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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.  

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Getting On The Ladder

100% pure bookseller angst. 

When I visit a new bookstore, I demand cleanliness, computer monitors, and rigorous alphabetization. When I visit a secondhand bookstore, I prefer indifferent housekeeping, sleeping cats, and sufficient organizational chaos.
- Anne Fadiman

So, you want to get into the book trade? Old books, musty cupboards, lingering systemic sexism - sounds ideal, right? Well, then you'll need to master a few key traits to make you stick out from the crowd:

PENETRATING STARE: You know that look librarians give you when you make too much noise? Be prepared to throw that one at people all the time. They key is prolonged eye contact, without a hint of amusement. Bonus points for a momentary brow furrow as if to say "People? In my store? What the devil could they be after?"

CAVALIER ATTITUDE TOWARDS LONGEVITY: Health & Safety regulations aren't expected to reach antiquarian bookstores until the late 2050s, so be prepared to scale ladders held together by hope and prayers across piles of books with sharp edges and spines on the cover. Exposed wiring is just a quirk. That rustling you heard in the basement probably isn't something TOO feral. What larks, Pip.

HATE EVERYONE: Remember kids, it's not discrimination as long as you despise everyone equally. 

TWEED: Or some kind of antiquated quirk, like a fobwatch or a penny farthing. If you don't have your unnecessary bookseller paraphernalia then what's even the point? If anyone mentions it, you must casually dismiss it as an unremarkable part of your daily lifestyle before promptly leaving to go and browse ugly lamps at a car boot sale. 

TREAT CHILDREN LIKE ANIMALS: Part of the job is leering at children as if they were rats that you aren't allowed to put out traps to exterminate. It's nothing personal. 

CATEGORY IS: It's mandatory to have no idea what you have in stock, or where it could possibly be. All inquiries down this avenue must be met with an arch stare and a riddle. 


[Enter CUSTOMER, through door. BOOKSELLER is at desk, reading through his half-moon glasses]

[CUSTOMER sidles over to desk. It is deadly quiet. The stuffed owl on the desk stares ominously down.]

CUSTOMER: Um, excuse me?
BOOKSELLER (wearily): Yes?
CUSTOMER: I'm looking for a book, can you help me?
BOOKSELLER: [sighs in a manner of great forbearance] I suppose so. What were you looking for?
CUSTOMER: Oh, a gift for a friend. They like Austen, Bronte, you know, that kind of thing.

[BOOKSELLER gives CUSTOMER a long stare, as if to suggest this is either a request of too great or too little difficulty, but one in which they have no interest either way.]

BOOKSELLER: [waves towards shelves] Over there somewhere.

CUSTOMER: Oh. Um, ok. Between those two precariously balanced copies of War and Peace?

[CUSTOMER exits stage RIGHT. There is a scream from CUSTOMER, and the sound of a collapsing shelf. BOOKSELLER goes back to reading.]