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One solution is to make it a little easier to visit all of this year’s major fairs that are under the Rare Books London umbrella: Firsts - London’s Rare Book Fair, the PBFA London Antiquarian Book Fair, the London Map Fair and the Bloomsbury Summer Book Fair.

Previously attending the four key London fairs for bibliophiles required two or more separate visits to the capital. In 2019, for the first time, the quartet of complementary events will be held from June 6-9. With some judicious planning, it will be possible to ‘do book week’ in three days.

Of course, accessibility is not just a question of visiting hours. Helped by active associations that are willing to tackle even thorny issues such as provenance (see page 24) – and impressively face down Amazonowned AbeBooks – the rare book trade is successfully shedding any perception that collecting the products of centuries of human thought and creativity is somehow ‘old-fashioned’.

The market is evolving both in terms of its ‘mainstream’ subject matter and the nuances of approach. Two aspects of the collecting zeitgeist – books written by women (see page 16) and historical recipes (see page 26) – are among the topics covered here. So, too, is the observation that the arrival of ‘new’ fields of map collecting might just be encouraging buyers to look at ‘traditional’ favourites in a different way (see page 20).

This is the fourth year we have produced this publication and it is also the fourth consecutive year that ATG is sponsoring Rare Books London. We are delighted to support this festival. It has become an anchor point for dealers, collectors and auctioneers and a wonderful celebration of his vibrant sector. Long may it continue.

Matt Ball is Publishing Director of Antiques Trade Gazette

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ATG is proud to be an official sponsor of Rare Books London 2019.