It's no surprise to anyone that I love books. I love reading them. I love collecting them. I love them as physical objects, but I also love them for their personal histories. I love them for the story they tell outside the realm of their pages.
The books pictured above belong to my mum. They were her's when she was a little girl. They are for the most part, mass market editions of children's classics, and I adore them. I don't think I've read a single one of them (at least not these particular editions) but they are something I will treasure and keep with me always. They tell her social history. They were much loved and often read by her and much like my own books they have remained in pretty good physical condition, as my mum takes good care of her possessions (a trait she has passed on to me).
To me, these books accurately represent the decade my mum grew up in, her tastes and her personality. To me, they are priceless.
Of course I have a personal attachment to these books and since they were owned by my mum I know their history from a first hand source but vintage books in general can tell a similar story. They may not have quite as much personal resonance if you didn't physically know the original owner but in general you can tell a lot from second hand books, even if it's simply that a book was loved in it's previous life.
The majority of my books are made up of new editions. My vintage book collection is small but my love for it is strong, each volume is a little piece of someone else's past and that in itself is something special.