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Ex Libris. Designed by Adam P. McIver with art by Jacqui Davis, Adam P. McIver, and Anita Osburn.

The story of Ex Libris is that the Mayor needs to assign a new Grand Librarian, and he’s invited all the town’s book collectors to be considered for the role. So you’re all preparing for the Mayor’s Official Inspector to come and judge your collection — the collector with the best collection (that is, with the most points at the end of the game) wins the job, and the game. In order to build their collections (and gain points) the players collect books following prompts set at the start of the game, and carefully shelve the books they collect over the course of the game.

Andie Silva, The Brand of Print: Marketing Paratexts in the Early English Book Trade.

*Disclaimer: the author of the book is the current editor of SHARP News, however she did not procure nor edit this review in any way.*

In a year where bookcase credibility has become a crucial part of academic life, with towers of texts teetering into every Zoom call, Andie Silva’s insistence on the book as cultural commodity in this thought-provoking and innovative monograph is particularly resonant. From the introduction, the originality of Silva’s work becomes apparent as she productively combines contemporary marketing theory and book history. Sidestepping the focus upon the author found in Erne and Kastan, Silva places our attention firmly on “print agents” – a capacious term which here includes printers, publishers, editors, translators, stationers, and book sellers. By exploring the actions of these print agents through marketing theory, this wide-ranging, perceptive book draws together both market choices and cultural value, convincingly and cogently linking the commercial and rhetorical characteristics of the early modern marketplace of books and ideas. Silva challenges the distinctions that often stymie early modern book history: between reading for profit and reading for pleasure, literary and non-literary texts, canonical woks and printed ephemera, manuscript and print. 

Introducing Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers

In the absence of in-person conferences and networking opportunities due to COVID-19, SHARP News is pleased to present a new feature, Early Editions: Conversations with Emerging Researchers. Early Editions pairs an emerging researcher with an established SHARPist with similar interests and flips the script: through informal dialogue, the established scholar introduces the work and interests of the early-career researcher to the broader SHARP community. Our first conversation is between Joe Saunders, PhD student at the University of York, and Ian Gadd, Professor in English Literature at Bath Spa University.