Friday, November 18, 2016

Book Catalogue Covers

In the past we have had a look a the front covers of book catalogues by a number of different booksellers including, of course, Jacqueline Wesley. It's always interesting to see what images booksellers use to attract us in to their wares: I have had to make such decisions myself on many occasions and it is not always easy.

This small group came my way the other day, the first 5(ish) catalogues issued by Delectus Books; unlike many booksellers mentioned on this blog Delectus are still going strong and are now quite a dominant force in 'our kind of books'. This is their own description of themselves:

"Delectus began in 1988 and are now the world`s leading dealers and publishers of erotica, sexology and curiosa. In addition we now stock books on Judaica, Islam and the Middle East, Criminology, Law, Policing & True Crime, Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Medicine & Health, Anthropology, Folklore & Ethnology (Latin America, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Ireland), Politics, Sociology, Education, Economics & Social History, Decadence, Literature, Poetry, Theatre, Symbolists, Surrealism & the 1890s, Occult, Astrology, Spiritualism, Theology, Theosophy, Drugs, Alcohol and Addiction, Gothic, Horror, Fantasy, Vampires & Werewolves and similar subject areas. Our current printed catalogue of Erotica & Sexology can be E-mailed on request. Please note we are an internet and mail order business only. We supply books to collectors, academics and institutions such as the British Library, The Wellcome Institute, The University of California and other libraries around the world. We also supply images, text, and film for magazine publication, TV and film and also provide research and information service for TV and Radio."

You can browse and/or search their stock from their current abebooks seller page.

It is traditional when flicking through old book catalogues to find a book whose price seems a 'steal' and sigh wistfully at what you might have to pay for it today. In this instance though we can be even more amused to discover a book in catalogue six from 1992 (14 years ago) which you might have bought for £20; a very scarce and small pamphlet of poems by Frieda Harris, the woman who created the artwork for Aleister Crowley's "Thoth Tarot". Then we discover that the same bookseller lists it again today (no way of knowing if it is the same copy) for £400. And who says that books aren't an investment!?

It is easy to be wry and cynical about such things of course but actually old book catalogues are invaluable, particularly within niche subjects and I have already found reference to four or five books here that I had never heard of and know I will have to track down in the near future.

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