Little book shop making a big name for itself

Oxford Mail: Manager Dick Jennens Manager Dick Jennens

A LITTLE bookshop in a corner of Oxfordshire is making a big name for itself in the world of literature.

The Oxfam bookshop in Thame opened in December 2000 and has since made its mark with creative window displays and rare discoveries.

The most recent find, a set of Arthur Conan Doyle editions including a signed copy of White Company, sold for £1,000 this month.

But it was by no means the first exciting discovery for the shop, which has raised more than £1m for charity within its 500 square feet of retail space.

Manager Dick Jennens, 62, believes its success in unearthing literary gems is a combination of Thame’s location, between London and Oxford, and its ever-increasing reputation.

He said: “It’s fascinating, you never know what you’re going to get in a box of books. It’s like Christmas each day.”

The first find for the store was an original signed copy of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which sold for £1,800.

But one of his all-time favourite discoveries was when a woman wheeled a giant book in a shopping trolley to the shop.

He said: “She told us it was going into a skip because they were downsizing and their children didn’t want it.”

When they looked at the book it was full of autographs from historical figures such as Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, and letters from US presidents.

It fetched £11,000, which was shared with the owner.

Mr Jennens said: “It’s incredible to think they could have gone in a skip and been lost forever.”

Another rare find was a first edition of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which sold for £995.

Mr Jennens said: “It’s all about matching the owner with the book they want.

“That’s what makes this job interesting.”

Each week the staff create a new window display, with Titanic, James Bond and the Falklands War set to appear soon.

So far this year the shop has made a profit of £140,000 – up 10 per cent on last year and the boxes of books just keep on coming.

Mr Jennens, who runs the shop with a pool of 70 volunteers, said: “I think people have this misconception that if you donate books to a charity shop, they’ll just sell them all for 50p.

“But we have people here that value everything. One of our volunteers worked for years at the Bodleian Library.”

“The other week a couple drove all the way from Birmingham to drop off some books after reading about us.”

BEST SELLERS

A 109-year-old signed copy of Arthur Conan Doyle’s White Company and eight other volumes sold for £1,000 earlier this month.

A valuable first edition of George Orwell’s Animal Farm sold for £995 in late 2010.

A signed first edition of Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca sold at auction for £1,800 a few years earlier.

A rare book of historic autographs, including those from Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin sold for £11,000.OP

Comments (10)

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2:18pm Sat 28 Jan 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

So far this year the shop has made a profit of £140,000 – up 10 per cent on last year and the boxes of books just keep on coming......
.......but after other costs further up the chain, where people don't volunteer, how much actually goes to charitable causes.
The volunteers in charity shops do a terrific job, I'm not so convinced about the upper echelons in the organisations that work for a salary.
So far this year the shop has made a profit of £140,000 – up 10 per cent on last year and the boxes of books just keep on coming...... .......but after other costs further up the chain, where people don't volunteer, how much actually goes to charitable causes. The volunteers in charity shops do a terrific job, I'm not so convinced about the upper echelons in the organisations that work for a salary. Dilligaf2010

4:33pm Sat 28 Jan 12

Oxonian says...

If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income.

This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this.
If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income. This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this. Oxonian

5:48pm Sat 28 Jan 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

Oxonian wrote:
If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income.

This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this.
And you actually believe that?
[quote][p][bold]Oxonian[/bold] wrote: If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income. This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this.[/p][/quote]And you actually believe that? Dilligaf2010

7:54pm Sat 28 Jan 12

Oxonian says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
Oxonian wrote:
If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income.

This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this.
And you actually believe that?
I believe it because Oxfam is a registered charity and, if they told lies, they might well be in trouble with the Charity Commissioners, who are a strict group of people.

Why are you so intent on not believing the good work that Oxfam does?
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Oxonian[/bold] wrote: If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income. This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this.[/p][/quote]And you actually believe that?[/p][/quote]I believe it because Oxfam is a registered charity and, if they told lies, they might well be in trouble with the Charity Commissioners, who are a strict group of people. Why are you so intent on not believing the good work that Oxfam does? Oxonian

8:51pm Sat 28 Jan 12

Bogdan The MeerKat says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
Oxonian wrote:
If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income.

This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this.
And you actually believe that?
The Charity Commissioners would soon be on their backs if it were otherwise.
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Oxonian[/bold] wrote: If Dilligaf2010 looked at the Oxfam website, he/she would find that it spends 83p out of every pound on emergencies, development and campaigning; 10p on running costs and support; and 7p on generating future income. This means that more than four-fifths of Oxfam's income goes to help the disadvantaged. Obviously it costs quite a lot to organise all this.[/p][/quote]And you actually believe that?[/p][/quote]The Charity Commissioners would soon be on their backs if it were otherwise. Bogdan The MeerKat

11:39am Sun 29 Jan 12

Darkforbid says...

┄The Charity Commissioners
would soon be on their backs
if it were otherwise.┄

As it goes th charity commission is a joke...

Btw Oxfam do some brilliant work...
┄The Charity Commissioners would soon be on their backs if it were otherwise.┄ As it goes th charity commission is a joke... Btw Oxfam do some brilliant work... Darkforbid

9:12pm Mon 30 Jan 12

Sophia says...

What a sad, bitter, lonely, unsuccessful person Diliigaf2010 must be to choose this of all stories to vent his (bet he is a middle aged bloke) unhappiness on! Isnt there some charity which can help such people?
What a sad, bitter, lonely, unsuccessful person Diliigaf2010 must be to choose this of all stories to vent his (bet he is a middle aged bloke) unhappiness on! Isnt there some charity which can help such people? Sophia

10:40pm Mon 30 Jan 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

Sophia wrote:
What a sad, bitter, lonely, unsuccessful person Diliigaf2010 must be to choose this of all stories to vent his (bet he is a middle aged bloke) unhappiness on! Isnt there some charity which can help such people?
And I bet you're morbidly obese.
I've supported charities for years, and organised many charity events, including a 60 hour disco & live band event, where I was in attendance for the full 60 hours.
There are just some charities that I don't support because I believe too much of the money they receive is spent on up market office blocks & salaries.
And as for all your derogatory comments about me, you're way off the mark, and the comments are here for people to express their opinions, not to insult the people whose opinions you disagree with.
[quote][p][bold]Sophia[/bold] wrote: What a sad, bitter, lonely, unsuccessful person Diliigaf2010 must be to choose this of all stories to vent his (bet he is a middle aged bloke) unhappiness on! Isnt there some charity which can help such people?[/p][/quote]And I bet you're morbidly obese. I've supported charities for years, and organised many charity events, including a 60 hour disco & live band event, where I was in attendance for the full 60 hours. There are just some charities that I don't support because I believe too much of the money they receive is spent on up market office blocks & salaries. And as for all your derogatory comments about me, you're way off the mark, and the comments are here for people to express their opinions, not to insult the people whose opinions you disagree with. Dilligaf2010

6:33pm Thu 2 Feb 12

radfahrer says...

What sort of comments might one expect from a person using the handle of "dilligaf" — an acronym for "do I look like I give a F***"?

It would be interesting to see a (certified) breakdown of funds raised versus funds disbursed — such as how much the bands received — for that 'disco and live band event' to which he refers.
What sort of comments might one expect from a person using the handle of "dilligaf" — an acronym for "do I look like I give a F***"? It would be interesting to see a (certified) breakdown of funds raised versus funds disbursed — such as how much the bands received — for that 'disco and live band event' to which he refers. radfahrer

6:49pm Thu 2 Feb 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

radfahrer wrote:
What sort of comments might one expect from a person using the handle of "dilligaf" — an acronym for "do I look like I give a F***"?

It would be interesting to see a (certified) breakdown of funds raised versus funds disbursed — such as how much the bands received — for that 'disco and live band event' to which he refers.
The bands & discos, received nothing, I was one of the DJs myself.
The event was supported by Townsend Thoresen, Sony, BFBS Radio & Kate Bush, amongst many others.
We were joined at the event by BFBS/BBC Radio's Tommy Vance & Adrian Love, and the progress of the function was updated Live on the Radio by myself, I was called every few hours.
After expenses, which were almost nothing, about £6000 was raised.
Unfortunately as the event was in 1986, I don't have any documented evidence, although I suppose if you're really desperate for proof, I could contact Coutts & Co. to see if they could furnish me with a copy of the cheque, sadly Tommy Vance & Adrian Love have both since died, but BFBS Radio, or Tommy Vance's family may recall the event, unfortunately I no longer have the Vance's home phone number.
Would you like to discuss it any further Mr. Cyclist?
[quote][p][bold]radfahrer[/bold] wrote: What sort of comments might one expect from a person using the handle of "dilligaf" — an acronym for "do I look like I give a F***"? It would be interesting to see a (certified) breakdown of funds raised versus funds disbursed — such as how much the bands received — for that 'disco and live band event' to which he refers.[/p][/quote]The bands & discos, received nothing, I was one of the DJs myself. The event was supported by Townsend Thoresen, Sony, BFBS Radio & Kate Bush, amongst many others. We were joined at the event by BFBS/BBC Radio's Tommy Vance & Adrian Love, and the progress of the function was updated Live on the Radio by myself, I was called every few hours. After expenses, which were almost nothing, about £6000 was raised. Unfortunately as the event was in 1986, I don't have any documented evidence, although I suppose if you're really desperate for proof, I could contact Coutts & Co. to see if they could furnish me with a copy of the cheque, sadly Tommy Vance & Adrian Love have both since died, but BFBS Radio, or Tommy Vance's family may recall the event, unfortunately I no longer have the Vance's home phone number. Would you like to discuss it any further Mr. Cyclist? Dilligaf2010

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