Photo credit:    visityork.org

Photo credit:  visityork.org

Photo credit:    visityork.org

Photo credit:  visityork.org


Where Is The Seminar?

The seminar is held in the beautiful walled city of York, in the north of England. The venue is The Bar Convent, 17 Blossom Street, York YO24 1AQ. 

It's England's oldest living convent, founded in 1686 as a school for girls and is still home to members of the Congregation of Jesus today. The Grade 1 Listed eighteenth-century buildings house state-of-the-art, newly refurbished conference facilities, an award winning cafe and a highly rated guest house right in the centre of York.

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What's Included In The Price?

The seminar costs £525. The fees cover three days of lectures and demonstrations, instructional materials, a bookshop tour, daily lunches and refreshments and a Wednesday farewell dinner. 

If you are a PBFA bookseller intending to exhibit at the York National Bookfair (which is held just after after the seminar), free secure stock storage located nearby is also included.

The seminar fees also include several free optional extra add-ons in the two days following the seminar. These include a tour of York Minster Cathedral library, an invitation to attend a pre-York Bookfair bookseller's party at Ken Spelman's bookshop, plus a chance to get behind the scenes at the York National Bookfair during set-up. (Please note that if you attend the bookfair set-up and are not already exhibiting, you will not be able to buy books until the fair opens to the public).

As a YABS graduate, you will also have access to special offers to help your bookselling business, including software packages, websites and more. You can find out more on special offers at the bottom of the About YABS page.




The course fees are not inclusive of accommodation and this must be organised by each students. The Bar Convent guest house is great value and books up quickly, so if you plan to stay there, please book as far in advance as possible. www.bar-convent.org.uk

Alternative accommodation options can be found on the Visit York website www.visityork.org.


How Many Places Are There On The Course?

There are a maximum of 28 places available to attend the annual seminar. The course has been fully booked every year to date. Contact YABS directors Anthony or Alice on 0191 2960664 (or mail@keelrowbooks.com or info@yabseminar.com) to be kept informed about last minute places for the 2019 seminar or to express your interest in attending in 2021. The course is not running in 2020, to allow the organisers and faculty time to refresh the seminar cirriculum.



The fees include the cost of daily home-cooked buffet lunches at the Bar Convent, with teas, coffees, fruit and biscuits for mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks. There is a Wednesday evening farewell meal at a local restaurant which is also included in the cost of the seminar. If you have any special dietary requirements, you can tell us on the first morning of the seminar, when all participants are registered and welcomed to the course.


Getting There


By Rail

The Bar Convent is just a few minutes walk from the railway station in York. Getting to York by train is easy, there are direct services from London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and the South West. For information on rail travel, timetables and to book tickets, call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 or visit their website www.nationalrail.co.uk.


By Bus

York can be reached by numerous local, regional and national bus services. Local bus services are detailed here www.firstgroup.com/york. National bus services can be found on www.nationalexpress.com.


By Car

York is mid-way between London and Edinburgh, and within a comfortable driving time of most regions in the UK. It is a 20 minute drive from the M1/M62 motorway network.

There is no car park at the seminar venue (Bar Convent) but there several car parking options close by. The City of York council website has a useful website detailing these www.york.gov.uk/info/200233/car_parks/324/car_parks.


By Air

The nearest large airports are Manchester and London. There are smaller regional airports at Leeds Bradford and Newcastle.  In each instance you would need to complete the journey to York by rail, bus or car.



There are usually between six and eight scholarships available to attend the course. Most of these just cover the fees, though a few also include accommodation, travel or software- please visit the scholarship page for more details.


How Do I Book And Pay?

Please go to our book now page and click on the large YABS symbol. Fill in the pop up registration form, and pay by card. That's it!

If you wish pay or book by alternative means (such as invoiced payment, installments or cheque), please contact us by phone or email to discuss. We’ll do our best to accommodate you.

If you are keen to attend, but can't afford the full fees, please consider applying for a scholarship. There are eight available this year, and they all cover at least the course fees of £525. See the scholarship page for more details.


The 2019 course is now fully booked- will any more places become available?

YABS 2019 is fully booked.

There are just 28 student places on the course each year, and the number of spots are restricted by the size of the main venue conference room. It would be too much of a squash to fit anyone else in!! However, we do usually have one or two students who need to cancel at the last minute. If you'd like to be on the waiting list for one of these places (if they become available) then please get in touch with Alice or Anthony of Keel Row Books on 0191 2960664 or email them on mail@keelrowbooks.com.


Why is YABS not running in 2020?

2020 is going to be a Glastonbury style ‘fallow year’ where the seminar will not be open to students. The whole programme is run on a not-for-profit basis and our hardworking faculty, speakers & organisers will be having a year out to refresh and review the seminar offering. There’s lots to consider after five successful years of running the course! After YABS in September 2019, the next seminar will be 2021.


Seminar Confirmation

Once you have paid your course fees, your place is booked. You'll receive an email within a day or two of booking, acknowledging your payment. We post out confirmation pack with a welcome letter and useful leaflets in June, or within two weeks of booking if you’ve booked after June.




If you need to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible. Cancellations must be confirmed in writing- an email is fine.

If you cancel at any time up to two months before the seminar, you will receive a full fees refund, less a £20 admin fee.

If you cancel between one and two months before the seminar, you will receive a fees refund, less a £100 admin charge which covers the time spent processing your refund and contacting & regsitering people on the waiting list to find someone able to fill your place at the seminar.

If you cancel at any time during the month before the seminar, you will only receive a fees refund if we manage to find someone else willing to take your place at the seminar. If we do manage to find someone to take your place, you will receive your fees, less a £100 charge which covers the time spent processing your refund and refilling your place at the seminar. With just a few weeks before the seminar starts, it can take considerable time to find an alternative student to take up a cancelled place at short notice.

In the highly unlikely event that the whole seminar should have to be cancelled, the liability of York Antiquarian Book Seminar and it's organizers to a potential participant shall be limited to the full refund of course fees received from that student.


Contact Us


Please direct any questions about the seminar to:

Camilla Szymanowska, Secretary
Antiquarian Booksellers Association
6 Bell Yard, London WC2A 2JR
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7421 4681
Fax: +44 (0)20 7421 4641
Email: secretary@aba.org.uk


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