Saturday, Jul 03, 2021
Listen at the link!
How much time is too much time spent talking about booksellers' catalogues? Nigel Beale and I spent an hour and forty-eight minutes discussing them on his book-related podcast The Biblio File. Booksellers' catalogues run the gamut from the simplest of lists mimeographed from a typed original to sumptuously designed and printed works with significant original scholarly research. And yet they remain misunderstood and largely overlooked by many scholars and librarians, viewed as just another piece of mercantile ephemera.
Don Lindgren established Rabelais Books in 2006. We met years ago when I sought him out in Portland to talk about collecting cookbooks. As we parted Don handed me a copy of his first Rabelais catalogue with the big salami on its cover. I've been intrigued with them (bookseller catalogues) ever since. Don has a sizeable collection, and whenever we get together we talk about them. Several months ago we decided to make it formal by devoting an episode of The Biblio File podcast to discussing the design and content of these great and various sales vehicles. I reached out to several booksellers, including Simon Beattie, Heather O'Donnell, Jonathan Hill, Glenn Horowitz, Mark Funke, Biblioctopus and Brian Cassidy, all of whom kindly send me examples of their outstanding work. Then Don and I got down to business.