As one of a series of informal talks organised at the Battersea Book Fair in May, I was asked to talk about the growing number of Women in the Book Trade. Over the last few years, the Antiquarian book trade has benefitted significantly from the recruitment of a number of highly intelligent, articulate, and passionate young women, who have either joined some of our larger established firms, or else have set up under their own steam. The drive of this younger generation of trailblazers, who are more attuned to calling out inequality and imbalance, is certainly helping us to find our ‘collective voice’ and women in the trade are certainly being listened to more, though the trade has not been without many influential book women over the years, and in my talk I attempted to highlight some of the leading lights of our profession – both past and present. What struck me, as I put the talk together, was just how many women dealers are operating at the very top of their fields, and who are respected for their expertise, wealth of experience and knowledge, honesty and integrity. Apologies to all of those who I may not have mentioned.
I am delighted to be exhibiting at the ABA Rare Book Fair London, being held for the first time at Battersea Evolution. I will be at stand P02 and very much look forward to welcoming those of you able to attend.
Admission is free of charge, though to download tickets and for more information about the fair please go to:
Thursday 24 – Saturday 26 May 2018
Queenstown Road, London SW8 4NW
My books have left, and snow permitting, I will be joining them next week! Very much looking forward to welcoming visitors to Booth C26. I am once again sharing with my colleague Leo Cadogan. The fair runs from March 8th-March 11th at the iconic Park Avenue Armory.
Friday 17th November 16.00 – 20.00
Saturday 18th November 12.00 – 19.00
Sunday 19th November 12.00 – 16.00
Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Central Ferry Pier No.8, Man Kwong St
Less than a week to go until INK FAIR London – one of the newest and most exciting rare book and art events in the country. Around thirty dealers will once again be exhibiting at Two Temple Place, the wonderful Gothic mansion on the Embankment, and only a short walk from Temple Tube Station.
To obtain a complimentary general admission ticket please type in the following in your search engine: inkfair.london/Coltham
Autumn Miscellany – is a short list of some of the items on display.
I am very proud to announce that I have been elected to stand on the ABA Council. I look forward to working together with colleagues to help promote our wonderful profession.
I am delighted to announce that my books have now set off for the prestigious New York Antiquarian Book Fair term paper next week. I can be found at Booth C31 and it would be lovely to meet you if you are able to attend. Please contact me if you would like a ticket.
The fair takes place at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue & 67th Street, New York City.
Recent Acquisitions List (a fair list in disguise):
Short title list of the items on display: NYShorttitle
For more details of the fair please go to:
www.nybookfair.com #NYAB17 & @NYBOOKFAIR
Ten years – I can’t quite believe it. If asked when I began to trade under my own banner, I would be hard pushed to tell you an exact day, but my VAT registration certificate arrived in early July 2006, a missive which at the time seemed horribly grown-up and official. This is it, I thought. I am a registered small business owner – now what! Some 3500 books, five catalogues expertly designed by the wonderful Tony Kitzinger, numerous lists both printed and electronic, and several fairs in Seattle, California, New York, Olympia, and Chelsea later, I think I am finally beginning to find my feet.
But only just. It has been quite a learning curve, sometimes rather a vertiginous one, and continues to be so, especially in these interesting times. 2016 was quite a year to celebrate my aluminium anniversary! Yet our fascinating, varied, and wonderful trade, has weathered innumerable troughs and peaks over the centuries, and will continued to change and adapt I am sure. When I started working for Pickering & Chatto in 1994, as apprentice to Rebecca Hardie in the Science and Medicine department, we had one computer which handled the newish fad called ‘emailing’. We still prized the historic card archive, and the excitement engendered at the sound of the fax machine coming to life – all hoping for an order to emerge. Heady days! Research was carried out at either the British or London Library, supported by the extensive Pickering reference library. How did you all survive without Google and Wikipedia I hear some of your cry. Perfectly adequately, thank you very much – though I never ceased to be amazed by what one can now learn and discover at the tap of a keyboard. In truth I would be lost without the internet now – for me my main purchasing avenue, being rather bad at getting out on the road and visiting auctions and other booksellers. Whilst it has been a way of doing business which has personally served me well to date, I am resolved going forward to try and get ‘out and about’ more.
Pickering and Chatto has proved to be a fertile training ground, as it were, for independent booksellers over the years, a fact which back in 2006 was very inspirational and encouraging. Christopher Edwards, Roger Gaskell, Amanda Hall, Susanne Schulz-Falster, Rebecca Hardie, and many others, all set a benchmark towards which I still aim at, and hope to aspire too, in terms of bibliographical expertise, erudition, professionalism, and just being very good at what they do! I was very lucky when I started out to have a lot of help and support, from not only my friends at Pickering itself, but from other colleagues both in the UK and in Europe, who were willing to either give me cataloguing work, or were willing to let me take things on commission. The bookselling community on the whole is incredibly supportive and collegiate, and the list of people who provided a guiding hand, or let me bend their ear, is far too long to mention. Slowly but surely the size and quality of my stock increased and improved. The small local fairs led to my first international foray at the Seattle fair, followed by ABA and ILAB membership and thus access to larger International book-fairs. One or two fortuitous finds and collections (i.e. with healthier profit-margins) led to further stock expansion. New customers emerged, new trade relationships were formed, so that I find myself, somehow, 10 years on and still in business.
Moments of self-doubt – as they say I have had a few. But then I am sure that even the most thick-skinned and bullish of our colleagues will have had their fair share of navel gazing. For those starting out in the trade today, rest assured that there will always be someone in the trade who will provide a reassuring shoulder and word when needed. I think it is so encouraging that we have such a healthy intake of young and entrepreneurial booksellers entering all arenas of the profession at the moment, be it joining established firms, or setting up as sole traders, and some even braving opening shops. Even more encouraging that so many are bright and articulate women. Their willingness to embrace social media and new mediums is inspirational, and helps to keep me on my toes.
As to the next 10 years. Well I hope that there are another 10 years! I love my job. I love being my own boss, and the flexibility that it gives me. The cash flow issues, occasional sleepless nights, and the odd week eating war-time rations are far outweighed by the delight in finding an unusual item, my love of researching and discovering new things, helping to conserve items of cultural and historical significance, and the immense satisfaction one gets when a customer writes to excitedly tell you about their new purchase taking pride of place on a bookshelf, or is being used by a scholar, or becomes the subject of an academic blog. My close ‘non-bookselling’ friends (‘muggles’ by any other name surely) think I have the best job in the world, though there are also a fair few who continue to ask if I ‘still dabble in books’ and if I do it full-time. To which I reply, ‘it keeps me solvent and pays my mortgage’. It is much more than that: more importantly it continues to be a passion, and one which I fully intend to carry on with.
Only a couple of days to go until the opening of this new fair. Please find below a link to my fair catalogue containing 43 items.
The fair has received some excellent covering this week, including the article below featured in the Financial Times
The link below will take you to the fair catalogue, providing a taster of some of the amazing items on display.