With a bookshop in Charing Cross Road , in the centre of London, it occurred to us to find out which authors are most asked for and sell the quickest. So we asked around. The answers are in three tiers.
1. Asked for a lot
Jane Austen, Beckett,The Bible, Brontes, Lewis Carroll, Angela Carter, Agatha Christie, Churchill, Aleister Crowley, Roald Dahl, Conan Doyle, Darwin, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Fleming, Heaney, Joyce, Kafka, Kerouac, Stephen King, CS Lewis, AA Milne, Orwell, Beatrix Potter, Pratchett, Rackham, Ayn Rand, JK Rowling, JD Salinger, Shakespeare, Bram Stoker,Tolkien, V Woolf, Waugh,Wilde, Wodehouse
2 Quite a lot
Jeffrey Archer, Marcus Aurelius, L Frank Baum, Enid Blyton, William Burroughs, Byron, Cervantes, Baron Corvo, T.S. Eliot, Faulkner, Neil Gaiman, Kenneth Grahame, Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, Hemingway, I Ching, Keats, Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, HP Lovecraft, Milton, Nabokov,Sylvia Plath, Pinter, Edgar Allan Poe, Anthony Powell, Rilke, Seneca, G B Shaw, Dr Seuss, Mary Shelley (and PB), Tao Te Ching, Dylan Thomas, John Wyndham,
3. Fairly often
Douglas Adams, Martin Amis, W H Auden, James Baldwin, J G Ballard, Baudelaire, Francis Bacon, Julian Barnes, John Betjeman, Bonfiglioli, Borges, Paul Bowles, William Boyd, Bukowski, Bulgakov, A Burgess, Richard Burton, Robert Burton Raymond Chandler, Cioran, Paulo Coelho, Coleridge, Joseph Conrad, Dante, De la Mare, Philip K Dick, Emily Dickinson, Norman Douglas, Gerald Durrell (and Lawrence), Bob Dylan, Ronald Firbank, EM Forster, Mrs Gaskell, Stella Gibbons, Kahil Gibran, Edward Gorey, Christopher Hitchens, A Huxley, Huysmans, W.E. Johns, Kierkegaard, Le Fanu, Ursula Le Guin, Lees Milne, John Lennon, Ada Leverson, Wyndham Lewis, Machen, Thomas Mann, Marquez, Marx, George RR Martin, Du Maurier, Ian Mcewan, Melville (Moby Dick) Thomas Merton, Nancy Mitford, Montaigne, William Morris, Morrissey, Murakami, Musil, V.S. Naipaul, Edith Nesbit, Patrick O’Brian, Flann O’Brien, Pepys, Mervyn Peake ,Powys Bros, Proust, Pynchon, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Rimbaud, Rushdie, Saki, Ronald Searle, Dodie Smith, Vita Sackville West, De Sade, St Exupery (Little Prince) Will Self, Iain Sinclair, R L Stevenson, Theroux, Tolstoy, B Traven, P L Travers, John Updike, Veblen, Von Hayek, Patrick White, Jacqueline Wilson, Wittgenstein, Wordsworth, Yeats
We also solicited the wants of a couple of country booksellers who said that Enoch Powell is asked for, also ‘B.B.’ (Watkins-Pitchford) Henry Williamson, Brent Dyer, Powys Bros, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Colin Wilson, Ronald Blythe, Rider Haggard, Lees Milne, Belloc etc., In London we are asked all the time for 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff. By the way these are not always the most collectable writers, the listed is based mostly on books people want to read – although every author here, with very few exceptions, is collectable. It should be noted that generally people who ask for books are not secondhand bookshop habitués, the regular customer tends to know where to look and quietly buys the books he or she wants without asking questions- there are exceptions to this.
Rackham should not really be in here as he is an illustrator not an author. Other wanted illustrators include Ravilious, Keith Vaughan, Hockney, Chapman Bros, Jessie M King, Herge, Dulac, Nielsen, Harry Clarke, Beardsley, Austin Spare, Pogany, Ed Ruscha, Charles and Heath Robinson, William Nicholson, Quentin Blake, Robert Gibbings, Louis Wain, Doyle, Beresford Egan, E.H. Shepard, Ralph Steadman, Dore, Raverat, Ardizzone, Von Bayros, Bewick, Bawden, Kate Greenaway, E McKnight Kauffer -to name but a few, then you have photographers…
Probably left someone vital out and included a few duffers..