Sam Cummings is the owner and founder of ScndHndBks – which, incase you’re not able to decipher it from the name, is a business that deals in second hand books.
It’s online and delivery-driven, although customers local to Sam’s base in Wilmslow are able to arrange in-person collections.
I catch up with Sam to discuss the business’ beginnings and its ethos.
Customers mostly engage with ScndHndBks via social media and through its website, where they are able to both browse and buy.
The business was unofficially established in winter 2019, when Sam made the snap decision to register a web domain for ScndHndBks and set up an early rendition of the website.
Sam, 36, explains: “I began to trade in 2020 and have been slowly chugging along ever since.”
She adds: “I have been obsessed with books and reading since I can remember.
“I’m a writer, as well as a digital marketing/customer relationship manager in a digital marketing company.
“When I’m not spending hours of my day on the internet, I’m either reading, writing, eating pasta, or walking my Beagle Juno.”
The business is deliberately pitched towards novels written for young adults – a genre Sam believes has broad appeal.
“I always found that bookshops neglected the children’s and young adult books I was more interested in buying and reading,” she tells me.
“I’d dreamt of setting up a book shop specialising in those particular genres for a long time, but always had it in my head that it was a very-far-into-the-future dream.”
She continues: “It was only when I had a particularly bad head cold and I was potentially a little bit delirious from it that I actually thought I could make it a reality…!
“I’m also a big believer in circular economy and reducing consumer impact and the idea to sell second hand books for children and young adult readers seemed like a perfect fit.”
I ask Sam what the nicest thing about introducing cherished books to people has been for her.
She reveals that she loves meeting like-minded people and readers who love to talk about books.
“There’s something to be gained from every interaction with a book buyer – either a new friendship or even a few book recommendations from them to me!
“Hearing what other people love to read gives me an idea of what people are looking to buy.
“As I hand-pick all the titles we stock, the connections I make with my customers are so important.”
Like a lot of small businesses, finding its feet during the pandemic has been a challenge for ScndHndBks.
However, it’s managed to continue to reach its audience and welcome new customers – many of whom have benefitted emotionally from the opportunity for personal interaction and the chance to indulge in a little literary escapism.
Sam says she tends to receive a lot of praise for the quality and the wide selection of books her business stocks.
Most of all, though, she loves hearing back from customers who have bought gifts for children in their lives and to discover that these were well received.
“As a kid, getting books for gifts was (and still is), the best thing in the world.
“I love hearing that a book I recommended or sold hit the mark,” she enthuses.
The great joy in this particular business comes from the opportunity to give a second lease of life to a novel which might otherwise have been sat gathering dust on a shelf – and of course because in its own small way it’s helping preserve precious natural resources from being depleted.
“Finding books that are no longer wanted and finding them a new home is what it’s all about, and it (hopefully) means keeping books out of the bin.
“Most people don’t know that books can’t be recycled so end up as land-fill fodder which is very sad!”
So, what does the future hold for the business?
“The future of ScndHndBks is forever morphing into new and exciting ideas.
“We are hopefully going to return to the Wilmslow Sustainable Market in the near future, and there’s a dream in place to convert some sort of vehicle into a tiny bookshop on wheels… who knows?
“One thing is for sure; we’ll keep selling books as long as people want to read them!”