by Matt Ball, Publishing Director of Antiques Trade Gazette
As Pom Harrington, chairman of Firsts: London’s Rare Book Fair, puts it, “the key challenge today is how do we get the new generation of buyers who have bought from the internet to come away from the screen and see the book first hand in the marketplace”.
One solution is to make it a little easier to visit all of this year’s major fairs that are part of Rare Books London: Firsts, the PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair, the London Map Fair and the Bloomsbury Summer Fair.
Previously attending the four key London fairs for bibliophiles required two or more separate visits to the capital. In 2019, for the first time, the quartet of complementary events will be held from June 6-9. With some judicious planning, it will be possible to ‘do book week’ in three days.
Of course, accessibility is not just a question of visiting hours. Helped by active associations that are willing to tackle even thorny issues such as provenance – and successfully face down Amazon-owned AbeBooks – the rare book trade is successfully shedding any perception that collecting the products of centuries of human thought and creativity is somehow ‘old-fashioned’.
The market is evolving both in terms of its ‘mainstream’ subject matter and the nuances of approach. Two aspects of the collecting zeitgeist – books written by women and historical recipes – are among the topics covered in the recent Antiques Trade Gazette Books, Maps & Prints supplement. So, too, is the observation that the arrival of ‘new’ fields of map collecting might just be encouraging buyers to look at ‘traditional’ favourites in a different way.
This is the fourth year we have produced a dedicated Books, Maps & Prints supplement and it is also the fourth consecutive year that ATG is sponsoring Rare Books London. We are delighted to support this festival which this year runs from June 6 to June 9. It has become an anchor point for dealers, collectors and auctioneers and a wonderful celebration of this vibrant sector. Long may it continue.
Publishing Director, Antiques Trade Gazette
As part of ATG’s commitment to supporting the growth of the industry, Antiques Trade Gazette is sponsoring Rare Books London 2019. For further information, visit:
Image Credit: Jonkers Rare Books. The manuscript of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit was rejected by six publishers. Undeterred, she published it herself in December 1901, and sold out of the first 250 copies within a fortnight. As a result, Frederick Warne did a U-turn and gave her a contract. This copy, one of the first 250, is with Jonkers Rare Books at £35,000.