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Published on 20 July 2017

Sally Burdon 
Asia Bookroom 

Canberra, Australia. President of ANZAAB (2010 - 2013), Vice-President ILAB (2016 -)  

Asia Bookroom is a specialist bookshop dealing in books, ephemera, maps, prints, in fact anything on paper - including archives, fans, diaries or whatever is unusual and tells a story about an aspect of Asia. Sally is particularly interested in 19th and 20th century material of Asian interest especially material relating to social and political movements in the region, as well as items which illustrate the sometimes troubled relationship between the West and the peoples from the countries and regions of Asia. 

In the late 1960s, Sally's mother started the book business that is now Asia Bookroom and Sally has worked in the business full time since 1982. Throughout her bookselling career she has had an open shop and still does today. For many years she worked as a general secondhand and antiquarian bookseller who specialised in, but did not deal exclusively in, books of Asian interest. However the advent of the Internet for the general public (in the 1990s) greatly enhanced the possibilities of reaching a wider clientele interested in specialised books. Thus no longer reliant on the local area, Asia Bookroom still deals in antiquarian, important scholarly modern books and collectible materials but no longer is required to carry books outside its field of speciality to run a profitable business.

What can Sally offer a mentee? A friendly reasonably experienced ear! The book business is endlessly interesting but like every area of endeavour has its challenges. She has experienced the ups and downs of running a book business. She has had difficult customers, employed many staff, experienced cash flow issues, been unsure about customs within the trade, wondered what to take to a book fair (and often still does!) and more! Under her watch the business has changed dramatically from a bookshop serving the local community to one that serves customers throughout the world by using the Internet and direct marketing to great effect.

Education in any area of life is key. Bookselling is no different. For three years Sally was a member of the faculty of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (2013 - 2015) and was honoured to be the key-note speaker at the York Antiquarian Book Seminar in 2015. After having seen both of these programmes at close quarters Sally recommends booksellers enrol in one of these two high quality programmes as well as attending other courses available to those interested in antiquarian books, such as Rare Book School or London Rare Book School whether or not you choose to have a men Thank you very much for agreeing to become a mentor in the ILAB International Mentoring Programme. This programme, as I am sure you will agree, is both an important building block in the future of our trade and an example of one of the best traditions of the trade - collegiality - which is even more powerful when it is across borders and culture. 



Douglas Stewart 
Douglas Stewart Fine Books 

Melbourne, Australia. Board Member - ANZAAB

Rare books in all fields from the press of Gutenberg to contemporary artists books, with an emphasis on early travel and exploration, material relating to Australia and the Pacific and fine art.  

Doug began buying and selling books while he was in school and has been in business for over twenty years even though he is still in his thirties. He has a rare book shop in Melbourne which employs four staff and is open 6 days a week. Doug is quite active at international book fairs and exhibited at ten fairs on four continents in 2016. He also travels widely to meet with collectors, curators and dealers.

Doug’s business runs on integrating the benefits of having an open shop, an active exhibition calendar and a customised web presence. Underpinning this is the drive to assist clients acquire books with ease and confidence. Doug recognises the rare book industry is always evolving and welcomes the dynamic nature of the marketplace, including new technologies, people, and trends in collecting. He understands that no dealer can have every book or every client, and there is much value to be found in collaboration. Each dealer will run their business with their own personal style, but there are some recurring themes which affect all rare booksellers and common standards we must all adhere to. As a mentor Doug will share his thoughts on the trade, ideas for improvement and help to workshop through any difficulties as they arise. 



Derek McDonnell
Hordern House

Sydney, Australia. Member of ANZAAB and ABA 

Voyages and travels from earliest times to about 1850, especially concerning our end of the world (Australia and the Pacific), Captain Cook and English voyages, French “grands voyages”, mapping, colour-plate books, natural history, literature, early Australian paintings and voyage art, and of course what comes our way.  

I started out at Blackwell’s in Oxford after graduating there in 1972 so I am a proper old-timer in the trade. In 1976 I moved to Quaritch’s where I worked alongside a brilliant bunch of people, many of whom have gone their own ways and started interesting businesses. Quaritch was as good a university for me as actual university. Much as I admire the rare book school idea, in my opinion there is no substitute for working in the trade, nor for handling as many good books as possible. This is one occupation where inquisitiveness gets rewarded. Rick Watson and I became directors at Quaritch at the same time; we learned a lot from Nicholas Poole-Wilson, Howard Radclyffe, Arthur Freeman, among others. We sat on the board with a few other booksellers and some interesting figures in the London business and banking world, while our chairman Lord Parmoor showed us by example how to run an ancient business in a modern world. I moved to Australia in 1983 to join my partner Anne McCormick, a brilliant Sydney bookseller who had also started out in the early 1970s. I worked as Derek McDonnell Rare Books to begin with and after a couple of years Anne and I merged our businesses when we opened Hordern House in 1985. The business is named for the house it occupied then and which we are leaving only in 2017 for new premises. We are six people in total, with some outside help. Over the years we’ve handled a number of major collections, have published some serious catalogues, and have sold a great many books. Our website should give a pretty good picture of what we do. So, my experience has been reasonably varied and as one of the owners of this company I have had to learn to do most of the things that make up a rare book business of this scale, most important of all relationships with colleagues and customers, then the whole gamut from money to scholarship, including data and resource handling, and much more. Over 45 years I've experienced the change from typewriters, cheque books, letterpress catalogues, and struggling for access to reference books to working within a local area network in the digital economy using online resources, databasing to our website, photographing designing and laying out catalogues and publications in-house to a mixture of hard copy and online publication… The one constant has been acquiring, researching, cataloguing and selling rare books and manuscripts.


Paul Feain

Paul Feain 
Cornstalk Bookshop and Sydney Rare Book Auctions

Sydney, Australia. Member of Anzaab since 1988 and past
president of ANZAAB. Served on the committee of ANZAAB for 10 years. Served for 10 years as a committee member of ILAB and was at various times Security Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Specialities: Issued about 200 catalogues from Cornstalk Bookshop. Many specialist Australian catalogues but also catalogues of Gay and Lesbian Studies, Crime Fiction, Pulps and Antiquarian Books. Have conducted 30 Auctions from our Sydney premises. With Mitsuo Mitso started the Hong Kong Antiquarian Bookfair and organised the first four of these. Paul has exhibited at numerous bookfairs in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia and has travelled extensively buying and selling rare books in all corners of the world

Paul went from being a cab driver in Sydney to a full time bookseller in 1980. His Cornstalk Bookshop was at 112 Glebe Point Rd in inner Sydney for 35 years. After selling the real estate, Cornstalk now operates online and at bookfairs and Paul concentrates on his auction business, conducting 6 auctions a year. Over the years Paul has trained staff and in fact 6 of his former staff members have gone on to establish their own book businesses

Website:   and

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