These books are perennial Oak Knoll best-sellers: the ten titles we’ve published that have sold the most copies in the past ten years. Check them out, if you haven’t already—they’ve been well vetted and have withstood the test of time!
10. An Elegant Hand, The Golden Age of American Penmanship by William E. Henning. We published this book in 2002 and went back to the presses in 2006. As well as appealing to those who study calligraphy, this book has sold to a surprising market—homeschooling parents who want their kids to learn classical penmanship.
9. Historical Scripts from Classical Times to the Renaissance by Stan Knight. The Oak Knoll edition was first published in 1998 and reprinted in 2003 and 2009. Another great title on calligraphy, this is the only Oak Knoll title so far to be translated and published in Japan. Stan Knight is currently working on a companion volume on Historical Types.
8. Headbands, How to Work Them by Jane Greenfield and Jenny Hille. We published this in 1990 and have reprinted it five times since. This one is a surprise best-seller—who would’ve thought a book on such a specific topic (how to make a headband, that little strip of cotton or silk at the top and bottom of a spine) would be so popular! This book was recently translated and published in France.
7. ABC of Bookbinding by Jane Greenfield. Published in 1998 and reprinted in 2002 and 2007. Jane Greenfield is the only author to have two titles on the best-sellers list. She takes apart the structure of the book, defining and illustrating almost every conceivable part. A great reference book.
6. The History of the Library in Western Civilization Volume I by Konstantinos Sp. Staikos. The first volume of this epic series came out in 2004. Additional volumes showed up in 2005, 2007, and 2010, and part five is due to arrive the start of 2012. The series will be completed in 2013 with the publication of the index and bibliography. An excellent comprehensive history on the topic.
5. The Repair of Cloth Bindings by Arthur Johnson. Published in 2002 and reprinted in 2005, this long-lasting title is probably due for another reprint soon! A useful manual giving sound repair techniques for cloth bindings.
4. Letterpress Printing, A Manual for Modern Fine Press Printers by Paul Maravelas. First published in 2006, this one went right back to the press in 2007, and again in 2010. The comprehensive source book for beginning and intermediate letterpress printers.
3. The Typographic Desk Reference by Theodore Rosendorf. The newest title on the list, TDR was published in 2009, and quickly sold out! It’s currently on its third printing, and Theo Rosendorf is working on a new edition to be published in 2012 or 2013. Designed for quick consultation, it contains 1000 entries that are concise and factual, making it handy for the desk.
2. A New Introduction to Bibliography by Philip Gaskell. Oak Knoll issued its first printing of this classic manual in 1995, and we’ve reprinted it five times since then. An important reference work for students and practitioners of bibliography.
1. ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter (revised by Nicolas Barker). 1992 was a landmark year for Oak Knoll, as we acquired the rights to publish John Carter’s book collecting classic. We published the sixth edition in 1992, the seventh in 1995, and the eighth in 2004, with several printings of each edition in between. If you only have one book about books in your library, this should be the one!
All of these titles are still in print, and all are included in our 2011 Sale Catalogue, published last week. If your library is missing any of these titles, now is a great time to fill in the gaps, as all titles are 25-50% off!
Check out this great article on AbeBooks titled Shelf Help: The Best Guides to Book Collecting. The article mentions ABC for Book Collectors as the single indispensible book for the beginner collector. At the bottom of the article is a great video review of the book explaining more of how ABC for Book Collectors is a great resource for both beginner and veteran collectors.
ABC for Book Collectors is also on sale in our new 2011 Oak Knoll Press Sale Catalogue.
Paul got down to work in earnest, and 1991 saw six new Oak Knoll Press publications, including our first joint venture with The British Library (The Doves Bindery by Marianne Tidcombe, #29 in the bibliography). David Way, the Publications Director at The British Library, was a friend of Robert Cross, the owner of St. Paul’s Bibliographies, and quickly became a friend of mine. To this day, we still co-publish many of our titles with The British Library. For about half of these joint publications, David’s staff sees the book through the press, and we buy part of the print run and the North American sales territory (and the opposite for the other half). This way, we can do twice as many books with the small staff that we each have, which is a very efficient way of doing business! David has access to one of the finest image collections in the world with The British Library at his command and also has many excellent readers for the manuscripts that are submitted.
Another special project that year was the re-issue of Percy Muir’s Minding My Own Business (Bib. #32) with a new foreword by Barbara Kaye Muir, Percy’s widow. This wonderful bookselling memoir is one of the best glimpses at bookselling in England during the twentieth century and should be required reading for anyone aspiring to be a bookseller. I traveled to the little village of Blakeney on the west coast of England to meet Barbara (on the smallest train I have ever seen outside an amusement park). She was an author in her own right with many books to her credit, including two more memoirs devoted to bookselling that we published. She hosted a charming lunch full of book talk and good wine, and poured me back on the train for its short ride to Ipswich on the way back to London.
The next landmark in Oak Knoll Press’s history was in 1992 when we finally got the rights to John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors. This book had been substantially revised by Nicolas Barker, who had managed to keep Carter’s humor while revising and adding new terms. It had grown considerably from its 1952 first edition. If you only have one book about books in your library, this is the one I continue to recommend. I lusted after having this book as part of our publishing program but the rights situation was very complicated. Carter had willed his estate to Eton College with Nicolas Barker as Executor. Somehow, we had to get Eton College to see the need for a new publisher and a new edition. Nicolas used his intimate knowledge of all involved to get the rights back from Harper Collins and Knopf (previous publishers) and award them to Oak Knoll. We reprinted the sixth edition, and it became a best seller for us with a seventh edition appearing in 1995 (co-published with Werner Shaw) and an eighth edition in 2004 (co-published with The British Library), each going through multiple reprints (all carefully documented on the copyright page).
Check back next week for more from Books about Books!