Skip to content

News & Updates Antiquarian Booksellers' Association

YABS Founders Hand Over The Baton

The running of the successful York Antiquarian Book Seminar (YABS) is to be handed over to the ABA Educational Trust. YABS is a not-for-profit educational programme that teaches aspiring booksellers the basics of the rare book trade.
YABS 2021 classroom

Taught by leading members of the UK and international book trade, the course is aimed at both complete beginners and more experienced book dealers continuing their professional development.

YABS was founded in 2014 by Anthony Smithson and Alice Laverty of Keel Row Books, with fellow director Jonathan Kearns. Seven annual seminars later, event managers and organisers Anthony and Alice feel it’s time to pass on the YABS mantel.

From 2022, the seminar will be steered by the charity arm of the ABA, the ABA Educational Trust, with event management support from the ABA office.

Looking back on the last seven years, Alice says “We’ve had over 200 students through the course, and the feedback every year from students has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s a special event, based on sharing knowledge within the trade. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved on behalf on our students and we’re ready to hand it over new organisers”

“The seminar has sold out every year with a waiting list for the following year. After a year off in 2020, the 2021 event was our largest to date with 31 students attending. It goes without saying that this wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of the many people involved in the event, including the speakers, faculty, scholarship providers, sponsors and the ABA and PBFA trade associations. We’re excited to see how the ABA will develop the seminar over the coming years”

Many YABS students have gone to open their own bookshops and rare book businesses, with others landing roles with established book dealers.

Adam Douglas, Senior Specialist at Peter Harrington Rare Books and Chair of the ABA Educational Trust remembers when the concept of YABS was first floated in 2013 “When Anthony came to the Educational Trust with the idea of starting YABS, we immediately agreed that it would be one of the best possible uses of our charitable funding. And so it has proved. Anthony, Alice, and Jonathan have done a wonderful job. Those of us who have attended YABS as guest speakers or faculty members have found it to be everything that we hoped it would be. We owe them a great deal and it will be a privilege to continue their fine work.”

Details for the 2022 seminar are due to be released over the coming weeks.

About YABS:

The York Antiquarian Book Seminar is an annual not for profit educational programme which teaches would-be booksellers the nuts and bolts of the rare and second-hand booktrade. It is aimed both at students starting out in the trade, and more experienced dealers wishing to hone their skills and continue their professional development. It was established in 2014 by Anthony Smithson and Alice Laverty of Keel Row Books, and Jonathan Kearns of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books. It has sold out every year with a waiting list for the next event. It is a sister course of the longstanding Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. The most recent seminar was held at The Priory Street Centre in York from 4-7 October 2021. The 2022 dates and venue are to be announced soon. YABS is a community interest not-for-profit limited company which will be dissolved and it’s assets and cash reserves donated to the ABA Educational Trust. Anthony and Alice will continue to be involved with YABS but will no longer be its sole organisers.

The ABA Educational Trust

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association's Educational Trust aims to promote and support education and research across the wide field of rare book studies and antiquarian bookselling. Find out more about the ABA Educational Trust.

This article was first published on the website of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, UK.

Further reading: