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2015 - Women Booksellers

Published on 11 Jan. 2016

Women in the Rare Book Trade and at the Antiquarian Book Fairs in Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg

“Women have less bite and competence”, are “prone to self-doubt” and “fear of losing their livelihood”. Women have a different time management system and “cannot handle large sums of money”. Women are part-time booksellers and specialise in children’s books, they “have a rich partner in the background”, or they work in the profession until “Mr. Right” comes along and marries them.

Good old prejudices – they still exist.

These are some of the comments with which women book sellers who are exhibiting in Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg, have been confronted throughout their careers. Statistically, females are still badly under-represented in this field, even in this century of the female quota.

For example: The German Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (VDA) has 217 members, 39 of them women. In the 65 years of its existence, there were 19 presidents, only one of them was a woman. Worldwide, not more than 10 per cent of around 2000 ILAB affiliates are women.

According to the ILAB directory, Austria and Denmark have three female antiquarian booksellers, there are four in the Netherlands, six in Belgium, eight in Switzerland, eleven in Australia, twenty-six in Great Britain, thirty-seven in France. There are fourty-eight women booksellers in the USA, as opposed to over 450 men. Since 1947, the ILAB has had twenty-four presidents, only one of them being female.

In Germany alone, there are five rare book fairs annually, only one of them is organised by a woman. And at the end of January, around 135 rare book sellers will be showing rare and fine books at the 54th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair and at the 29th Antiquaria / Ludwigsburg, among them 21 women.

So, is the rare book trade still a man’s world? We asked women exhibitors from Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg for their opinion. None of them were deterred by silly prejudices, clichés or negative economic prognoses. Quite the contrary, they represent a successful cross-section of the rare book trade, through all generations, with high class offers in all price segments and specialities (including children’s books).

The Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair and the Antiquaria / Ludwigsburg are portraying their female exhibitors on their websites and in a brochure that will be handed out on both fairs. Read it here or, better still, come to Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg to visit the 54th Stuttgarter Antiquarian Book Fair from 23 to 25 January 2015 and the 29th Antiquaria / Ludwigsburg from 22 to 24th January 2015!

>>> Click below and download the pdf file

54th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair

23 to 25 January 2015 - Württembergischer Kunstverein

Schlossplatz 2, Stuttgart, GERMANY

Opening hours: Friday 11 am to 7.30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm


29th Antiquaria / Ludwigsburg

22 to 24 January 2015 - Musikhalle

opposite the station, Ludwigsburg, GERMANY

Opening hours: Thursday 3 – 8 pm, Friday 11 am – 7 pm, Saturday 11 am to 5 pm


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