Musings on the Spines of Books

A look at what the names on book spines actually relate to.


Lewis Carroll- The Perfectionist

Last Friday it was Lewis Carroll's birthday and The Guardian published an article about his fondness of mathematics.  An author is stereotypically seen as a creative, someone who likes words more than numbers.  Whilst that may be true in cases, there are those that do/did break the mould. I wanted to write about another side … Continue reading Lewis Carroll- The Perfectionist

Found- The Connection Between Wine And Books.

Forget cake.  The non-book product that is always present at book launches is wine.  Even if you don't drink it or are actually working (booksellers usually) you will see glasses half-full perched precariously on the tables of beautiful book displays.  Sometimes, unluckily you will spill some on a paperback and then have to buy it … Continue reading Found- The Connection Between Wine And Books.

‘First With The News!’

Of all the books on publishing and the book industry of old I have read, my favourite in terms of appearance is the biography of W.H.Smith- it even has a horse and cart on the front, driver in a rush, possibly to be first with the news.  Maybe it's actually Smith himself. It's a nice … Continue reading ‘First With The News!’

1899- Map of the City for Publishers

It's 1899 and you are attending a publishing conference. What the hell did people do at those things before twitter? The conference people (It was an International publishing congress in case you wondered) give you this map.  It tells us that two very important buildings were Stationers' Hall and the Guildhall (that was where the … Continue reading 1899- Map of the City for Publishers

A Wheel for Books?

This week I bring you a guest post written by Victoria Brown. Victoria studied History at Cambridge and as part of this completed a module on the early modern book trade. Any bookworm knows the age old problem of reading too many books at once. Where can you keep them all?  You can’t quite seem … Continue reading A Wheel for Books?

Burning Books?

In a Publishers' Circular of the late 19th century someone decided to produce this handy guide on burned books, concerning when, where and, importantly which titles met their fate.  Just the fact that this book was published shows that book burning had once been widespread.  In the same way that we have tweets and social media, … Continue reading Burning Books?

Sitting a Stationery Exam

      I love second-hand books for giving me the chance to find lost things.  Old bookmarks, photos, library cards, recipes and newspaper cuttings. Even dried flowers.  This time I found an original off-pink exam paper from 1931. Double-sided with the heading "The Stationer's association of Great Britain and Ireland". The exam was for … Continue reading Sitting a Stationery Exam

Publishing Computer Books

Publishing News was a trade magazine that ran from 1979 to 2008. It closed because of lack of advertising revenue at a time when digital was starting to infiltrate the media industry. Publishers were experimenting with newer ways to get their books to readers and the trade and traditional advertising may not have seemed as … Continue reading Publishing Computer Books

A Trade Show with Hidden Purpose

I came across an interesting advert in The Bookseller magazine, dated September 1st 1898, inviting the trade to attend a trade show I have not heard of before: "The Book, News, Stationery, Fancy and Printing Trades Exhibition" held between 13th-24th October 1898. The organizers have their very Victorian portraits at the top of the advert … Continue reading A Trade Show with Hidden Purpose