For the love of used books

The thing I love most about Blossom’s is the ability to find used books. Usually this is necessary in some cases where the book would have gone out of print for a long while. Sometimes it also helps when the “new” copies are crazy expensive. (Anything above ₹400 falls into that category)

Some of the really good books that I’ve found, which belong to the difficult to find category include:

  1. T. S. Satyan’s ‘Alive and Clicking’.
  2. Kawabata’s ‘Thousand Cranes’ and ‘Snow Country’. His ‘Sound of the mountain’ I picked up in the library.
  3. Julian Barnes’ ‘The history of the world in 10 1/2 chapters’.
  4. Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy. But these days I do find some new ones of the first book, not of the last two.
  5. Mary Renault’s Alexandar Trilogy.

One of the most fascinating things about these books is finding an inscription with a date and place. As a gift for someone or sometimes the first owner just marking the book with a date and his/her own name.

The best is of course finding the author’s words and hand on a book once:


Or fun messages. How it made it from Amherst, MA to Bangalore, India is up to your imagination.


Another from a long time back. I bought this yellowed book, and eventually found that it had lost 2 pages. But it’s a collection of short stories, so maybe am sold a story short, but the message made up for it. It was the year 1986. I would be turning 6 that year, leaving Kindergarten and moving to the ‘standards’. At the same time someone was gifting her friend a book in some far away country, I don’t even know which one! Makes me wonder about the travels this book would have known before landing in Bangalore and being picked up by me.


And then, this one, from 1990. The person who bought this just wrote her name, marking the book as her property. The date and place are mentioned, etched for posterity. I would have been in 5th standard as she bought the book. I would most probably have been sick, as I remember falling ill a lot that year. And then 24 years on, I find it in Blossom’s, the book having travelled 8000+ kms to sit in an aisle there and then to be read by me.


I always wonder if I should return these books to the shop and see where it goes from here or give it a permanent resting place in my bookshelf. Of course, I mean books that had markers, not the first one signed by the author.

I am tempted towards putting my name, date and place as a marker in its history and send it along. Or maybe take it along on some travel and sell it to a used book store in some other country?

What do you suggest?


2 thoughts on “For the love of used books

  1. wow.. beautiful journey of a book.. I had read a comprehension from a Grammar book (i think it is Wren and Martin).. where it had a similar writing.. where a book talks about his journey..

    Vaidya, you always tickle my thoughts..

    My suggestion is –
    Open a mini library and lend it to the kids.. I think you have a nice collections and looks like our people have similar taste.. That would really help to build on it..

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