Ed Lake of Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers

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1. How did you get your start?

Pure nepotism! I’m a second-generation bookseller; both of my parents are still fully involved with the business.

2. How has the market changed since you’ve been dealing?

In general it has narrowed. Customers are looking for ‘high spots’ and ‘one-offs’, manuscripts, annotated and presentation copies, scarce publications and ephemera.

As the internet has helped to devalue (and make unsaleable) great swathes of books, it has also helped in pushing prices up for the rarest of items. ‘Find me another one’ is the expression of the age. The result is that now, many dealers now can carry their entire stock in one super-sized suitcase.

3. What is one way you would like to see it change?

I’d like to see a trade-wide effort to encourage younger buyers of all backgrounds to the market. Books, because of a nostalgia for the physical rather than the digital, are very appealing to a younger audience.

Despite this, we don’t appear to be able to tap into that enthusiasm on a wider scale. A £10 purchase by a young collector today could become a £1000 purchase in the future.

4. Do you use the internet and/or social media as a commercial device? If so, how?

We use Twitter and Instagram to let our customers know what we are up to. We try not to actively offer books for sale on social media; it’s more a portal of information and amusement.

5. Real ale or espresso martini?

Gin gimlet.

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