Obsession with old books

I love old books – pre ISBN books.  Some books I have acquired have nothing to do with what I do or have any interest in them apart from the fact that they are books.  Sometimes I think maybe I should think about selling it as I don’t have any practical use for it but a part of me can’t ever do that.

Current Transformer Book

One of the books I have is a Current Transformers book, published in 1968.  It’s got my granddad’s name and old address on it – looks like there was a time when we lived without post codes  – and its actually quite easy to read, if you ever wanted to know more about current transformers. 

The smell of old books is another thing I love. The books have an old musty smell that reminds me of school libraries and images of a studious but carefree lifestyles flashes in my mind. Everything really is more glorified and rosy when you look back.  I need to go to libraries with my girls more often while we still have them.

Psychology Book

Another book I have on my shelf is on Psychology.  It’s a book that my husband must have read as he studied psychology at University.  I’m sure it must be the University book that we had to pay off for non-return, even though it has no library stamp or anything else on it to note that it’s from a University. It’s strange how I flicked through the book and it landed on child psychology!  Just read a few pages and thought yes that sounds like both my girls. This book was first published in 1922 and the 18th edition that I have, was published in 1946.

My grandparents have lots of old interesting books that I love going through when I go back home.  They are in the process of painting the house and so many books are being thrown out – and into my lap because I can’t let them go. I might try making a log of some sorts and try finding the oldest book published in their collections. Well – not sure about that but I like the idea of doing that. I suppose being surrounded by so many books helped me develop a love of books but I’ve also turned into a hoarder. Having all of these books around me probably stopped me getting rid of any of my books too, even if I don’t read or use them anymore.


A standard book numbering (SBN) was implemented in England in 1965 when WHSmith decided it wanted to computerise its warehouse.  From this, the International Standardised Organisation (ISO) looked into developing a system to be used worldwide and the ISBN was approved in 1970.  The UK started using the ISBN in 1974 and apart from some changes in the standard, it is still used in 150 countries to this date.


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