As any, even vaguely addicted book collector will have swiftly learned, most booksellers' catalogues are written in a parallel language that can fool anyone but the cognoscenti and which makes the mysteries of the Rosetta Stone look like something out of Enid Blyton. Without a smattering of inside information, the baffled but hopelessly-bitten book buyer is drifting unarmed and unprepared into a minefield whose perilous complexities will usually only be made plain when an eagerly awaited parcel of dream volumes arrives and the mangled contents are revealed in all their deceptive glory...
But all is not lost. Help is at hand!
After a lifetime of avidly scanning the frequently poisonously-tinted pages of innumerable book catalogues, Ronald Searle has become expert in the art of decoding those esoteric, poetic, and usually approximate, descriptions of literary come-ons. Now, licking his wounds, he publishes his heard-earned findings in this fully illustrated pioneer guide, designed to foil the devious machinations of scheming and wicked booksellers for ever more.
No longer will the innocent book collector need to puzzle over the finer meaning of 'old half roan', 'good working copy', 'blind tooled' or 'tail-edged shaved'. The unvarnished truth is here exposed at last, both in the shockingly explicit drawings and in the devastatingly frank glossary whose revelations will startle even the most battle-scarred of bibliophiles.
The result is one of the funniest, most entertaining books to have emerged from the brilliantly perceptive pen of the master. No book collector, and certainly no bookseller, can afford to be without it - even the wicked ones.