Today me and sis went to Bookbarn International. I’d been meaning to go here for ages but I always had that doubt which any book lover/hoarder has… would I be able to exercise self-control? I live in a house which already has books stacked from the floor to the ceiling. My laptop rests on a pile of books as I type this. Books are the one thing I let get out of control, especially vintage ones…

As you drive up to the Bookbarn there is a sign which lets you know there is over ONE MILLION books inside. Oh no, this already feels like a bad idea…

It’s slightly overwhelming to begin with – where to start?  There ARE a huge amount of books… but they are clearly organized and the Bookbarn is easy to navigate.

The perimeter of the barn is fiction – near enough every fiction title you can think of is here. The inner aisles are divided into subjects.  And there are a lot of books for every subject.  This bookcase below is devoted to just cats.

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Of course, I had to buy three…

Once again, I veer heavily towards the vintage side of things… this doesn’t ideally represent the Bookbarn as they have a wide range of books dating from long ago to current.  If you just want a stash of reality tv star biographies you will find those here too – there are over ONE MILLION books!!!  You will find something to your taste no matter what you like to read.

Oh and here’s another bit of dangerous information…

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Can you believe this???  Apart from a modest selection of rare books (which I will get to shortly) EVERY BOOK IN THE BOOKBARN IS £1 (or 50p).  This information sounded too good to be true so I had to double-check with a member of staff… but yep, sure enough, every book is just one pound.  Damn.  I immediately start to calculate how many books might fit in my sisters car…

You see all those blue-spined books below?  That’s all Pelican books (The Penguin Books non-fiction imprint).  Bookbarn know how interesting they are so they’ve given you an armchair in case your selection takes you a while…

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There is a great theatre section which has 4 full cases of play scripts alone.  If you are looking for a play to stage or an audition speech, this is the perfect place to come and spend an afternoon… you will find something suitable right here.

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There is also a rack of old sheet music.  I love looking through these for the cover illustrations.  Some of them are worthy of framing…

Time Out: What makes Bookbarn International an absolute destination for the bibliophile is the cafe.  Yes, when you have got bookspine blindness or when you feel a tad overwhelmed (it will happen) there is an oasis.  The Full Stop Cafe serves homemade food and (very good) fresh coffee.  The cafe isn’t an afterthought, it’s a destination in itself – very well run and stocked with really good food.  I used it twice – had to go back for cake! (all homemade).  It’s a great pit stop to revive and take a closer look at the books already in your basket.

There is also a rare books section.

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This is in a roped-off area and you have to ask one of the staff for access (the staff are great by the way, book enthusiasts themselves).  There is a modest selection of vintage and collectible books here.  All worth a good look.  They are also really fairly priced.  I bought the two below for £18 & £10 respectively.

They are both full of the vintage illustrations which I research and use for my business.  As are they next 2 items which are my favourite finds of the visit…

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These 2 Home Chat magazines are from the late 1920s and each page has a fantastic Art Deco illustration… here are some…

Both of these magazines were 50p each!!!  But they are invaluable for art research.

The whole of the Bookbarn is a mine full of vintage images.  Take a day and go and lose yourself between the bookcases.  The best thing (rare books aside)  is that me and my sister filled her car boot up with books for about £30, it’s THE best day out for vintage lovers and bibliophiles alike.  There is free parking and you can stay all day.  Check this link for their website and further details —>>> BOOKBARN INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE  You will be glad you did.

One last thing – in case you needed further convincing… This mammoth film star book (over 300 pages) has a beautiful image on each page and it cost ONE POUND… There are loads of other books like this there – get yourself to Bookbarn International NOW!

 

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