Bibliopole looking to preserve 15,000 rare books in his store
ISTANBUL- Anatolia News Agency
Store contains many rare books. The woner complains that many books from the Ottoman era had disappeared and said when people found an old book in their house, they brought it to second hand book sellers. AA photosTne of the oldest bibliopoles in Istanbul’s historical old book bazaar, the Sahaflar Çarşısı, has a collection of around 15,000 rare books that he is hoping to preserve for posterity.
“I have books from well-known politicians like İsmet İnönü, writers like Mehmet Akif, Peyami Safa and more. I also have books signed by foreign writers, as well as manuscripts and more. They are very valuable today. I have books from almost all writers. This is what being a bibliopole means, not buying and selling old books,” said 73-year-old Adil Sarmusak.
The book collector said he had been interested in reading books since his childhood and added that he had lived in Germany for many years before buying a shop in the Sahaflar Çarşısı when he returned to Turkey.
“I have been here since the 1980s, I feel comfortable here and am interested in books and science. Here, I have spent all the money that I earned in Germany,” he said, adding that he had bought rare books and acquired a rich collection over the years.
Noting that books should be carefully preserved, Sarmusak said he had digitally copied the 15,000 works and kept their originals. He also said roughly 1,000 books in his collection featured the signatures of either the writers or the famous people who once owned the books.
Protecting old and rare books is a hard task
Adil Sarmusak. AA Photo
Sarmusak said he wanted the rare books to be kept in the state’s archive. “Unfortunately, we can’t protect our old works. Actually, everything here should be in the state library, everyone should be able to benefit from them.”
He said people working in the old book bazaar had drawn criticism from people who had said, “Your are no longer bibliopoles, you sell university books.” Sarmusak added, however, that bibliopoles could not earn money unless they sold such books.
Sarmusak also said he had a collection of philosophy books. “I have spent my life gathering this collection. I have spent lots of money and I want to sell it to a university. I have invested in these books but people want to get them for free.”
He complained that many books from the Ottoman era had disappeared in Turkey and said that when people found an old book in their house, they brought it to second hand book sellers.
“Two people came from İzmir. They showed me a book, and I asked how much money they wanted. They said they wanted to learn its value. I said, ‘I don’t know its value but I can give you the same book for 25 Turkish Liras. This book existed in all houses in the Ottoman era.’ The book was on the life of the Prophet Muhammad and maybe it is the most printed book in Turkey after the Quran,” he said.
Professors, writers and students often come for the books, he said.
“I help researchers. I find what they cannot find. This is our business. I have 15,000 rare books in my virtual archive. Students come and I give them their copies,” he said.