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Fossgate Books, York

posted on 04 Jan 2017

Fossgate Books, York

Fossgate used to be a thriving bookshop community until market forces and floods combined to slim down their numbers. Fortunately, Fossgate Books has survived and a trip there is well worthwhile.

It is, in many ways, a traditional second-hand shop – elderly premises that could always do with a bit more t.l.c. and very high ceilings that give a slight feeling of cavernousness; these places must be hellish expensive to keep warm. The shop is two stories high and the upstairs is accessed via a very steep stairwell which is fine going up but might be a little more difficult for the less nimble and nervous going down.

The stock covers the usual range of subjects and in terms of the kind of 20th century fiction and collectibles I’m interested in there is a very acceptable range of mid-priced first editions that aren’t especially rare but are well selected and presented. We found the weakest aspect of the stock selection to be the children’s books which are clearly not a specialism or interest – a small selection could be found upstairs near the front window but, in truth, if this is your area of interest you may well be disappointed.  

We were, however, surprised and delighted by the very big and impressive selection of Folio Books that the shop stocks as something of a specialism. There were plenty of titles here that we hadn’t seen before and they were all in tip-top condition. Personally, I think the Folio output is under-appreciated by book collectors in general and in recent times the firm has stepped-up its production of high quality titles - the fact that it commissions top illustrators for its books and that these are often exclusive to the Folio edition should make them more sought-after than they are. Fossgate Books has done a great job in pulling together a really outstanding selection and although the prices might be a little higher than you might have traditionally paid for this imprint, the quality of the books more than justifies this.

You’ll get a friendly but non-intrusive welcome and you wont find your access to the shelves inhibited by piles of books on the floor – this is a shop that gives you space to move. It would be a tragedy to lose another bookshop from Fossgate, so get along there whenever you can because I’m sure it will be worth your while.

 

Terry Potter

January 2016