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How this Dutch bookstore is turning second hand books into stories of change



During the pandemic, book sales boomed globally. And with a new lockdown coming up, you might be up to find yourself some new books. If so, and you’re in The Hague, you should definitely drop by at a bookshop called The Bookstor. Their very rare and always extending collection of books is astounding. Just like the interior. And their coffees. And their second hand books. Because the inspiring owner of the store is turning these books into stories of change.

If Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel would’ve had a bookstore, it would look like this.

Although Arthur Wieffering is not an author, he’s giving his second hand books an extra plot for the good. How? We’ll get into this later. First, we need to discuss his stunning book shop called The Bookstor. If Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel would’ve had a bookstore, it would look like this. The authentic, almost 100 years old, book store breathes books from the moment you step into the store. Its book collection is impressive and the cosy interior makes you feel at home instantly.

Books and beans

While most people visit The Bookstor for drowning in its collection of books, some people come by to have one of their freshly made coffees. Wieffering thinks books and beans are a good combination, and we couldn’t agree more. His efforts to serve you the finest coffee around is notable as he not only sources his beans from Amsterdam based micro roastery Friedhats – he also hires a barista to make the most out of these beans.

‘We made a plan’ 

When, before the pandemic, we met with Wieffering, the book store owner appeared to be a very positive and inspiring person. And when the pandemic hit in, he proved to be just that. Wieffering tells us about how he survived the coronacrisis: ‘We made a plan: let’s make it the best time ever and put the flowers outside. Literally, we now always leave flowers outside on the tables of our terrace. And they only once got stolen, by somebody who really needed them. Ofcourse, making money was a challenge, but we just made everything more beautiful. And I think that what our company is doing is giving solutions for the troubles we are facing now in society. As soon the doors were open, we got great turnover and so many happy smart faces!’

Turning second hand books into stories of change

The Bookstor is also inspiring for its deeds for good. Charity is an important pillar of the philosophy of the shop. And the way they support charity is by enriching their second hand books, or ‘pre-loved books’ which they brilliantly prefer to call them, with an extra plot twist. Because The Bookstor donates all of the second hand books turnover to their selected charities. This way, the story you buy at the Bookstor extends into a story of change. Wieffering: ‘In essence, a book is a gift and a story to share. So for all the pre-loved books we sell, we donate the full 100% turnover to the charities we love. We even pay the tax. And as we get more beautiful quality books donated more often, we can sell them for a higher price, which means more donations for charity.’ Why is The Bookstore doing this? ‘Because I can’t find a good reason why not. I have been around the world too many times, and the only thing I can think of when I meet poverty, is that somewhere somebody is greedy. And, it is not going to be me.’

Bookstor x Face This

We are very delighted that Face This is this year’s charity project. So if you buy a pre-loved book at The Bookstor, 100% of its turnover supports the Face This foundation. And to be more precise: the donation will be used to renovate the SDN1 Senggigi school on Lombok, Indonesia, which was badly affected by the earthquakes of 2018. We’re very proud The Bookstor decided to support us. And we’re amongst amazing other charity projects. ‘Our staff can create projects’, explains Wieffering. ‘So we supported a new school class in Nepal and a school project in Greece from the Happy Caravan, both were guided and co-founded by members of the Bookstor staff. Before that, a project I feel proud of, is a bike messenger company in the heart of Africa with race bikes.’ 

Perfect presents

With December coming up, we strongly recommend you to go to The Bookstore. Because, giving a book as a present for Christmas or Sinterklaas is always a good idea. But by buying a pre-loved book at The Bookstor, you’re not only giving your friends or family a gift – you also give the gift of education to Gia, Ayu and all of her classmates. The Bookstor will donate the proceeds of their pre-loved books until the 31st of December. 

  • What: Buy a second hand book at The Bookstor
  • Why: when you buy a second hand book, all proceeds will be donated to Face This
  • Where: The Bookstor, Noordeinde 39, The Hague
  • When: Until 31st of December 2020
  • Www: https://www.bookstor.nl/


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