2017 Seminar Review
I have recently attended the York Antiquarian Book Seminar (YABS). I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was hoping to reaffirm things I already knew and to learn about things that I didn’t, so that I could improve and ultimately expand my fledgling business.
YABS exceeded my expectations. It was a real joy to meet so many people that were just as passionate about books as I am. I currently spend most of my days occupying a very small corner of the internet, kept company by my books and my cats, with the odd e-mail from a customer. My interactions with fellow book enthusiasts are often limited to my forays into auction houses where I am usually preoccupied with rummaging through shelves and books. It can be rather insular existence so I really enjoyed listening to the different accounts of experiences in the book trade from the speakers and their different approaches to selling books. One of the maxims that stood out for me was along the lines of ‘all advice is good advice, it’s just finding the pieces of advice that work for you’.
The talks varied from personal accounts to more technical information regarding cataloguing a book and identifying printing techniques and bindings. A workbook was provided that contained a lot of information further to what was discussed, as well as two further books: ‘ABC for Book Collectors’ by John Carter and ‘Cataloguing for Booksellers’ by Laurence Worms. Particularly memorable was on the last day when Charles Cox gave a captivating talk on archives where I’m quite sure his passion for them spilled over to the whole room despite the painstaking labour and attention to detail that is clearly involved.The atmosphere was friendly and open. Questions were encouraged which helped to foster a great learning environment where everyone whatever their experience could flourish.
I am very grateful for the PBFA scholarship which enabled me to attend. I feel that I have learned so much in such a short amount of time that will be of great benefit to me and help me to grow my business. I would like to give thanks to the ILAB mentorship programme that paired me with Tom Lintern-Mole from Antiquates. This has been really beneficial and completely worthwhile. It was Tom who told me about YABS and gave me the confidence to apply for the scholarship. I think it is great that there are these initiatives available to help new booksellers find their feet and grow within the industry.