Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller

Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller

by Oliver Darkshire
Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller

Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller

by Oliver Darkshire


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Notes From Your Bookseller

This is a delightfully witty trip through the unique world of bookselling by a former bookseller (and blogger) at Southeran's, one of London's oldest established antiquarian bookshops. Oliver Darkshire offers tales of an accidental career, low pay, idiosyncratic colleagues, ghosts, and customers good, bad and bewildering. Once Upon a Tome is a love letter to booksellers and bibliophiles.

National bestseller
An Inc. Non-Obvious Book Awards winner • A Literary Hub and BookPage Most Anticipated Book of 2023

Welcome to Sotheran’s, one of the oldest bookshops in the world, with its weird and wonderful clientele, suspicious cupboards, unlabeled keys, poisoned books, and some things that aren’t even books, presided over by one deeply eccentric apprentice.

Some years ago, Oliver Darkshire stepped into the hushed interior of Henry Sotheran Ltd (est. 1761) to apply for a job. Allured by the smell of old books and the temptation of a management-approved afternoon nap, Darkshire was soon unteetering stacks of first editions and placating the store’s resident ghost (the late Mr. Sotheran, hit by a tram).

A novice in this ancient, potentially haunted establishment, Darkshire describes Sotheran’s brushes with history (Dickens, the Titanic), its joyous disorganization, and the unspoken rules of its gleefully old-fashioned staff, whose mere glance may cause the computer to burst into flames. As Darkshire gains confidence and experience, he shares trivia about ancient editions and explores the strange space that books occupy in our lives—where old books often have strong sentimental value, but rarely a commercial one.

By turns unhinged and earnest, Once Upon a Tome is the colorful story of life in one of the world’s oldest bookshops and a love letter to the benign, unruly world of antiquarian bookselling, where to be uncommon or strange is the best possible compliment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781324092070
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/14/2023
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 8,429
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

OLIVER DARKSHIRE (@DeathByBadger) is an antiquarian bookseller at Henry Sotheran Ltd, and the voice of @Sotherans twitter account. He lives in Manchester, England, with his husband and his neglectfully curated collection of books.
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