The bookshop is, and will always be, the soul of the trade. What happens there does not happen elsewhere. The multifariousness of human nature is more on show there than anywhere else, and I think it’s because of books, what they are, what they release in ourselves, and what they become when we make them magnets to our desires.
A memoir of a life in the antiquarian book trade, A Factotum in the Book Trade is a journey between the shelves—and then behind the counter, into the overstuffed basement, and up the spine-stacked attic stairs of your favourite neighbourhood bookshop. From his childhood in rural Ontario, where at the village jumble sale he bought poetry volumes for their pebbled-leather covers alone, to his all-but-accidental entrance into the trade in London and the career it turned into, poet and travel writer Marius Kociejowski recounts his life among the buyers, sellers, customers, and literary nobility—the characters, fictional and not—who populate these places we all love. Cataloging their passions and pleasures, oddities and obsessions, A Factotum in the Book Trade is a journey through their lives, and a story of the serendipities and collisions of fate, the mundane happenings and indelible encounters, the friendships, feuds, losses, and elations that characterize the business of books—and, inevitably, make up an unforgettable life.