THE enterprise of two London newspapers, the Tribune (for the second time) and the Daily Chronicle, in organizing exhibitions of books affords a convenient excuse for once again bringing forward proposals for a more permanent exhibition. On many occasions during the past twenty years the writer has made suggestions for the establishment of a central book bazaar, to which every kind of book‐buyer could resort in order to see and handle the latest literature on every subject. An experiment on wrong lines was made by the Library Bureau about fifteen years ago, but here, as in the exhibitions above mentioned, the arrangement was radically bad. Visiting the Daily Chronicle show in company with other librarians, and taking careful note of the planning, one was struck by the inutility of having the books arranged by publishers and not by subjects. Not one visitor in a hundred cares twopence whether books on electricity, biography, history, travel, or even fairy tales, are issued by Longmans, Heinemann, Macmillan, Dent or any other firm. What everyone wants to see is all the recent and latest books on definite subjects collected together in one place. The arrangements at the Chronicle and Tribune shows are just a jumble of old and new books placed in show‐cases by publishers' names, similar to the abortive exhibition held years ago in Bloomsbury Street. What the book‐buyer wants is not a miscellaneous assemblage of books of all periods, from 1877 to date, arranged in an artistic show‐case and placed in charge of a polite youth who only knows his own books—and not too much about them—but a properly classified and arranged collection of the newest books only, which could be expounded by a few experts versed in literature and bibliography. What is the use of salesmen in an exhibition where books are not sold outright? If these exhibitions were strictly limited to the newest books only, there would be much less need for salesmen to be retained as amateur detectives. Another decided blemish on such an exhibition is the absence of a general catalogue. Imagine any exhibition on business lines in which visitors are expected to cart away a load of catalogues issued separately by the various exhibitors and all on entirely different plans of arrangement! The British publisher in nearly everything he does is one of the most hopeless Conservatives in existence. He will not try anything which has not been done by his grandfather or someone even more remote, so that publishing methods remain crystallized almost on eighteenth century lines. The proposal about to be made is perhaps far too revolutionary for the careful consideration of present‐day publishers, but it is made in the sincere hope that it may one day be realized. It has been made before without any definite details, but its general lines have been discussed among librarians for years past.
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