Treasure Hunt books in bookstores

Marked by a permanent second-hand book fair, the Cuesta de Moyano in Madrid has attracted a bibliophile characteristic since 1925, from writers seeking inspiration for their future titles to curious people or paper treasure hunters

Treasure Hunt books in bookstores

Marked by a permanent second-hand book fair, the Cuesta de Moyano in Madrid has attracted a bibliophile characteristic since 1925, from writers seeking inspiration for their future titles to curious people or paper treasure hunters. Used bookstores are currently experiencing a paradox: on the one hand, technology has made it easier to access exotic or out-of-print volumes, but the Internet has also ended up diluting the bookseller's specialization in specific subjects.

"I live surrounded by them, but even so I feel that with each book I establish a special relationship. For me, they represent freedom, they help me put my feet on the ground," explains Álvaro Prieto, current bookseller at the head of E y P, establishment opened in 1975 by his father and now has its own stand in Moyano. An inherited multidirectional relationship: like the trade, Prieto continues with the house's specialization: heraldic genealogy, a discipline dedicated to the study of the symbology hidden behind shields and coats of arms to discover small particularities of history. "Since school I have liked the subject and it is the best way to learn about reality," the bookseller points out.

The E y P bookstore has always been a reference when it comes to valuing these volumes: "Before, people came to us to ask us about the price, both for inheritance reasons and out of curiosity. But now the market itself sets the price." The worst thing is that there are many individuals who want to get rid of these works through non-specialized platforms, such as Wallapop and Todocolección, and they sell them at a ridiculous price. We have nothing to do there, because people compare without knowing what they are buying. really has it in his hands," he emphasizes to La Lectura.

"Respect for specialization has been lost. Before you went to an expert so that, thanks to their experience, they could advise you and you trusted that person. But now people trust any user who uploads an ad. Those of us who are dedicated To the neighborhood bookstores we see how it is impossible to survive without associating with larger platforms, such as Iberlibro, which bought Amazon in December 2008. It is heartbreaking because the human factor is lost, which is the most fun part of this job," says Soraya Plaza. , who, together with his brothers, runs the second-hand bookstore Ábaco in Madrid, based in Quevedo and Cuatro Caminos. "We have our own website and without the large window of possibilities that this tool allows, we would not have enough capacity to function," she adds.

The percentage increase in demand for second-hand books compared to last year, with dictionaries, encyclopedias and atlases being the most sought after

This is what has increased the supply and demand of second-hand books in the last year, during the months of August and September, in view of the 'back to school'

The increase in the supply of second-hand comics, which places them as the most thriving genre this year. Tintin, Astérix and Mortadelo y Filemón are the most desired albums

With the aim of perpetuating the human factor, lost among the infinite flows of information, some bookstores have decided to stand up to this new model and have met in different associations.

This is the case of Libris, an association of second-hand booksellers created in 1989 that has the collaboration of 39 establishments throughout Spain. "We use the autumn fairs to meet first-hand the true bibliophiles, those who really enjoy the jewels that our country has," argues Beatriz Miguel Azcárraga, owner of the Salambó bookstore, president of Libris and the person in charge of organizing the 33rd edition of the Autumn Fair of the Old and Antique Book, which started yesterday, Thursday the 28th, on the Paseo de Recoletos with a proclamation by María Dueñas and the ingenious poster illustrated by Fernando Vicente.

The event will have a total of 32 specialized positions in different subjects, such as art, history, science. The same president reveals that this year the public will be able to find "more than half a million discontinued curiosities for all budgets."

For half a month, bookstores that still trust in warmth as a differential value take to the streets to display their treasures stored in warehouses. A unique opportunity to see first-hand how an old book differs from an old one. "I can sell an old book for one or two euros at fairs, but an old book is identified by rarities: the edition (if there has been a large circulation), whether it is in high demand or by the material the cover is made of" , explains Miguel Azcárraga.

"Some time ago, a law was passed in France that forced large platforms, like Amazon, to charge a minimum shipping cost. It is a great measure to help small businesses, because we bear the shipping and return costs. "if something happens. If Amazon loses the package, the loss is negligible, but if it happens to us, our month could be shaken. Unfortunately, that possibility is not contemplated in Spain," continues the person in charge of Libris.

During the visit to the department stores at the Madrid fair, the owner of Salambó (located in Ciudad Lineal) comments that the Uniliber Antique Book and Collecting Professional Association intends to disseminate a hybrid method that combines online sales with personal treatment.

"In neighborhood bookstores we aim for continuous recycling," explains Soraya Plaza. "That is, we offer the possibility of purchasing second-hand online, but we try to ensure that this relationship does not stop here. They are books, not badges. We make a lot of effort to take care of our product. But also, through platforms such as social networks, "We want to know what the reader's impressions are. We try to make culture become a more interactive process because we all learn. Those who don't read really do so because they don't want to."