Barcelona, Spain, May 6 (EFE).- After suffering from a heart attack that nearly cost him his life, Albert Costa, 83, had to make a decision on what to do with his collection of 12,000 books.
“One day I was walking around the neighborhood and suddenly I was knocked out. The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital. Since then, I decided that my books could not stay at home,” the retired engineer tells Efe.
The shocking episode led to Costa opening up a bookstore in his neighborhood in Barcelona where he sells the books he has accumulated in his over 80 years of life.
Costa’s passion for books and literature started at just 10 years old, when he moved into his grandfather’s house, which was full of books.
“When I was 20 years old, I devoured novels. I remember that for a while I couldn’t stop reading Somerset Maugham, although later I opted for books on history, anthropology and art, especially African art,” he says.
His interest in African art drove him to travel across the continent and collect thousands of books and art pieces.
Earlier this month, he sold a copy of a Gabonese piece of art for 1,000 euros.
His collection is so extensive that it has aroused the interest of customers from an array of countries and even made him open an online store to sell his books.
“I have no idea how many books I have read throughout my life. I’m great at pecking at chapters, I’m not used to reading whole books,” he admits.
Among the works on his bookstore’s shelves are copies of African art, history, anthropology and novels, among others.
“If a book is in bad condition, its price will obviously be lower than the original. On the other hand, if it is good and intact, I usually adapt the price to the dignity of the book.”
Costa plans to continue selling books, although he admits that if his health permits, he would continue to travel the world and collect them.
“They will take me from this bookstore straight to the grave. Maybe on the way I’ll pass by the hospital, but this is going to be the route. As I don’t know if I have much longer until I go to the other side, I want to get rid of my books, especially to save my son some work,” he says. EFE