Some books are irreplaceable. Whether it’s a childhood favourite, a prized gift or a special edition, life without a particular copy of a great book would be a little greyer for many.
So the big question is: what book couldn’t you be without?
Each book invariably has its own tale to tell, and not just within its pages. They all start life in pristine condition, with a lovely scent and entirely unthumbed. Over time, this lustre fades. Scuffs, tears and discolouration take hold. But this loss of perfection only serves to add character.
Invariably, most favourites have some age to them. There are those that have been around for a few years, while others have seen centuries come and go. Often their true value is unique to one person – you.
As mentioned, you may have personally secured a signed version of a favourite book. While the story is special, the added message makes it unique.
But equally, you could just have picked up a book on a whim at a flea market with no apparent significance.
Of course there are numerous reasons for why a book becomes irreplaceable; indeed, too many to possibly list. More often than not, it is an entirely personal thing. You could show ten people and nine would think it was worthless. That’s the nature of books as a whole.
At World of Books, we sell thousands of second-hand books every day – indeed, as you may have recently read, one is sold every six seconds. Every single one of them has a story to tell and a past. Some may have already had a number of owners, but all have had at least one.
It’s not entirely inconceivable that one or two have passed through royal palaces, celebrity mansions and crossed every continent or climbed Everest (as unlikely as that may be). Others will have had one careful owner. Of course that is part of the allure of used books – you just never know.
But if you’ve taken your dog-eared copy of Ulysses everywhere with you, then you can create your own history. It may have survived fire, floods and half a dozen house moves. Indeed, that might be why it is special; not because of any intrinsic value, but because of a sentimental bond.
So share your story and what it is that makes your favourite book irreplaceable. From the weird and the wonderful to the stunningly conventional, we’d love to hear your tales.