Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire

Like many people, I was attracted to Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire through the Sotheran’s twitter account. I’m a former (retail, not rare) bookseller, though, so even if I hadn’t found it through the tweets, I suspect it would’ve found me.

Selling retail books is not the same as selling rare books, and selling retail books before the internet was a thing (as I did) is certainly not the same as selling anything today. Still, I recognized the various kinds of customers Darkshire describes pretty much instantly, as well as what it was like trying to prevent a bookstore from turning into a death trap of obstacles and oddities.

(The best bookstores are death traps, but manageable so.)

Darkshire’s descriptions and explanations are both well-crafted imagery and tightly-written, two things as a writer I struggle to achieve simultaneously as he does. It made me simultaneously miss the book selling trade and grateful that I got out when I did.

Definitely recommended for fellow booksellers, and fellow book lovers.