-Written by Diane Newland, Darwin Bookseller.
One of the great pleasures of working in the Darwin room, is its slightly other-wordly atmosphere which imbues a state of altered reality to all whom enter (with absolutely no mind-altering substances needed).
Another pleasure, because it is a smaller, more intimate setting than the main shop, is that it affords the opportunity to meet and chat to so many of you. It is incredibly heartening to realise what a huge variety of people enjoy, and indeed purchase, these wonderful old books and fine print editions.
In the Darwin room so far, I have met nomads, A-level students, personal trainers and jewellers, herbalists, gardeners, engineers and naval officers, fishermen, bookbinders and opera singers. I have also spoken to a Viking film star (albeit a lesser known one). All of them buying and collecting books on their particular passions.
The Darwin room is also host to a 1940s/50's enthusiast in full vintage attire, complete with pillbox hat, a wood carver looking for old alphabet script, and numerous fathers buying vintage Beanos for their sons. It has attracted retired people searching for the lost books of their childhood, and history academics searching for obscure religious texts.
We've had soon-to-be-weds looking for vintage pretties for their banquet table, and science boffins wanting old physics textbooks. We have children who regularly ooh and aah at the Harry Potter style setting and the magical old leather bindings, as well as serious collectors, first edition specialists, and antique book dealers.
Whatever the motivation, it is also a massive pleasure to see how much people really value books, and just how much book collecting goes on. If you are thoroughly hooked on books and considering embarking on a book collecting career, or just want to indulge your grand book passion and have a particular hobby or enthusiasm, then a book collection on your favoured subject is the obvious way to go. Alternatively, if beautiful contemporary books, fine style or investment is your thing, then collecting signed first editions, or fine print editions by desirable publishers makes a huge lot of sense, is very satisfying and will give you great enjoyment as you seek, find, treasure and display your collection.
If you have not yet had the joy of owning and reading a Folio Society book, the Darwin Rare Books Room, here at Bookbarn, is definitely where you need to head. Buying illustrated fine editions of the great classics by The Folio Society, are a great way to start a beautiful book collection. We have a constant influx of these exquisitely bound, beautifully designed and illustrated books. Mostly pre-owned of course, but Folio owners are well known for keeping their slip-cased books in immaculate condition. Consequently, they race off of the shelves as fast as they arrive, so they are obviously highly desired and very popular with book lovers all over the world.
These have sensational illustrations and with the beautifully decorative covers and satisfying slip-cases add so much to the whole pleasurable experience of reading and owning one of these books.
The American equivalent of the Folio editions are those produced by Easton press, and we now have several of these leather bound, silk lined, handsome, gilt edged beauties also available to buy. They are available online but you can also view and purchase these, together with our huge selection of Folio editions and signed first editions, right here in the Darwin Room. Other American publications also worth tracking down are those from Franklin Library and Subterranean Press.
Collecting books is no longer the preserve of those grey haired, fusty old antiquarians who take themselves far too seriously. All sorts of people are doing it, so come and join in the fun, and enjoy your new identity as 'fledgling book connoisseur'.
If you would like some help with your book collection, please don't hesitate to ask us, as we are more than happy to help you find the books you want, and always very pleased to share our book knowledge and enthusiasm!
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