There really is an ideal old book for everyone – well, almost everyone!  Granted, some will snub anything old.  But here are some tips that will help you find an original and hopefully liked present for the upcoming Holiday season.

Joan Fontbernat at Pergam Llibres, Barcelona
Joan Fontbernat at Pergam Llibres, Barcelona


For children
Old children’s books are beautifully designed and make your child discover old stories that maybe their grandparents had read.  It is a nice way of bringing the whole family together beyond Christmas.  Joan Fontbernat from Pèrgam Llibres, adds “Some parents have also discovered they can teach their children respect for old things and the importance of maintenance.”  Rather than just recycling, preserving is an important way of reducing waste.

For the geek
Specialist books (be it antique or second-hand) are ideal presents for those into a specific topic.  You don’t need to find a specific bookshop, but find out what is available on the topic you are looking for.  “We specialise on history and geography books even if we stock a large number of books on other topics”, explains Joan. “A client was in search of a present for a fan of all things naval.  We were able to provide a book on naval history that was a great success”.

For the family
Don’t think that books are for individual consumption.  Some antique books are real jewels for the family to enjoy and display, for instance as a coffee table top book. Browsing second-hand books may also bring some beautiful findings.  There are photography, architecture and even map books that will make ideal presents for a house-warming party, Christmas or even when you don’t know all the household members well enough.

For the modern
The hipster in your life will no doubt appreciate a well-searched real book.  There is nothing trendier than good, old paper.  Here, the quality of the book may not be as important as the fact that you have searched for that special, unique gift amongst a set of books that not many people know about.

For the traditional
“This is a difficult one”, says Joan. “Many ‘traditional’ readers may frown if offered a ‘used’ book”.  Here is where providing information to the staff at the shop will be invaluable help to discover a present that will not be frowned upon.  “You want something that will be kept and, ideally, treasured by the recipient.  It has to reflect the personality of the giver but, mainly, please the person receiving it.  One of our clients was looking for such a present and we were able to find a map of their friend’s home country in the XVIII century which, conveniently framed, was a superb present”.

For the avid learner
Getting a second-hand book in another language may be a good way of polishing your language skills. Finding a novel that is not exactly new may be impossible in a bookshop, but you can obtain it in a second-hand shop.  “Many a client has practiced their English with some of our second-hand books in English” certifies Joan. “There are books that not many wish to purchase new, as they will only read them once – and they may not be available at your usual bookstore if they are not very recent”.  If you cannot think how your target would appreciate an old book, just turn to the human being behind the counter whose knowledge and recommendations will be invaluable.

And just imagine the pleasure of popping into a shop that is not crowded in that Christmas shopping craze!

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