John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors, revised and enlarged by Nicolas Barker and Simran Thadani, 9th edition. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2016. 264p., 32 illus. (22 colour and 10 halftones). ISBN 9781584563525. US $29.95 (hardcover).
John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors is without question a book that all serious book historians must read and a book that almost everyone with a genuine interest in books should own. It typically sits nicely on our reference shelves with such staple volumes that remain in the affordable range for all book-aficionados and bibliophiles as Philip Gaskell’s A New Introduction to Bibliography (1972, latest 1995), Fredson Bowers’s Principles of Bibliographical Description (1949, latest 2012), and one or more generalist or specialist study, such as D. C. Greetham’s Textual Scholarship: An Introduction (1992) or David Pearson’s Provenance Research in Book History: A Handbook (1994). Probably, the very serious book historian will own more than one edition of the Carter, as early prints are to be had very easily at book fairs, even at a price agreeable to those of us “poor scholars” (Alan Thomas’s turn of phrase, 86) on a modest income.