Income from the National Trust’s second-hand book shops has almost tripled in two years, according to the charity.
In 2017 income was at £573,000, but this year it is expected to hit £1.8m. So far this year more than £1.4m has been raised.
A wave of book shops have opened at National Trust properties, which now total 185.
Many of the Trust’s book shops are managed by teams of volunteers. The numbers of volunteers tends to stay static at around the 65,000 mark, but these are volunteers covering a huge range of roles, not just the bookshops. The way the shops and volunteers are managed tends to differ from place to place.
The charity said second-hand book shops are becoming an important fundraising stream, and it relies heavily on donations of books from members of the public to keep shops stocked.
At a Trust book shop at Trelissick near Truro, volunteers unearthed 50 years’ worth of pristine copies of the Beano.
'They really are a treasure trove of hidden gems'
Property fundraising officer Katy Taheri said: “The success of our book shops is down to our brilliant volunteers, who at many properties, have brought great creativity in how to sell books and get our visitors to fall in love with them.” She added: “They really are a treasure trove of hidden gems.”
David Jackson, a volunteer at the second-hand book shop at Hardwick Hall said: “Like many other retail outlets, second-hand book shops are in decline on our high streets, yet they are still very popular with a large section of the public, so this is a great opportunity for the National Trust to provide, and become the leader, in second-hand book shops at visitor attractions.
“There is a big difference between a shop selling a pile of tatty books in the corner for 50p to a proper second-hand bookshop. Like other specialist retail outlets, good second-hand book shops have a unique feel, which customers enjoy, and I believe that the National Trust’s shops really add to the visitor experience.”
National Trust properties with second-hand book shops welcome donations during opening hours.