My first day as a Bookseller – Watership Down – Richard Adams

I’m a second-hand bookseller since Friday and of all of the excitement of selling your first book (it was a biography of one of my favourite greek philosophers) could not prepare me for the joy I felt when a gentleman dropped off a selection of rare books that first afternoon. 

When I was unpacking the books this edition

of Watership Down by Richard Adams instantly caught my attention. In a moment of excitement, I instantly recognised the cover of the first US edition of this beloved classic. 

I read this book many times since my childhood and it never fails to take me to a different wold. 

On the first edition cover it states: 

“Watership Down is a picaresque saga of the maverick band who set out, against all odds, on a quest for a new home, a better society. How they succeed in an epic adventure and a compelling contemporary odyssey of leadership found and leadership lost. 

The hero’s of this tale are animals – wild rabbits. They behaviour is constant with the law of nature, yet each is endowed with a blood-and-gut personality that is unforgettable. The full-bodied characterisation and compelling plot fuse, transcending the animal world and illuminating man’s great humanity – and terrible inhumanity. The setting is the rolling hills and meadows of England. The time is now – or tomorrow – or always.” 

To add to the developing theme of my first day just an hour before I had sold a paperback of the book to a father who spotted it in the recommendation section on his way to the till and exclaimed excitedly “Ah! I always wanted to read that!” 

To make a long story short, it turned out to be the fifth print of the first edition and therefore not as valuable as a “true” first edition. The dust jacket was not in perfect condition but still, I had only ever seen one of them in pictures and I was attached. So instead of selling this edition, it will join my private collection.

This edition is still on display in the shop, so come in and have a look. Or if you are now intrerested in reading Watership Down I still have a paperback edition in the shop. 

If you are interested in the art of identifying and evaluating first editions watch this space, as I’m currently preparing a little guide for you. 

So all in all, my first day was more than I could have imagined. 



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. My favourite kind of shop, and my favourite kind of enthusiast behind the counter! Deserves to do really well, so come on Southend and support local enterprise.

  2. Just found and read this. I hope you are keeping safe, COVID has had a terrible impact on small businesses. I hope you make it through this challenge.

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