A surprisingly saucy book commissioned by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) to celebrate their centenary has become an unlikely hit, and is having to be reprinted to meet demand.
Out of Print and into Profit, an authoritative history of the rare book trade in Britain from 1906 to 2006, looks at the enormous changes that took place over two world wars and the technology revolution.
Editor Giles Mandelbrote of the British Library marshalled an impressive list of contributors for the book, from academics and book historians to the doyens of the trade, whose candid quotes added considerable spice.
One dealer recalled that “not everybody in the ABA was a bastard, but all the bastards he met were in the ABA”, while a bookseller from 84 Charing Cross Road was quoted describing having sex with his wife and it being interrupted by a client’s phone call.
The added racy flavour helped it get noticed outside the trade press, a rare feat for such a title, and it was reviewed extensively in The Spectator, Country Life and the TLS, leading to a flood of orders from all over the world.
Out of Print and into Profit costs £30 and is available from the ABA and the British Library.
• The ABA held elections for 2007 and 2008 at their general meeting in Edinburgh on March 24, which coincided with the Edinburgh Book Fair.
They elected Alan Shelley of Bow Windows Book Shop in Lewes as ABA President.
“The ABA has had an outstanding Centenary year and I really look forward to leading it into its second century,” said Mr Shelley. “The association is in good shape financially and with almost all places booked for the Olympia Bookfair in June we can look forward to the next 12 months with optimism.”
Ian Smith, of Bernard Quaritch Ltd, was elected Vice President; Jonathan Potter Honorary Treasurer, and Tim Bryars of Tim Bryars Ltd and Brian Lake of Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers were elected as members of Council.
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