Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Reasons for Buying Books

Herbert Warren, quoted in William Walrond Jackson, Ingram Bywater: The Memoir of an Oxford Scholar, 1840-1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917), p. 161:
One conversation of his I shall never forget. After the death of Dr. W.H. Thompson, Regius Professor of Greek and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, I bought a fine copy, which had belonged to him, of the edition by Stephanus of Plato, in good condition and handsomely bound. I showed it with some pleasure to Bywater. "Yes," he said, "it is a fine book, and you were right to buy it. There are various reasons for buying books. Some people buy books for the contents, and that is a very vulgar reason; and some people buy books for the binding, and that is a little better and not so vulgar; and others buy books for the printing, and that is really a very good reason; but the real reason for which to buy a book is the margin! Always look at the margin."

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