A book stall in the Ezbekiya market in Cairo.
The single-minded devotion of booksellers and bookbuyers can at times be astounding—take, for example, Colin Franklin, who in his recent memoir about antiquarian bookselling, Obsessions and Confessions of a Book Life, recounts the time when he and a fellow bookseller pored over a copy of Goya’s “Caprichos” during a brown-out in London caused by a miner’s strike, a scene that his own wife called “an image of decadence.”
In a recent post for Oxford University Press’s blog, Trevor Naylor, Sales, Marketing, and Distribution Director for the American University in Cairo Press, sheds light on a perhaps more admirable side of the dogged commitment to books and their circulation: the generations of booksellers he’s known in cities across the Middle East, who’ve persisted in their trade despite wars, repression, tough economic times, and sometimes, accidentally ending up at the epicenter of a revolution—as happened last year with the AUC bookstore located on Tahrir Square.
In Delhi, for instance, there’s Ansari Road, called “a heaven for book lovers,” which was at one time one of the largest book trade markets in Asia and is still crammed full of sellers, publishers, and other literary businesses. Naylor attributes its liveliness in part to the effects …read more

Via: Melville House Books