Hassall Road Book Sales
Since March last year we have opened the former Methodist Chapel at Hassall Road, Alsager (part of the Cheshire South Circuit) for Secondhand Book sales. The Chapel is situated on the edge of Alsager only 2 miles from Junction 16 of the M6. There are over 25,000 books in subject order and there is everything from History to modern Paperbacks. There is a good Christian section with sections on Methodism, Theology, Bible Commentaries and worship material.
There are also very good sections on History, Gardening, Classics, Local History, Travel, Geography and children’s not to mention cookery. The customers like the fact that books are in subject order and even for fiction –alphabetical!!
Refreshments are available, there is a place to relax and read and a display in the chapel area of early Primitive Methodism with banners and display boards.
We have been blessed with some very good volunteers who are helping to sort the books, serve customers and make tea/coffee. We are opening the chapel on Friday mornings and since December on a Saturday as well. Takings are now averaging £100 on the Friday and £50 on the Saturday. We serve coffee/tea and visitors find the staff helpful and pleasant.
We have other volunteers who put books on the Internet and we could do with more help to do this - you can do this at home by taking a box away with you. What is required is a love of books and average Internet skills.
When we started we didn’t realise how much shelving we would need. We eat it up very quickly and still need more, both for the Internet books and the shelves in the chapel, our aim is to get everything on shelves - but we need more if you have any let us know.
We have now over 2,000 books on the internet and another 1,000 waiting to go on. Sales are averaging £100 a fortnight and we have some expensive books on the site. (One at £305 and another first edition children’s book at £240.) Our top sale at the moment is £75 for a book. Our experience is that we are putting 5%-10% of the books we receive on the Internet. We have two volunteers who pick up books mid-week and pack and then send them off.
A big thank you to Richard and Elaine Pearce who have done so much in do-it-yourself jobs at the chapel to make it habitable for customers and staff. Richard has brought and re-built the small shed from Englesea Brook which is now used to store books.
We have had some very good donations including a recent one of over 1,000 books on Methodist history including some 200-300 Chapel Histories from all over the country. There was a lot of early and rare Primitive Methodist material which has filled gaps in the Englesea Brook collection. We have also had someone who donated a large collection of modern detective fiction. One of the delights is not knowing what will come in. A carrier bag looked to have just some rather tatty modern paperbacks inside but at the bottom of the bag was a copy of Jules Verne’s Ballooning trip to East Africa in 1876!
We recently collected 5,000 books from Nottingham which we are sorting and hope to collect books from around the country, although because we are very close to the M6 Motorway it is hoped that people will drop them in when they are passing. We can arrange to open up for people coming with books.
DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2013
One of the things we would like to do in the New Year is to increase the footfall of customers. We will be doing local publicity. 400 leaflets have gone out through the Wesley Historical Society and we are hoping to have articles in the press. If you can help in anyway please let us know - we have plenty of leaflets you can have and if you have not been yet – it is well worth a visit.
The Cheshire South Circuit recently gave £25 book vouchers to 12 local preachers on trial to be used at Hassall Rd and they availed themselves of Worship material and Bible Commentaries.
We have started a new service if you are looking for a particular book or books on a subject. Let us know what you are looking for and we will contact you when those books/subjects come in.
Here are some of the subjects which are best sellers
BANK HOLIDAY SALE
We are thinking about a Bank Holiday Sale in August but not sure what form it will take. We hope to continue opening on Friday/Saturday mornings as long as we can get enough volunteers.
For someone who has always liked books, to open a second-hand bookshop has been a bit of a dream. I am really enjoying the experience – especially as a lot of other bookshops have closed. It is also supporting the work of Englesea Brook Museum and the exciting development work Dr Jill Barber is doing there. Long may it continue!