Rare books

The cut-throat business of the secondhand book trade

For almost as long as there have been books, there have been books about books — writers just love to go meta. As well as all that midrash, those Biblical commentaries, the SparkNotes, the interpretations, retellings and the endless online fan fic, there are also of course plenty of guides, manuals and handbooks designed to instruct the gentleman or gentlewoman in the gentle arts of book buying, book collecting and other vaguely book-related activities. (Henry Petroski’s The Book on the Bookshelf — a book about bookshelves — being one of the all-time metabook greats.) I happen to have, by chance, a small library of books about books, including a collection