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Published on 05 March 2012



The Worth of Rare Books - An Interview with ILAB President Arnoud Gerits

Don't buy books as an investment, buy them because you love books, you love a subject, a historical figure, a period. Build a collection and become the expert on the subject. It is the voyage that will give you incomparable pleasure, not the arrival at the destination.

Arnoud Gerits: "If you must invest, invest in yourself: enrich yourself, not your bank account."

Do Rare Books Appreciate in Value?

I was recently asked by a reporter to comment on this question, and I offered some specific examples. My comments in the article, as well as an explanation of the examples, were very much cut for space (no hard feelings, I understand how these things go).

Dan Gregory: "I thought I would provide the examples here, as well as a fuller answer to this question of how much rare books appreciate in value."

Out of the Classroom and Into the World - ILAB Internship Program

Eight weeks in Australia, Hungary, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands: ILAB has initiated an Internship Program to help young dealers widen and deepen their knowledge and plug into the worldwide network of rare book dealers. Three young antiquarian booksellers from Russia were the first to take part in the internships.

Read the exciting reports by Alena Lavrenova, Pavel Chepyzhov and Anastasya Zhikhareva!

Over-Pursuing: On Paying Too Much For Books

It happens. You miscalculate scarcity or demand. Or a widow asks you, tears in her eyes, "Is that all?" A dealer charms you with a book's virtues. Or assures you "The only one on the internet right now." You get overexcited at an auction. Or you drool over some choice item at a book fair.

"No matter the cause", says Brian Cassidy. "If you are a book dealer sooner or later: you will overpay for stock."

White Gloves: Functional or Fashionable?

A few years ago, as Sotheby's sold J. K. Rowling's handmade book, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard", one of the auctioneers displayed the book for the gathered crowd while wearing white gloves. Gloved hands turn the mundane act of touching a book into a ritual.

Erica Olsen: While wearing gloves may have been de rigueur for rare books at one time, more and more special-collections librarians now favor clean, bare hands over cotton gloves.

Amor librorum nos unit!




The Genetics of Book Price Design - Amazon's Special Offer: $23,698,655.93 for a Book about Flies

Amazon's Special Offer: $23,698,655.93 for a book about flies. The story was posted by Michael Eisen (it is NOT junk) on April 22, 2011, a CNN report by John D. Sutter followed on April 25, 2011. Exciting! Or not?

"Welcome to the world of algorithmic book pricing", says Dan Gregory.

The ILAB Metasearch and the Future of the Online Book Trade

We should really be asking about the future of rare book-buying on the internet. We cannot know where we are headed without knowing where our customers want to go. So put yourself in a collector's shoes.

Jim Hinck: "If you love rare books and want to own a lot of them there has never been a better time to be alive."

Rare Booksellers' First Catalogues - A Cover Story

Booksellers' first catalogues are as rare as some rare books. Often printed and produced with much love and energy, yet on cheap paper and for a still small company of customers, they are "used" - and thrown away.

Tom Congalton and Karl-Heinz Knupfer have collected booksellers' firsts, ILAB has published their cover story.

Book Sizes and Taking Advantage of Bald Men

Book Sizes at first sight come across as a bit pointlessly arcane. There are a myriad of variations within each theme "Crown Octavo", "Elephant Folio", "Royal Quarto" etc. These are usually tied to bibliographical descriptions from SOMEONE OLD AND DISTINGUISHED who wrote about this book eighty years ago and whose word has been taken ever since.

Bibliodeviant demonstrates an easy method to mention the right book formats in book descriptions.

Does the Book Dust Disease Threaten the Rare Book Trade?

Dust on the shelves. Collectors consider it romantic. Dealers live with it, or ignore it: dust in the corners where boxes with hundreds (thousands) of books are stored waiting to be described, priced and put into the showcases.

Scienstists warn: The "book dust disease" threatens the lives of millions!

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