Calling all book lovers!

This week, along with Hay Festival Digital, we’re celebrating some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers.

Our Oxfam online bookshop is back, and bursting with brilliant books for everyone – with all proceeds helping people and families living in poverty to protect themselves.

Here, we take a look at some of the rare, weird and wonderful books spotted by our fantastic volunteers – as well as some of their recommended reads.

The hidden gems

Our bookshop teams are trained to spot potentially valuable books which often go to auction.

📚 This rare first edition of The Hobbit that dates back to 1937 was found in the Oxfam shop in Chipping Norton in 2018. The author J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the book whilst living in Oxford. It sold at auction for £6,000!


📚 Oxfam volunteers in the Harrogate shop spotted the very first appearance in print of Sherlock Holmes (‘A Study in Scarlet’) in a Victorian annual– it sold at auction for £15,500!

📚 A first edition of Treatise of Commerce by John Wheeler, 1601, was donated to the Oxfam shop in Gold Street, Northampton. The book, published in 1601 and believed to be the only one in existence, went to an anonymous buyer. It raised £21,600!

📚 ‘Rumour at Nightfall’ was an early novel from Graham Greene which he suppressed because he thought it was terrible. It was donated to our St Giles bookshop in Oxford and was spotted by one of our volunteers. It raised £15,000 at auction for Oxfam!

📚 A signed William Butler Yeats was discovered in our Morningside Bookshop in Edinburgh.


The recommendations



The weird and wonderful

“Sometimes it’s the unique, the unusual and the wonderfully odd that feeds our bookish appetites here at the bookshop”






Our collection of second-hand books is huge – there’s always something new to discover. Browse over 60,000 new titles, pre-owned novels and second-hand antique books, all available to buy online. We have everything from classic children’s books to fire-side fiction, super sci-fi, travel and history books. We’ve joined forces with Hay festival who will be listing all the books they would have brought to the festival on our online shop.

When you are doing your lockdown spring cleaning, remember to keep your preloved books for us. We have a number of Oxfam book shops that will be needing your donations when they reopen their doors.

Home learning inspiration

Looking for some learning resources for little book worms? Until it’s time for everyone to go back to school, we will be regularly sharing fun and educational activity ideas for ages 7-14 to use at home. These can help young people consider what we all need to thrive, explore what connects us and be inspired to make a difference. For more inspiration, check out the weekly resources on our home learning hub.

Oxfam's coronavirus emergency response appeal

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