Barter Books, Alnwick, Northumberland

We decided to visit Alnwick (pronounced Annick) because it said in my AA Guide Book of Britain that it was worth a visit and as we weren’t far from it we decided to go. As we were driving in we noticed a sign for Barter Books and we did swither a bit before deciding to visit it because as my husband said – I’m not supposed to be buying any books because I have so many unread ones at the moment, and he isn’t any better.

In the end, we couldn’t resist it, especially when we saw that the shop is actually what was the Alnwick railway station building. I love these old buildings, in fact I’d like to live in one. Sadly the station was closed in 1968 – a victim of the scandalous rape of our once great railway system – by Dr Beeching.

The building is really big inside and does have an enormous amount of books so I thought it was going to be really difficult to not buy a load of books. That was before I saw the price tags on them. This is without doubt the most expensive bookshop that I have ever been in. According to their pricing policy, we aren’t only rich in literature but also monetarily. We have lots of the exact editions which they were selling for often eye-watering prices.

They didn’t mind us taking some photographs though and it is just as well that this is a back view of me, so you can’t see the incredulous look on my face.

Who would pay £16 for a Penguin vintage crime REPRINT ? The starting price for most books was £9.60. Remember The Chalet School series by Elinor M Brent-Dyer? Tatty hardback copies of them were priced at £26. I came home from school one day to discover that my mum had decided that I had grown out of my books and she had given them all away, so I don’t have any of them now, grrr.

Anyway it’s the first time in ages that we’ve managed to get out of a bookshop sans books.

As you can see, they have stuck with the railway theme with trains travelling around the shop above the top shelves, which is a nice touch. It also seems to be the place where they discovered that wartime poster ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ which is being reproduced all over the place now.

The trouble with me is that I think it’s quite obscene that books have a value other than their contents. I don’t know why really because I’m quite happy for other things to have a collectors value.

We recently discovered, quite by chance that one of our books has quite a high re-sale value and now I just worry about it getting damaged as it is pristine, so I won’t read it now, unless I buy a cheap new edition. It’s crazy.