Book looting

Some time ago, an item appeared on the local news. The lease on a warehouse full of books had expired and the company had disappeared, leaving it full of books. The landlords were inviting the locals to come and remove any they pleased.

This sounded like something not to be missed. I have never looted before, although this was sanctioned looting so not quite the same thing. It was a depressing sight. I went on the second day. On the first day people had taken most of the shelves, discarding piles and piles of books into mountains on the floor.

Interesting dilemma: Can I tread on books? Even to get to other, better books? I overcame my scruples and did some scrambling to get a couple of gems I spotted.

I was hampered by a couple of things from making the most of this opportunity. First, I had Rusk in his pushchair with me. In order to make this less of a problem, I had brought two bookloving friends with me who had promised to take it in turns with me to mind him while the other two of us scavenged. This meant, however, that there were 3 people plus Rusk & pushchair to fit in the (quite compact) car before we even started to fit books in.

Nonetheless, the loot was worth it. I ended up with I think about 16 books. Some (Penmarric by Susan Howatch) I had been looking for, some I had wondered about and decided not to spend money on (Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab, The Rotter’s Club by Jonathan Coe) and some completely new to me.

It was a bizarre environment. It was quiet, like a public library. People were concentrating hard. One guy (a book dealer?) had driven his transit van in and was stuffing it full. Others had brought suitcases. There were quite a few mums with pushchairs. Some were carrying the baby, while the pushchair was stuffed with books.

All in all a very weird day. Thinking back (this was now a few months ago), I still don’t feel quite right about the whole thing – not sure why. Nearly all the looted books that I have read have gone back into the system now via local charity shops.

4 thoughts on “Book looting

  1. There is something v. depressing about benefitting from that kind of thing I know. Last couple of years I have benefitted from a couple of closing down sales which made me feel v. sad.

  2. It is strange isn’t it. A related dept in my uni had a similar thing when it had a clearout, but it put books in particular price categories – this table 50p, over there £1 – and had an honesty box for you to leave the money. I felt much better about that, though I did wonder how many people actually used the honesty box or if they just took what they wanted.

  3. I can understand the conflicts, but they brought you joy — hurrah for that. And, through your passing on to charity shops, they will bring others joy too.

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