Before you start your search - please note:

Names and titles
For the time being, personal titles (Mrs, Rev, Dr, etc.) may be found in the Forenames field, in the form ‘Mary, Mrs’.

Duplicate entries
Some records may appear to be duplicates. Some of these may be cross-references to variant spellings of names or may result from the long-established BBTI principle that unless two (or more) records are known without any doubt to refer to the same person, they have not been conflated. (The same principle applies to family relationships and master/apprentice links.) In some cases the Notes field will indicate that an individual may be the same person as an individual in another record.

Trading and biographical dates
An individual’s biographical and trading dates may appear inconsistent, depending on the sources used and the practice of individual contributors. It is puzzling to find some records showing longer trading dates than biographical dates. One explanation is that an individual may have commissioned the printing of a book shortly before he/she died, so that the book's imprint may show a later publication date than the originator’s year of death. In some cases, there may be confusion between an individual and his/her business, which may have outlived its founder. Normal BBTI practice is to list known businesses separately from the founder as an individual.

Book Trades
Some terms seem to be used interchangeably, such as the various names for itinerant traders: ‘chapman’, ‘hawker’, ‘pedlar’, etc. Care should be taken to search on all possible terms.

Non-book Trades
Some trades are still shown in the old-style BBTI code. A List of Abbreviations including those used for Non-book Trades, with codes, is available.

At the bottom of each detailed record a note of the source(s) from which the record was derived has been included, where available. A complete List of Sources is also available. In a number of cases, however, the meaning of the BBTI source-code remains unknown.

Towns and Counties
We have edited town and county names to comply with the two standard works used by BBTI: J.G. Bartholomew, The Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles, (London, 1904), and A Gazetteer of Welsh Place-Names, (Rhestr O Enwau Lleoedd), (Cardiff/Caerdydd, 1967).

Towns are located in their historic (pre-1974) counties. Several towns have been ‘moved’ to the correct county, and incorrect spellings changed, but if you notice any remaining errors, please let us know.

Care is needed when searching for London records. Although London is listed as a separate ‘county’, several areas of present-day Greater London are listed under their historic county. The same applies to suburban areas incorporated into Birmingham and other cities. It is advisable to search under both old and new county.

A List of Abbreviations used in the Notes field, with codes, is available. BBTI records frequently omit 'of' in terms indicating relationships, such as 'son', 'wid[ow]', 'app[rentice]' etc. - e.g. the term 'son John' means that the person whose record you are viewing was the son of John.

Counting the number of traders in a locality
Great care is needed if you are trying to establish the scale of book trade activity in a particular place. Because of duplicate records (see note above), because of businesses and individuals being listed separately, and especially because of cross-references appearing as normal records, a simple count of records is hardly ever likely to give an accurate indication of the scale of the trade in a particular town or county.