Alan Isaac Rare Books

About Alan

It has been said that bookselling is in the blood  perhaps it is true!

I started to sell books as a law student for a large, but now sadly defunct, antiquarian and second-hand book and music seller in Duke Street, Brighton, whilst on a sabbatical, and seriously considered abandoning the law for a ‘career’ in the trade. I didn’t, but continued to read and pick up books of all kinds over the years.

Years later, having done with the law, I took a short course in bookbinding at West Dean and moved on to studying full-time at Guildford, taking a Diploma in Fine Bookbinding and Paper Conservation.

After spells post-Diploma at Durham Cathedral Library and the Surrey History Centre, I began working independently as a bookbinder on a range of books, for collectors, academics and universities, mainly engaged in book and paper restoration, and have continued to do so for over 20 years.

During this time I have maintained a close association with the Society of Bookbinders, am a former editor of its flag-ship journal, The Bookbinder, and have contributed frequent pieces and book reviews.  I am also a supporter of the Oxford Guild of Printers, displaying books at their annual ‘Wayzgoose’ and accepting binding commissions. We show at other small fairs, form time to time, and will post news of those events from time to time. I am also a life member of The Bibliographical Society.

As a committed supporter of bookbinding education, I am pleased to have published two books on aspects of the craft with principal figures in hand bookbinding in the UK, Maureen Duke (Fahey – Finishing in Hand Bookbinding) and Bernard C. Middleton (A Bookbinder’s Miscellany),  copies of which are available through the Bookshop. Various other writing/publishing projects are at varying stages of completion.

I have a particular interest in ‘Books about books’ – printing, illustration, and bookbinding – and also offer an eclectic mix of old and new, with an emphasis on the rare and recondite.  I am pleased to have had a long, close and successful association with the award winning niche North American publisher, The Legacy Press, for whom I act as European agent.

I conduct insurance valuations on damaged collections, act as agent on purchasing at auction and am very willing to advise on acquisition decisions more generally.

Books are acquired by us through private arrangement, either individually, as groups or collections, and we are always pleased to have the opportunity to consider these.

So having steered away from bookselling early on in favour of a career in the law, I find I have come full circle, and am pleased to have enjoyed the rewards of both.

I look forward to helping existing customers again and to meeting new ones. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think I might be of help to you.