Bookselling before the Internet

It is so easy to forget that there was bookselling going on before the Internet Age. For you nostalgic delectation here is a small insight into how it was done – STOCK CARDS!


Stock Card

We had boxes and boxes of these in every department and would use them to look up whether we stocked a book and also to place orders.

It was a simpler time 🙂

You can see from this card that we sold 362 copies of this Penguin edition Propertius: The Poems (the reorder quantities continue on the back of the card), it went into a reprint in November 1989 and that we initially subscribed 80 copies!

Our world has changed…


  1. It was interesting to read recently on publishers weekly that paper- back sales had risen significantly, and E-Book sales were unchanged or had dropped (can’t quite remember which)

    I like my kindle for traveling, Initially I enjoyed buying a book and having it in my ‘lap’ instantaneously. Somehow though, slowly but surely I’ve returned to the paper version. (well at least when I’m at home!) Why have I returned to buying a ‘real live book’? I have this feeling of warmth and safety with a ‘real book’. I often find the electronic version leaving me feeling cold & detached! And, a world without a real live book shop to browse in, would just not be the same world!

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