The love of books

Sometimes the love of books is an admirable thing. Other times it can wreak havoc, as in the case of Thomas Frognall Dibdin, whose Bibliomania (the obsessive illness rather than the book of that name) left his family destitute – at least, it would have done if Earl Spencer hadn’t insured the wretched Dibdin’s life for a large sum, which he handed to the family. In the case of some of those Dibdin writes about, there is little doubt that they were in the grip of book-madness. In the fairly near future we intend to publish the same author's Bibliophobia, a darker work written at a time when the book world was changing fast.

In the case of William Blades, bibliophilia was more benign. His Enemies of Books is a delight to read. Likewise, Richard de Bury’s Philobiblon shows the better side of book collecting.

The Bibliomania or Book-Madness

The Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin

A new annotated edition of this extraordinary classic of bibliophilia, bibliophobia, bibliosophia, bibliography and Bibliomania. A must for all book-collectors, bibliophiles, librarians, biblio­graphers and, of course, bibliomaniacs. The casual reader will also find much to entertain him.

The text of this edition is based on that of the first edition of 1809 which is shorter and livelier than the later editions. The book gives a fascinating insight into antiquarianism and book-collecting over several centuries. Dibdin refers to many eighteenth-century book sales and notes the prices which some of the books achieved. Copious notes and an index are provided.

‘If the editor has allowed himself to become as Dibdinesque as his subject, then it is all part of the fun of a work where references and citations run back and forth like so many ink rollers on a printing press.’ Rare Book Review
‘a usefully annotated edition’ Financial Times

Hbk published 2004   264pp   Hbk   List Price £25.00   ISBN 978-1-904799-01-6

Pbk published 2007   264pp   Pbk   List Price £9.99   ISBN 978-1-904799-17-7

Enemies of Books

William Blades

The wittiest commentary on book-collecting and the care of books ever written, Blades’s Enemies of Books enummerates the enemies as: Fire; Water; Gas and Heat; Dust and Neglect; Ignorance and Bigotry; The Bookworm; Other Vermin; Bookbinders; Collectors; Servants and Children. This new and corrected edition adds an article on Librarians as Enemies of Books, an Introduction, a biography of Blades, and many helpful notes.

William Blades (1824–1890) was a printer and bibliographer. His Life of Caxton revolutionised our understanding of the first English printer.

Get it on Apple Books

Published 2009   180pp   Pbk   List Price £8.50   ISBN 978-1-904799-36-8

The Love of Books, Being the Philobiblon of Richard de Bury

Translated by E. C. Thomas

Richard de Bury’s Philobiblon, completed in 1345, is the great medieval treatise on the love of books. He was an obsessive book-collector who argued that no price should hinder someone from buying books. However, unlike many later bibliomaniacs, he appreciated them for their true value, as a sources of wisdom, rather than as merely artefacts.

Richard de Bury (1281–1345) was one of the most powerful and influential men of his age. He was High Chancellor of England from 1334 to 1335 and Treasurer from 1335. However, it was as Bishop of Durham that he was in his true element, and it was in this role that his book-collecting can be seen as a most philanthropic venture, building up a store of knowledge for present and future generations.

Published 2009   160pp   Pbk   List Price £9.00   ISBN 978-1-904799-41-2