Inspiring Older Readers
Books For Amnesty, Malvern
The Amnesty International book shop in Malvern is one of those delightful, unexpected gems. Situated towards the top of Edith Walk - just above The Theatre of Small Convenience (look that one up!) - the shop is quite modest in size but it's crammed to the gunwales with interesting stock. Although it's packed it isn't ramshackle and that's a tribute to the dedicated volunteers who work hard to keep the shelves tidy, in good order and well stocked.
I go frequently because the turnover of stock is pretty brisk and there seems to be a good system in place for weeding out stuff that just isn't shifting. One of the reasons that stock moves on quickly is the pricing policy which is very sensible and almost all the books are a bargain. In my view too many charity, donation-based shops have totally unrealistic ideas about what they can get for their books (are you reading this Oxfam!?) but Books For Amnesty seem committed to keeping it real.
The shop is, of course, completely dependent on donated stock and so not only is quality a bit random but the overall balance of subjects they get tends to reflect the interests of the local community. The sections dedicated to biography and social or natural history tend to be, in view, the strongest. The poetry section is a bit lack-lustre and the classics are also a bit thin - you'll find decent reading copies of Dickens et al but in my experience so far nothing very exciting.
The shop does also trade on the internet and I get the impression that they go carefully through their donations and try to sell the collectible stuff on line. However, I think that if books aren't selling they get re-priced and put into the collectible shelves right at the front of the shop - and this is where modest but titillating little gems can sometimes be found.
I love the very professional approach Amnesty takes to selling its books and I also like the fact that they don't make it a stuffy or self-regarding experience. It's a shop well worth a Saturday afternoon visit and while you're at it you can take a look in the other bookshops and charity shops in the town - I doubt it will be a wasted journey.