Mayfair-based Shapero books has come a long way from the small market stall it began as in 1979, when a 16-year-old Shapero started selling books as a schoolboy hobby. These days the generalist rare book shop ‘can do almost anything for anybody’ —from finding books valued at £50, to building complete libraries for several millions. ‘We believe in offering a complete service to everyone, because one never knows who one’s working with or what may happen,’ he says. The value of true expertise hasn’t declined, and Shapero’s knowledge remains indispensable. ‘The internet makes anyone an expert, but like in any industry, it’s the fine-tuning, the experience, that makes the real experts,’ he says.