There are 10,500 charity shops in the UK supporting loads of different charities from Shelter to RSPCA, these shops bringing in £110 million a year for their charities. It’s a huge way to support an organisation of your choice and spoil yourself at the same time, and what better way to spoil yourself than with books.
Charity shops offer a really good range of books and because of the way they take in donations it means that their stock is constantly changing. This is also good because you often find new loves, new genres you never considered and authors you never even knew existed. Personally I enjoy collecting picture books and charity shops are perfect as they’re normally very inexpensive and in good condition, allowing me to indulge this hobby while saving money for more expensive novels.
The concept of charity shops have been around since the 19th century, raising billions in that time to help lots of people, animals and organizations. As well as helping the charity it’s also hugely beneficial to the environment. Charity stop so many things going to the landfill, clothes, household items and books are given a second chance to be loved by someone instead of rotting away on a landfill where they’ll just become a problems for years to come.
It also rewarding, you’re helping so many people in so many ways with just a couple of quid. A charity will use that money to help and the people working at the charity shop get experience and the chance to socialise. Volunteering has been shown to help people build confidence and have a greater sense of well being as well as allowing people to gain experience, all this without the stress of having to meet targets.
On top of helping people their products are really well priced and often in good condition. Now like with any second-hand book they’re not Waterstones quality, often with marks on the cover and their spines cracked, but I always feel like this adds character to a book. My favorite is when you find writing inside a book or a bookmark long forgotten.
Charity shops always offer a wide variety of books and are often sorted into childrens, young adult, adult and non-fiction. This of course makes it a lot more easy to find what you’re looking for but make sure you look through all sections, you never know what gems you may find. They’re also getting new stock all the time, as soon as books come in they are priced up and put out on the shop floor when space is available. Building up a good relationship with your local charity shop helps to, if you get to know them and they get to know what you like they’re often more than willing to hold onto books they know you’re interested in.
Books are always really well priced too, often with deals offering two books for £1 and sometimes even less than that for individual books. I went to a British heart foundation shop today and managed to get 5 books for £3.
I also wanted to share some tips with you to make sure you get the best experience out of your charity shop trips.
My first bit of advice it honestly from my own stupidity, know what books are on your bookshelf already! It may seem like such a simple thing but this had been my downfall so many times! I actually already own Mockingjay, one of the books I got today. I have made this exact same mistake twice now! This is as simple as using the goodread app to keep track of what books you own or having a written list of books. Maybe even taking a photo of your books before you leave. There’s so many options so you don’t make the same mistakes I do.
Tip two is don’t be shy. Books are often piled up and need to be searched through, especially children’s books. So just get in there, like a pig in….
As I said before, building up a good relationship with the volunteers works. Talk to them about what you like and they will be happy to keep an eye out.
Finally make sure you look make the trip to the shop often, once a week is good. They change their stock often so you’ll always come away with something.
Charity shops are a really important part of the community, offering so many people help and relief, the fact that they also offer book lovers a place to feed their addictions without breaking the bank is an amazing added extra.
Check out my last post!