31 Aug 2010

Miguel Syjuco, winner of the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize and self-confessed book junkie, shares a shortlist of his favourite booksellers.

Few are the pleasures like finding the ideal. When one searches for objects of quality, we consider design, materials, beauty, and durability. But in the pursuit of good books, something more is necessary. Reading, after all, is intensely intimate. A personal touch is required. That is what makes finding a quality bookstore so pleasurable – visiting feels like slipping on a bespoke suit.

Online and chain retailers excel at what they do; they provide an abundance of options, ease, membership rewards, gift cards, refreshments, and anonymity when we want it. But what of the craftsmanship of experience, the reliability of taste? For that, one looks to certain booksellers, whose job resembles a curator’s as much as a librarian’s. The following are favourites of this particular junkie.

On a picturesque street in central London, flanked by sellers of antiquarian maps, prints, and volumes, Goldsboro Books at 7 Cecil Court is a Mecca. Specialising in first edition, signed books, co-directors David Headley and Daniel Gedeon are enablers to discerning bibliophiles. Regular visitors count on finding a handshake, deep knowledge of the trade, and the passion that precedes a complicit recommendation. International collectors can place orders, while Britons can join the UK’s largest first edition Book-of-the-Month Club. Continue reading »

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