About five years ago I was offered a week’s casual work packing boxes at Maggs Bros and that was it for me. I was so enchanted with the idea that you could make a life of handling, describing and selling this treasure that I did everything I could to make myself useful.
2. What is the first sale you remember making?
The first book I sold with intention rather than by circumstance was an inscribed copy of Tomato Cain by Nigel Kneale. Not a well-known work, and with a modest price tag, I quoted it to a friend who I knew was a huge fan of Kneale’s screenwriting, and he was delighted.
It was my first experience of that hugely rewarding feeling of putting the right book into the right hands.
3. What are buyers focused on at the moment?
Expeditions from the Heroic Age continue to captivate and inspire – we get a lot of enquiries about Antarctic exploration at our shop in Curzon Street.
We also have a few customers building really interesting collections of travel books focused on noncanonical voices.
4. How has the market changed since you’ve been dealing?
A lot of my colleagues have been doing this job since before I was born, so I daren’t hold forth on changes in the market at large.
However, there’s a promising resurgence at the moment of physical bookshops and I think the next generation has an understanding of material culture that perhaps dipped in the early years of the internet.
5. One rule you live by?
Always wear comfortable shoes. It’s so much harder to take care of business when your feet hurt.
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