An independent bookshop in Merseyside has warmed the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers around the world after revealing the sale of a book that had sat forgotten on its shelves for 27 years. Broadhursts of Southport has been a supporter of Sefton4Good and ‘Pay It Forward’ Day in recent years, donating over £700 worth of books.
Part-time staff member Joanne Ball announced on Twitter that she had just sold a book in stock since May 1991. “We always knew its day would come,” she wrote of the Pitkin children’s biography of William the Conqueror – unaware that her announcement would be retweeted almost 150,000 times as book-lovers worldwide rejoiced in the book finally finding a home.
Ball told the Guardian that the “now-famous” title “was bought by a gentlemen looking for books on the Norman conquest for his grandson. We think that a local school is covering the subject.” Broadhursts sold the book for 99p.
The book, added Ball, was “originally stocked by Marie, our full-time children’s bookseller at the time”. Marie, now 84, still works at Broadhursts part-time.
“We always had faith it would sell, as we do with all our books. We choose every book we stock individually, rather than having random batches of stock sent to us,” said Ball. “Often books unsold within nine to 12 months are returned to the publisher, but some we keep for longer, either because they (or the subject) are personal favourites of ours, or because there are not many other titles on the subject available. We know that one day, someone will want that exact title, however long the wait.”
Joanne Ball said the overwhelming response to her tweet was a sign of the affection that people still have for bookshops, and books. “It isn’t often you see book-related stories going viral, which has been a great surprise – lots of book-lovers out there wanting to support it, too. We have had some great reactions from our local and regular customers, but the fact that people in the US and Australia now know about us, and have been talking about us, is just unbelievable,” she said.