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YABS 2023 Student Report by Stephanie Wynn

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YABS 2023 graduate Stephanie Wynn reports on her experience of the York Antiquarian Book Seminar.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of a love for books, must be in want of YABS.

The 2023 York Antiquarian Book Seminar was no less than a feast for the budding book specialist. Set against the glorious backdrop of the historic city of York, the fantastic panel of established booksellers skillfully squeezed several years of biblio-related experience into a brilliant three-and-a-half-day seminar. The faculty generously shared their bookselling knowledge through a healthy mixture of lectures, discussions, practical sessions, studio visits, book shop tours and pub trips. Their willingness to speak about what they’ve learnt in their own careers was incredibly refreshing and extremely useful.

Every topic relating to the trade imaginable was covered including what to look for when buying books, how to spot fakes and forgeries, exhibiting at fairs, selling to institutions, practicalities of running a book shop and so much more. It was a rare opportunity to have the chance to get all your questions answered on what it’s really like to be in the book trade – and more importantly, how to do it well. A lot of the skills and industry knowledge I acquired from YABS are things that I have found myself using at work every day since. I certainly feel that the seminar enhanced both my specialism and my understanding of the trade.

The seminar attendees were equally as interesting as the seminar itself. Our backgrounds and interests were wonderfully varied covering all levels of experience from students and shop owners to collectors and librarians. Many of my fellow attendees quickly became dear friends - our bonds formed over our shared love of books, and we are still in contact with each other today.

A huge thank you and ‘bravo’ to the faculty and Riley Grant for putting together another fantastic year of YABS. If you want to know what it’s really like to be in the book trade and how to make a success of it, then YABS is for you. The only downfall is that you’ll be more in love with books and the trade than ever before.