The Irish Times spoke to ILAB affiliated bookseller Will de Burca about social media in a rare book business, fine Irish bindings and a catalogue dedicated to the women of Ireland.
“…If you’ve never dipped into the antiquarian books arena, how – and where – do you start?
Well, you could just spend a few minutes checking your social media feeds. Or an hour in a bijou Dublin bookshop. It might be the first step towards writing your own book-collecting story which, far from being rarefied, is likely to have an anecdote, and a personality, on every page.
As an electronic producer, making hi-tech music which has been compared to DJ Shadow and Animal Collective, Will de Burca is well versed in the use of social media as one of a range of tools to spread the word about himself and his music. He was also instrumental in the shooting of a video to accompany his latest release, Electric Light. So it makes sense that he would take a multilayered approach to the field of rare books, where he works with his father, Eamon de Burca, one of Ireland’s leading experts.
‘It took a while – you have to build up your following. We’re up to nearly 20,000 followers now, on combined social media, and that’s one of the highest, for an antiquarian book firm, in the world.’
He has also put up a dedicated YouTube channel.
‘The first video is just an introduction to what we do, using about 10 or 12 images of different types of books and publications. I’m tinkering with the idea of a podcast as well. It would be a nice setting for it.’
De Burca Rare Books brings out a catalogue four times a year. The current edition is called Irish women, Children & Education and is dedicated to the women of Ireland.”
The author also visits Allen Gregory of First Editions Bookshop:
“… the walls are lined with first editions, many of them signed, all of them watched over by Graham Knuttel’s witty sculpture James Joyce Seated In A Chair,…
One can only imagine what Joyce would have made of the current state of the rare books market. He’d certainly be pleased with the prices being achieved by first editions of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and the upward mobility of Seamus Heaney…
As we scan the Anglo-Irish shelf, Gregory pulls out a 1966 copy of Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds. He draws my attention to the cover, which carries praise from fellow authors. He reads them aloud: “James Joyce; ‘A really funny book’. Dylan Thomas: ‘This is just the book to give your sister if she’s a loud, dirty, boozy girl’.” Now that’s what I call recommended reading. ”
Author: Arminta Wallace, Irish Times
Image: Irish Times