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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

5 ways to stop a vanishing book

It's spring in the bookstore, which basically means we're forced to admit we've lost half the stock as the auditors begin to circle overhead like vultures with cries of "but how could you lose it, it has 23 volumes?"

I don't know how we lost it, Susan, that's kind of the problem. 

FATHER: did you find that book yet?
BELLE: [sings] it could be anywheeeere
FATHER: this is why everyone in town hates you

About this time of year, you can expect to see booksellers bustling about the place carrying great big spreadsheets and looking confused. Some departments are more organized than others. Over in Literature, I'll admit we discover about 50 books every year we'd presumed missing or dead and Travel is a nightmare because the books are rather appropriately scattered to the four winds in nomadic tribes, whereas the print department is run with something of an autocratic zeal. The process involves a lot of cursing, cries of "oh I can't believe it" and discontented pooting. [If you encounter a bookseller in this state, the best thing to do is curl up in the foetal position and protect your head and neck.] This yearly ritual of pain means we're something of an authority on misplacing books, and no-one can better understand the pain of looking around to see the book you put down two seconds ago has vanished. 

With this in mind, here are our top five tips for keeping those pesky books in place.

1. Chain them to the shelves. Don't be afraid to go a little medieval and show your books you mean business. Shackle them to the shelves with a heavy metal chain so they can't go walkabouts.
1a. Safeword is "colophon".
1b. Don't lose the key.

2. Hire a Bodyguard. They need to be trained in standing about for long periods of time and glaring quietly at people. Bonus points if they are proficient in close-quarters letter opener combat.
2a. Don't hire anyone called Book McBookthief. 

3. Cages. If you lock cages over the shelves, the worst they can do is shuffle themselves out of order. If the cages are large enough, you can get any of your relatives you don't like in there too, which kills two birds with one stone.
3a. We do not advocate violence against birds.
3b. Except for pigeons. They are an urban menace.
3c. And maybe the occasional turkey.

4. Curses. If you curse your books in Latin, it has a 10% chance of deterring thieves. 
4a. Unfortunately, nowadays this only affects thieves who went to private school, so your mileage may vary.
4b. This increases to 30% if the curse involves some variation on being burned eternally by demons in the afterlife. 

5. Inaccessible Bookcase. Let's see those books disappear when they're suspended above a pit of boiling lava.
5a. This may damage your books. 
5b. Sotherans accepts no liability for books or book collectors damaged in lava related accidents. 

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Japanese Winter Landscapes

Japanese Winter Landscape Prints

Exhibition 7th–24th December 2018

Sotheran's Christmas Fair

on Thursday 6th December
Find something extra special at Sotheran's

Sotheran’s Christmas Fair 

2 Sackville Street, London, W1S 3DP
Drinks & Mince Pies from 1pm
Personalised Hand Caligraphed Note Cards with every book purchase over £50
The Bookshop Band will be playing a selection of folksongs with a bookish theme from 6pm

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Vintage Travel Posters

Our annual Vintage Travel Posters exhibition starts today, 8th November, until the 29th.
The private view was enjoyed last night by around eighty people, customers and friends old and new.
Always popular, this year we have a particularly great selection of posters with the star of the show this fabulous and rare 1930s British Airways advertisement. It's already sold I'm afraid, but you can still see it at the exhibition until 29th November.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Flotsam & Jargon

The Bookseller in his natural form, after the sun goes down.

All that bookseller jargon can get pretty confusing. So many evasive euphemisms flying around that it can seem like it's hard to get a straight answer from anyone in the book trade. Because we're very helpful and want only the best for you, we've put together a little glossary of terms below of common things you'll hear booksellers say in stores, and what they actually mean:

"It's not one of our strengths"
TRANSLATION: We've never heard of that before. You are a crazy person. Definitely not something we can and/or intend to help with. 

"My concern is the condition."
TRANSLATION: The book is a lost cause. Couldn't get more damaged if you threw it into a meat grinder. Hell, that might even be the best place for it. 

"You should try X bookstore instead. Sounds like their thing."
TRANSLATION: We hate that bookstore, and like to send them people who they definitely can't help in return for some long-forgotten slight. 

"Please, look around."
TRANSLATION: I haven't heard another human speak in 3 weeks. I'll put up with you for 5 minutes, so I can remind myself why I locked the door in the first place. 

"My margin isn't very high on this one. Can't do much of a discount."
TRANSLATION: You'll claw a discount from my cold, dead, mummified fingers. 

"Oh, of course. It's lovely to see you."
TRANSLATION: I have no idea who you are. I'm stalling for time. Help.

"Kind offer, but not for us, i'm afraid."
TRANSLATION: Get thy demonic book hence, before I call a priest to exorcise it. 

"Let me help you with that."
TRANSLATION: You have the look of a book destroying maniac, and I don't want to take a chance. You might be a murderer, an arsonist, or worse one of those people who folds corners in things they read.