August 2011 | Nate Pedersen

ABA President on Safari

Lawrence Worms, current President of the ABA in Britain and owner of Ash Rare Books since 1971, has set off on a self-styled book safari.  On his election to the ABA, Worms promised his fellow ABA members that throughout his tenure he would travel around Britain in an attempt to see as many of them as possible.  He set off on his first trip earlier this month, traveling through the south and west of England, and keeping a blog to record his bookish encounters.

From the inaugural post:

"As the current president of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, a pressing concern is the rapidly diminishing number of genuine antiquarian, rare and simply second-hand bookshops across the country.

We face the loss of the base of the pyramid that supports our trade in rare books. The loss of the habit of browsing in real bookshops. The loss of habitat that can threaten any species.

We travel in search of what remains. We travel in search of ideas

Worms began his first journey on August 2nd and visited Oxford, Stroud, Hay-on-Wye, Bristol, Honiton, Dorchester, Salisbury, and Chichester, amongst other spots.  He just began his second trip this past Friday, heading to points further north.

Worms' blog about his travels is an interesting read for booksellers and collectors here and abroad as it offers a revealing glimpse into the current state of antiquarian bookselling in Britain.  There are also some amusing moments, such as when Worms is hijacked by wild swimmers, or when his wife and traveling companion, Anne, vents about the trip in her guest post.

Perhaps Sarah Baldwin, current President of the ABAA, will be inspired to follow suit and visit all the ABAA members.  It would be quite the endeavor...