales dropped dramatically.
Those were dark times.
But then something changed, or rather, grew to such a scale that it became all the more evident: people missed the feel of ruffling through paper pages, the sight of an ever-growing library as opposed to a digital one on an ebook reader. They wanted the real, old-fashioned book back, just as people today are turning back to vinyl records. The countless tea spills on pages was disregarded.
The book has made a dramatic entrance once again into the homes of book lovers everywhere. Publishers are taking care to produce beautiful, good quality hardbacks and paperbacks, and, after neglecting the book’s actual design for so long, have taken old and new tales and published them in gorgeous editions. These books have become so aesthetically pleasing that the world has created an online appreciation for them, with the grand trend known as #bookstagram (have a look at it on Google Images).
———- Lovely Libraries and Vintage Books ———
Having shelves lined with dozens of books was an essential part of every household in the past (having an entire room, a library, was more common than not). It was a form of expression, perhaps, as well as a place of reference and relaxation (no Internet, no problem). Even in this day and age I believe I’d feel lost without my collection of books nestled together upon my shelves, and I believe many feel the same way. Having a bookshelf in a room is a pleasure for many reasons. The obvious one is, of course, the access to hundreds of alternate worlds and realities, but the less obvious one is the aesthetics, especially when they are rare editions or vintage fabric-covered hardbacks.
Digging around in old book sales is the perfect way to unearth such treasures. You never know what you might come across: the first ever edition of your favourite classic, a letter tucked away in the pages of an encyclopedia … My aunt had once discovered my grandfather’s grandfather’s school book (she recognised the name scrawled inside) – a really lovely surprise.
I’ve stumbled upon one of those fabric-covered hardback editions of ‘I Capture the Castle’ with its title printed in gold on its spine, as well as tiny editions of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Othello’, the latter of which must have been an old school book because tiny handwritten side notes can be found on every other page.
Where to Find Vintage Books
Before I give any suggestions, please note that I am not writing this to advertise any businesses / places. I’m only sharing places I know and enjoy going to.
If you’re after the really old editions dating back to decades upon decades ago, pay a visit to church sales. Some ideas in Malta:
- St. Patrick’s Church in Sliema usually holds a big book sale a couple of times a year, so look out for any flyers.
- The Anglican Church in Rudolph Street, Sliema, has a little bazaar full of vintage books as well as old jewelry and other things. Everything there is free, but they appreciate a donation (although it is not compulsory).
Deja Vu Books & Stationary in Swieqi used to house some lovely second-hand books and was a true gem, though has shut its doors and no longer exists. They did a fantastic job at brightening the world of reading in Malta, and it’s a shame they’ve closed down.
Tips When Buying Vintage Books
- Look out for bookworm.
Seriously. Take care to spot any pinprick sized holes in pages before you take the book home and infect your entire shelf.
- Have a look inside the cover.
Maybe it’s signed by the author, or the name of the previous owner is one you recognise.
- Pick up all the ones you love.
I probably sound a bit ridiculous writing such an obvious statement, but it’s a horrible feeling to regret not getting one you had really liked, because in all likely hood you’re not going to come across it again.
I hope that you enjoyed this post, and really encourage you to pop into the places I mentioned above. It’s a real treat, I promise 🙂