1. What is your favorite Chopping cover and why?
From Russia, With Love. I think primarily because as a bookseller I associate it with scarcity, which makes it a bit more appealing, but also the actual arrangement of the image, it seems to fit the cover better than the others.
I did have a nice non-Bond Chopping jacket in a few months back, one of The Saturday Books. The jacket was a similar style, but much less bold, though I seem to remember it had the signature fly on it. There was another non-Bond with a hat/flowers on a man or woman’s head – unnerved me a little for some reason!
2. Do you own any 1st editions?
I have a couple; a Dr. No and a Goldfinger, oh and an Octopussy. Most of what I get only sits on the shelves for a couple of weeks. There’s a very active trade, so I like to keep them moving. I did have a pristine Thunderball a year or so ago, it was pretty much perfect. That sold a little too quickly for my liking.
3. What is on your literary 007 wishlist?
The first three books are really the only ones I actively seek. The others come in now and then, but the first three are the real big fish. I’m a bit of a stickler for condition though, so I think I’m going to be waiting a long while. The author signed copies are pretty desirable too, I don’t really go for the copies signed by the film actors etc. Anything unusual such as letters or postcards, are always appealing, especially where they give a little insight into Fleming’s life.
4. When did you read your first Bond novel and which is your favorite and non-Bond favorite?
It was Casino Royale and it was only a few years ago. I think it was around the time of the film release and I read it on audiobook. The plan was to start at the first publication and work forwards – I’ve not quite finished yet.
Moonraker, mainly because it was my favourite Bond film. I was brought up on the films and didn’t read the books until I was much older. I would never say I’m a Bond fanatic, but in the world of rare books it’s kind of difficult to not get caught up in it all. I haven’t read any of his non-fiction, though I have had a few of Jon Gilbert’s Ian Fleming Bibliography in and that work was first rate.
5. Do you have any favorite Bond dust jackets in paperback or by continuation authors?
I’m a big fan of the recent Vintage paperbacks. They remind me a lot of Saul Bass’s film posters, in particular I like the Thrilling Cities cover. The Diamond Smugglers and Dr. No in that range are also quite nice, but it starts to get a bit obvious after that. I really don’t like the Vintage covers with the black and white beach scenes. Also, to be a bit of a heretic, I much prefer the Kenneth Lewis jackets, I think they’re more representative of the era.
Simon is responsible for acquisitions, client relationships and business development for Hyraxia Books. He got started in the rare book business over a decade ago, buying and selling to create a collection of his favourite books. This soon got out of hand.
Hyraxia Books specialise in modern first editions and rare books with expertise in science fiction, fantasy and literary fiction. Based in Leeds, in the north of the UK, they have grown to provide a refined stock of top-end rare fiction carrying a carefully developed stock of Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, Haruki Murakami and Terry Pratchett. They are associate members of the ABA and members of the PBFA.
Read Simon’s interview with Bond dust jacket artist Bill Botten, cover artist for ‘Icebreaker‘ and ‘For Special Services‘