Whenever I find myself in a thrift store, I check out their book section. There are five thrift stores in our area that are great to visit, and two of them have netted me some astoundingly inexpensive reading material. Some books are in pristine condition, with that never-been-read look about them. Others are in “loved” condition, with evidence of having been read many, many times before being donated. But a few weeks ago I discovered a third type of thrift store book: the mutilated book.
I had actually been on the hunt for a specific book series called “A.D. Chronicles” for our church library, as a dedicated reader had read the first book and asked if we could get the series for our tiny library. Unfortunately, the 12-book series would have cost between $117 and $130 dollars, according to Amazon and christianbook.com. I sadly let my fellow reader know that we had no church library budget, but that I would keep my eyes open at thrift stores.
Several weeks ago I walked into a local Salvation Army store, and to my amazement, found the first six books of the series sitting on the bottom shelf of the book section! I snatched up the books, set them on a nearby table for sale, and snapped their picture. Six dollars later, the books were on the way home with me.
At home, I surveyed the damage. They were public library books that had been discarded. Let me say, I have bought plenty of discarded public library material, but never seen books treated in such a rude fashion. Someone had carelessly ripped off part of the dust cover spines. They had stamped “discarded” 6-8 times on each one (serious overkill). Inside, they had cut out the barcode instead of simply drawing a line through it as most libraries do.
As I turned the first few pages, I noticed that the discarder had actually cut through five or six pages as they removed the barcodes. You would think the person would have realized what they were doing after the first book, but no, all six of them received the same treatment.
Time to do some repair work. I could have throw away the mutilated dust covers, but they had great artwork on the front. So I carefully washed the plastic covers to remove the dirt that had accumulated on them, removed the yellow stickers on each, and laid them on a towel to dry.
I added old-fashioned checkout cards and pockets to the six books. Lastly, I made some huge spine labels to cover over the mutilated part of their dust covers. Much better!
These books have found a new home in our closet-sized church library, and folks will be able to check out and enjoy these once-rejected books.