Voices from the past

Voices from the past.

Voices from the past survive in the memory of old books. Many of these books are not valued by book collectors but to the mythographologist they are priceless. Sadly, our contemporary culture, rooted in voracious consumer exploitation and viscous redundancy of purpose, old books are rarely seen as being worth preserving.

I collect old books. Some in my library are nearly 400 years old, a few are three hundred years old, there are quite a lot which are two hundred years old and in the main everything is older than 100 years.

The first thought that would strike most people is that collecting old books is an expensive hobby and that my collection must be quite valuable.

I am sorry to disappoint you all but, other than a few exceptions, I have picked up these books for £2 or less.

The most I have paid for a book was £20 and that was, for me, a real gem.

The truth is that most of these books would have gone to landfill if I hadn’t bought them. They have no real financial value. You may ask why.

The answer is quite simple and easily understood; people who collect books for their value are looking for top condition, well-known authors or titles and first editions or rarity.

Frontispiece of 1852 book Domestic Medicine and Household Surgery

They are collecting an asset, they are investing, they are interested in money more than they are interested in the content.

My collection is all about the content, what is actually in the book and the value I attribute to the information it contains. I can say quite honestly that I have read all of my books.

For me, the act of buying is not about owning but about knowing. I am in it for the knowledge.

Again, you could ask another question; “Why bother when you can Google to search for anything you want to know?”

The answer to that question will be found in the video.