Getting the Catholic Book
Sir.—Like Mr. J. Cleeves, I also feel rather strongly about directing readers' enquiries for Catholic hooks to one London firm. Surely, the correct and wise thing is to tell them to contact their local bookseller—he they Catholic or not. As a Catholic, who is manager of a general bookshop. I make it my business to keep a small. hut up-lo-date selection of Catholic hooks always in my shop, hut. although 1 receive valued support from my own Parish Priest and the local Convent High School. I obtain little encouragement from Catholic schools and others in the town who know of my efforts.
Surely it is immensely important that at least a small selection of Catholic books should be seen in all bookshops, where non-Catholics are constantly browsing. especially as Catholics do not buy enough hooks to make specifically Catholic bookshops economically possible. If the Catholic Press will direct enquiries to local shops, hooksellers will then see that Catholic hooks are important, and. if the demand is sufficient, will in time keep a small selection in stock.
It requires little imagination to sec that a shelf of Catholic books in shops all over the country would do immense good. People who would not be seen dead in a Catholic establishment would have important Catholic books brought before their ecs. and, who knows, even some of the booksellers may
read them! " Bibliopola."
A Wholesale Distributor?
Sir,—What are the facts? In the case of books published in the British Isles. readers may rest assured that the Catholic bookseller will know well in advance, from his trade paper and from publishers' visits or circulars, what books of Catholic interest are forthcoming. He will have placed his order weeks before the books are reviewed. He will have the hooks in stock on the day of publication and for as long afterwards as they are in demand.
In the case of Continental and American books, he will carry stock of those titles that are in constant demand: the Question Box, the Index, and so on. Any other book—yes, any other book —he can obtain to order. And, surels, not every reader is so greatly influenced by a review that he must have his book by return of post.
I have often wished that a wealthy backer would finance a Catholic wholesale hook house. feeding a chain of independent Catholic 'bookshops throughout the countrs. It seems more desirable to me that there should be a good Catholic bookshop in every large city, supported—both in prosperity and in adversity—by the Catholics of the district, than that the entire country should maintain by its book orders one really magnificent shop in London. Did I come along ten years too late—or am I ten years too soon?
Terence Muddiman. The Carmel Bookshop.
21, Saint Ann Street, Leeds, 2,
Sir,—Probably other booksellers do as I used to, and order an extra copy or two when getting a book specially for a customer and putting the extra copies on show on the principle that what one man buys another may.
Not long ago a new bookshop opened and I went in to buy some religious hooks for children (not necessarily Catholic) to find that there were none in stock, and to be told blandly. " Oh, there's no demand for that sort of thing here! "
I ordered a few by name, and
passed the word round to my friends, who all made a point of going in and asking for religious books. Now that shop not only carries a good stock of pious books for children, but I have seen displayed a copy of the Knox Translation of the Scriptures and other books of interest to Catholics.
The customer may or may not be always right. but he can certainly influence the shopman Ex-Catholic Bookseller
Sir.—Whilst in no way denying the importance of urging Catholics to make more use of public libraries, I do not agree with Mr. George L. Carter that the need for Catholic libraries is any the less vital.
Many of our fine spiritual books are of immense value, but exclusively to Catholics, and for this reason do not readily find a place on the shelves of a public library.
A case in point is " Hey You." a hook by Michael Hollings which was recently rejected by a public library.
A well-run parish library, if properly supported. can be a source of income and not a costly undertaking, as Mr. Carter seems to think.
The Apostolate, as I see it, is twofold: 1. More Catholic libraries.
2. More Catholic books in public libraries.
But first we must all become more Catholic book conscious.
Winifred Charlier Gloucester House (4th floor), 19. Charing Cross Road, London, W.C.2.
The Central Library
Sits—While it is undoubtedly an excellent thing that Catholic books he added to the Municipal Libraries, surely a representative Catholic Library deserves the support of Catholics in England.
The Catholic Central Library (with a stock of over 23,000 books) is dependent on subscriptions. and operates under severe handicap from lack of support.
There are representative libraries for other religious denominations; it would seem that Catholics in this country are not concerned that a Catholic Library worthy of the name should exist.
Enid Broughton, Catholic Central Library, 33, Wilfred Street, London, S.W.1,