I’ve been buying used books from secondhand bookstores most of my adult life. Occasionally, I’ll get the books home, then discover an old bookmark tucked inside, overlooked by the store’s purchasing staff. Sometimes, it’s just a receipt or a torn piece of paper; other times it’s a business card but, in most cases, the books are empty of anything belonging to the previous owner.
Now that I’m a bookseller, though, I’m buying much larger quantities of books and buying them much more regularly. I’m also starting to accumulate quite a collection of bookmarks. In addition to the glossy ones with inspirational sayings, there’s been a few from bookstores in other Canadian cities, one from as far away as Yellowknife, N.W.T. I’ve also come across the usual variety of paper scraps including old telephone messages, study notes and grocery lists. I’ve even found a photograph of the Eiffel Tower in autumn.
Recently, I was cataloguing a book I’d picked up at the Cut Knife Library Book Sale. Underneath the dust jacket’s rear flap was a sheet of studio portraits. I have no idea how old they may be but, if anyone recognizes this child, please let the family know I have the photos because I’d love to be able to return them.
Just a reminder, folks, before you donate, lend, give away or sell your books, please take a quick peek inside and check for any stray bookmarks. Most of them wouldn’t be missed but, sometimes, there’s something irreplaceable inside.