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Minutes of the General Meeting

Published on 16 Oct. 2013



Saturday 28th September 2013

Biblioteca comunale degli Intronati

Siena, Italy


Fabrizio Govi, ALAI President, introduces Professor Borghi - head of the Biblioteca -  who welcomes the Assembly in an Italian allocution, and both are warmly applauded.


1. President’s Welcome

The President calls the meeting to order at 10:10 am:

Dear Presidents,

Before welcoming you to this meeting, let me remind you of the following points :

- The official languages of the League are French and English. You can participate in either of those languages. If you wish to speak in any other language,  you must have an interpreter who can immediately translate your comments in either French or English. For those who have brought interpreters with them, please proceed as quietly as possible.

- Cell phones are to be turned off unless there is an emergency situation. In which case please set them to silent mode.

- countries with more than 150 members are entitled to 2 votes. Voting is done by show of hands unless someone requests  a secret ballot. Those who have proxies or who have two votes, please put two hands up (or more!) when counting the votes.

- A motion must be presented and seconded before the discussion can begin. If there is no seconder then the motion fails. A motion which is not on the agenda can only be discussed if all the presidents agree to do so, and that means no abstentions.

Now, let me welcome you all, Presidents, Presidents of Honour, Members of Honour, Committee Members. We shall go round the table and ask each one to introduce him or herself.

Each in turn, briefly introduces him/herself.

The President then welcomes all the participants, and  in particular the new presidents.

Before proceeding with the meeting, he reminds everyone that at the Lucerne Meeting of September 2012, Immediate Past President Arnoud Gerits was unable to be present due to a death in his family. He presents him with an engraved plaque for the extraordinary services he rendered the League during his term. Both are applauded. He then offers him, on behalf of the Committee, a pair of ILAB cufflinks. Arnoud warmly thanks the Committee and the Presidents, adding that he is both surprised and honoured. Another round of applause is given.


2. Presence, apologies, announcement of proxies and establishment of quorum, appointment of scrutineers


ILAB Committee

President - Tom Congalton

Vice President - Norbert Donhofer

Treasurer - Paul Feain

General Secretary - Ulrich Hobbeling

Committee Members - Michel Bouvier, Gonzalo Fernandes Pontes, Brigita Laube, Umberto Pregliasco

Immediate Past President - Arnoud Gerits

Presidents of Honour - Adrian Harrington, Alain Nicolas, Michael Steinbach

Member of Honour - Poul Poulsen

Website editor - Barbara van Benthem

Executive Secretary - Naveen Marsh

National Associations

ABA (UK) - Brian Lake (2 votes)

ABAA (USA) - John Thomson (2 votes)

ABAC (Canada) - Marvin Post (1 vote)

ABAJ (Japan) - Masagi Yagi (1 vote)

ABF (Denmark) - Maria Girsel (1 vote)

AILA (Spain) - Gonzalo Fernandes Pontes (1 vote)

ALAI (Italy) - Fabrizio Govi (1 vote)

ANZAAB (Australia & New Zealand)- Sally Burdon (1 vote)

CLAM (Belgium) - Evelyne Morel de Westgaver (1 vote)

GAB (Russian Federation) - Ekaterina Kukhto (1 vote)

MAE (Hungary) - Adam Bosze (1 vote)

NABF (Norway) - Paal Sagen (1 vote)

NVvA (Netherlands) -  Ton Kok (1 vote)

SAY (Sweden) - Tomas Jansson (1 vote)

SLAM (France) - Anne Lamort (2 votes)

VAO (Austria) - Dieter Tausch (1 vote)

VDA (Germany) - Chrisitan Hesse (2 votes)

VEBUKU (Switzerland) - Peter Bichsel (1 vote)

Apologies received:

ILAB Presidents of Honour: Kay Craddock, Bob Fleck, Anton Gerits




Total = 22

The Quorum is reached. A motion needs 15 votes to pass.


Appointed as scrutineers are ILAB Presidents of honour Michael Steinbach & Adrian Harrington


3. Proposal by the Committee - Change to By-Laws Rule 25:

The Committee proposes the following change:

“The Committee shall meet at least twice a year, more often if necessary.”


“The Committee shall meet at least once a year, more often if necessary.”

Ton Kok (NVvA) seconds the proposal.

A brief explanation is given by the President: most years, thanks to the Internet, most problems are solved easily online. Furthermore, Committee members often meet at international book fairs. The Committee will most often meet twice a year, but needs the option not to have a meeting if nothing is urgently needed as it would save money for ILAB.

In favour: 22

The motion is passed.


4. Proposal by the ANZAAB - Addition to By-Laws Rule 18:

The ANZAAB would like that reports from National Associations become a permanent fixture of annual meetings: such reports would contain the activities of the associations as well as a brief report of the book trade in the country of the association, and to that end, proposes the following addition to clause 18 of the by-laws (clause 18 refers to the major functions of the ordinary general meeting):


i) to report on the activities of each national association and on the book trade in general



Marvin Post (ABAC) seconds the proposal.


President Tom Congalton adds that these reports have turned out to be very helpful and should be continued.


In favour: 22


The motion is passed.


The President then moves on to the Agenda of the Ordinary General Meeting.





Saturday 28th September 2013

Sienna, Italy


1. Establishment of quorum

The quorum is reached.

A motion needs 12 votes to pass.

2. In Memoriam

The following list of names is read out, and a minute of silence is observed.


Mickie Brand

Gaby Goldscheider

Björn Löwendahl

John Maggs

Lord Rees Mogg

Edward Nairn

Philip Rogers

Hinda Rose

Richard Sawyer

Thomas Schuster

Sophie Smith (née Hernu)



Don Conner

Gene Bruck                 

Norman Kane (Emeritus) 

McDuffie Owens (Emeritus)

Karl Schick (Emeritus)


ABAC - Canada

Jeri Bass


ANZAAB - Australia & New Zealand

Barbara Burdon

Alec Dickins

Pat Hince



Ab van de Steur

Ronald Jansen


SLAM - France

Marie-Thérèse Denis

Gérard Fleury

Elie Szapiro


VAO - Austria

Otto Bourcy

Karl Donhofer


VDA - Germany

Karl Hartung

Raimund Kitzinger


3. Approval of Lucerne Minutes, September 2012

Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) seconds the proposal.

In favour: 20

Abstention: 2 (ABA), as Brian Lake has not had the opportunity of reading them.

The motion is passed.


4. National Associations’ Reports

They have all been received by email (attached as an annex at the end). The following summary is read:

All the reports have in common the fact that the high end market is doing very well and is not affected by the crisis, and that middle range market is not moving much and that dealers in this segment are finding it harder to sell their books. The book fairs still seem to be doing well. The number of book dealers seems to be stable even though the number of street shops is going down. Great ideas seem to have been developed in Australia with their rare book week, and is perhaps a model that other associations could follow. 

Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) asks whether it will be possible to receive the reports in electronic format, she is told that this will be possible after they have been printed in the forthcoming Newsletter.


5. President’s Report

The Committee proposes the adoption of the President’s Report

President Tom Congalton reads the following report:

I am pleased to report that despite continued worldwide economic turbulence, and an ever changing landscape within the rare book world, ILAB, our member nations, and the individual bookseller affiliates are continuing to rise to the challenges presented by an uncertain future.

I believe that this meeting marks the first time that the national presidents have been formally asked to report on the state of the rare book trade in their own countries. Despite relatively short notice, most of you have complied. There was some scepticism on my part that these reports would not necessarily enlighten us, but I was very pleasantly surprised at the thoughtfulness and attention that went into those reports, and have found them to be a very helpful tool in understanding the overall state of the world rare book trade. These reports provide us with an opportunity to share ideas and experiences beyond our national borders, leading to a better understanding of the trade in which we operate. These reports will certainly influence the Committee in dealing with the day-today decision making that we are confronted with. I very much hope that the Presidents will see fit to approve the by-law proposal by ANZAAB to make these reports a permanent part of future meetings.

As has been the case for the past several years, ILAB would accomplish very little without the efforts of our two employees, our Executive Secretary N. Marsh and our Website Editor Dr. Barbara van Benthem.

Aside from keeping ILAB functioning on a daily basis, acting as both the institutional memory of the committee and a model of efficiency, Naveen has managed, in her spare time, to compile, publish, and arrange distribution of the ILAB Directory, and in the process created additional income for the organization of several thousand Euros, as well as considerably lowered our out of pocket expenses for its distribution. She also prepared a keepsake volume from the Lucerne Congress that generated additional funds, and is spearheading the ILAB project on bibliophily.

Barbara van Benthem continues to be vigilant in creating, assigning, and otherwise finding new content for the website, posting new material daily, and furthering our goal of making the world’s single most authoritative website for rare books. Her efforts have been rewarded with steady and measurable growth in traffic to the site. She also supervises our interactions on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. Barbara will have a fuller report later.

ILAB continues to enjoy the benefits of partnering with ViaLibri and Jim Hinck who provide us with a metasearch at little or no cost to us. The Committee continues to believe that the metasearch model creates a greater cost/benefit to our member affiliates than the previous database model. During yesterday’s Committee meeting we have consulted with Jim about future progress in this regard. Jim will be available during the social parts of the programs should the Presidents want to consult with him as well.

The Committee reacted quickly when it became known on short notice that Amazon was attempting to monopolize generic book-related internet domain names (although we admittedly adapted our response from the excellent work on this matter done by the ABAA and their President John Thomson) and this resulted in some modest but positive publicity.

As you are all probably aware, a sub-committee consisting of Barbara van Benthem, ILAB President of Honour Bob Fleck, and myself, have been talking to representatives of Advance Book Exchange (ABE) about the possibility of cooperation. ABE originally approached us with a benevolent-sounding but vague and undetailed proposal, which we rejected. In response, they have made additional proposals which we continue to examine, and they have asked for additional meetings. We understand that many of our affiliates see ABE as a threat but ask for your indulgence in letting us continue these discussions, and have made a proposal to that affect on the agenda. If the Committee does make a recommendation of cooperation with ABE at some future date, we are determined that any final decision on such a proposal would have to be made in consultation with the Presidents and with your approval.

Since our last meeting, when the Committee was forced to cut some expenses and postpone some expenditure in order to balance the budget, income and expenses have normalized. We have moved our main bank account to London and now our trading account is held in Euros. ILAB has balanced the budget, with no major liabilities. Our cash flow outlook is positive, helped in part by Naveen’s activities with the Directory, and we have set aside the money for the ILAB Breslauer Prize. Our investments continue to be held in a safe and secure manner in the Royal Bank of Denmark, where it is earning an acceptable 3.5% interest. Treasurer Paul Feain will report further later in the meeting.

Despite being thrust into the job of Head of ILAB Security barely a month beforehand, Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes, by all accounts performed admirably at the IFLA Security Conference this past November.

The fallout continues from the Girolamini Library thefts and the related forgeries and the continuing problems that the circulation of these book might pose to some of our member affiliates who might have inadvertently come into contact with them. ILAB has set a standard of vigilance and cooperation on the matter, beginning with Past President Arnoud Gerits quick, intelligent, and insightful reaction to the scandal which was widely disseminated in the world press. ILAB continues in our cooperation and promotion of events to educate the public about the thefts at ILAB sponsored events such as the presentation by Nick Wilding at the California International Book Fair in San Francisco. ILAB has also signed on as a sponsor for the upcoming symposium entitled “Authenticity” to be held at the Library of Congress in December, which will explore these questions in greater detail.

Of particular note has been the attention and energy devoted to this problem by ALAI President Fabrizio Govi, who, with greater access to the Italian authorities and the inclination to gather as much information as possible, has provided the ILAB Committee with excellent overviews of the unfolding event, and advice on how we should react to it. The Committee is, and I am personally, grateful to Fabrizio for all of his efforts.

Although these thefts and forgeries are at best disconcerting to our trade, the only logical conclusion can be that rare books continue to be seen as items of great value, and that indeed the often repeated sentiment that “rare books are dead” is laughable.

I would like to thank the Presidents of those nations who have so far appointed Patrons of Honour. The Patrons lend lustre and gravitas to ILAB’s efforts to promote the trade, and those appointed so far are uniformly illustrious and will continue to provide us with another avenue of promoting the rare book trade. I’d like to encourage those national associations who have not yet appointed a Patron of Honour to make progress in doing so, but understand that arriving at such a decision can be difficult.

The idea of the League would be impossible to implement without the hard work of the national associations and their presidents in organizing Presidents Meetings and Congresses. Alain Moirandat and VEBUKU provided us with a splendid Congress in Lucerne. Again I must thank Fabrizio Govi for organizing this meeting. Between this meeting and his work on the Girolamini event, I have no idea when Fabrizio actually has any time to sell books. SLAM President Anne Lamort has overcome many scheduling obstacles in order to provide us with a Congress in Paris in 2014, at the same time that SLAM will celebrate their 100th anniversary of SLAM.

Membership on the ILAB Committee is not a ceremonial position. On most days literally dozens of emails are exchanged between members. As I am five or six hours behind most of the Committee members I often find that problems have been identified, debated, and frequently solved, before I’m even awake. In this regard it must be doubly difficult for Treasurer Paul Feain in Australia, where with the advice of Treasurer of Honour Poul Poulsen, he presides over our finances. Brigitta Laube represents us at the meeting of CINOA. General Secretary Ulrich Hobbling has organized several Committee Meetings and is a source of concise and sensible observations. Additionally we are lucky in the two most recent members of the Committee, Umberto Pregliasco who organized the splendid Congress in Bologna when he was President of ALAI, and Michel Bouvier, who has made a good beginning in finding new methods of promoting our fairs internationally, and is exploring additional sources of revenue for promotion.

And finally our Vice President Norbert Donhofer. In addition to running the successful ILAB intern program, Norbert is as adept at sternly encouraging committee members to take on additional tasks or complete those they have been given, as he can be diplomatic and charming in negotiating difficult solutions to problems.

However, make no mistake: Norbert does not tolerate fools gladly. And depending on the issue being discussed, and those discussing it, his definition of “fools” can be quite expansive, and no one, as far as I can tell, is exempt.

I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable advice and wisdom of the Past Presidents, and particularly of the immediate Past President Arnoud Gerits, who has been an unfailing source of commonsense and good advice. Very regrettably, because of a death in the family, Arnoud could not attend his final meeting as President, where I believe he would have received the praise and gratitude that he so well deserves. At this point, I’d like to thank him for all his hard work and devotion to ILAB.

While our industry continues to change rapidly, progress is as always largely incremental and can sometimes seem frustratingly slow. However, I am confident that ILAB continues to show the way forward in the world of rare books, and that without the League and the dedication and cooperation of our international colleagues and the individual national associations, the rare book world would be a much more uncertain place.


Ton Kok (NVvA) seconds the Committee’s proposal.

In favour: 22

The motion is passed.


6. Treasurer’s Report and Proposed Budget

A) Report

The Committee proposes the adoption of  the Treasurer’s report.

Treasurer Paul Feain presents his report that has been distributed to all (see Annex).

The Committee’s proposal is seconded by John Thomson (ABAA)

In favour: 22

The motion is passed.

B) Proposed budget

There have been a few changes to the originally printed budget (see Annex for revised budget). Briefly, Paul Feain says that the income will increase by two thousand Euros from sales of products, the expenses will however increase because of the cost of travelling for the preparation of the forthcoming directory, the sponsorship project, the printing of the bibliophily book, the cost of sponsorship of the Library of Congress symposium, “Authenticity”, as well as for the presidents meeting and renting of rooms in Paris. He adds that the previous treasurer, now member of honour,  Poul Poulsen has looked extremely well after ILAB’s finances for 20 years, the bank accounts are now in London at the HSBC, and the committee is looking into the need of keeping the dollar account; the bonds in Denmark are doing well, and receive about 3.75 per cent interest.

There are no questions asked.

C) As the next Presidents’ meeting is in April 2014, the Committee would like to put forward a proposal to agree to an exceptional electronic vote in September 2014 in order to approve the accounts of the financial year starting 1st July 2013 and finishing 30th June 2014, as well the budget for the financial year starting 1st July 2014 and finishing 30th June 2015.

The Committee proposes that the Presidents agree to vote electronically in September 2014 concerning the accounts of the financial year 1st July 2013 - 30th June 2014 as well as the budget of the financial year 1st July 2014 - 30th June 2015

The proposal is seconded by Dieter Tausch (VAO).

In favour: 22

The motion is passed


7. Security

A) Report

Security Chair Gonzalo Pontes reads the following report:

The security report has different aspects that I will try to explain briefly.

The number of security messages alert is diminishing in comparison with other years. The continuous updating of the stolen books database is the  work that Barbara van Benthem, Ilab editor, whom I want to thank for her invaluable and steady effort and dedication.

I was chosen as security chair  by Tom Congalton just after my election to the Committee at the Luzern Congress, September 2012. My “baptism of  fire” came up after one month and a half after at the IFLA international security conference held at The Hague, in the Netherlands.

The goal of my presentation was to start with a formal introduction to the academic world of ILAB as an international association, and how to establish a kind of synergy on security issues between ILAB and libraries.

During the presentations, the issue arose about the necessity for public institutions to inform of book thefts and to consider thefts as facts instead of hiding them from the public and other institutions.

This willingness was mentioned by several speakers before and after my presentation. It remained clear that the purpose for most book thieves is to make  money swiftly. To this end, contacting an auction house or a dealer is the main strategy for driving the books, maps or documents to the market.

I explained about our stolen book database and our email alert that permits any ILAB affiliated bookseller to fill in the template with the basic data of the stolen material  and send it to the ILAB editor. This simple but effective tool allows all ILAB dealers worldwide to immediately receive files about any  stolen material.

I briefly made an introduction to our by-laws and code of ethics of the League, explaining  that it is the umbrella of 22 national associations with all their members bound to a common code of practice.

I insisted in my last words that confidence is an asset that is in the core of relationships between dealers and customers either private or institutional. ILAB was, is and will be a reliable organization.

I thanked Theo Vermeulen for his invitation  and accepted on behalf of ILAB to attend (either me or whoever will be the  next  ILAB security chair) to future IFLA  meetings.

I was happy to attend this international meeting that allowed me not only to meet people but to get in touch with something that is so important for our trade in these days : to buy with security, to sell with confidence, to be reliable and practice fair play.

He then passes the floor to ALAI President Fabrizio Govi to talk about the Girolamini thefts.


B) Update concerning the Girolamini thefts

Fabrizio Govi declares that nothing new has happened since the presentation he gave last April at the Library of Congress (see Annex). The trial of de Caro’s accomplices has been postponed to a date yet to be determined, but De Caro has been sentenced to a seven year jail sentence, but is now under home arrest in Verona.  ALAI policy has been to suspend the two involved members from the association until the end of the trial. In the meantime, Mr. Schauer of Zisska and Schauer has been arrested in Germany and is still in jail. There are two major and separate issues:  a) the thefts,  and b) the forgeries; those made by de Caro are not under investigation in Italy, and it is a problem because nobody knows how and when they were made nor who has the skill to produce such accomplished forgeries. Furthermore, nothing has happened in Italy at the higher levels of the institutions and authorities, so that none of the officials have been touched and nobody will ever judge them for their role in the thefts.

Brian Lake (ABA) asks if the reason why the forgeries are not discussed in Italy is because the books were sold abroad. Fabrizio Govi acquiesces and adds that the forgeries are not mentioned, not even once, in the 250 pages of the trial. John Thomson (ABA) says that an investigation is going on in the US, perhaps more will be known at the Library of Congress conference in November. President Tom Congalton adds that no list from the Girolamini Library has yet been published. Umberto Pregliasco (Committee) explains that the authorities do not have a list of the stolen books, because the library data was destroyed by De Caro, but that a partial list of the books recovered has been presented. He also confirms that the Italian police are totally unconcerned by the forgeries.

Fabrizio Govi adds that a reporter from the New Yorker is writing a very detailed article on De Caro, he even went to Argentina where De Caro’s  career started, and spent a week with him while he was under house arrest in Italy.

Brian Lake (ABA) says that the ABA took the decision to be fully cooperative with the New Yorker reporter. He would like to know whether the other associations and ILAB feel the same? President Tom Congalton replies that we need indeed to be as cooperative as possible, but that if he were interviewed, he would do it in writing to avoid misquotations.


8. Prize for Bibliography Report

Prize Secretary Arnoud Gerits reports very briefly that the jury shall meet the second week of October for two days, and that they will have over 60 books to examine. The winner will be contacted once the choice has been made, then the books will be shipped to France to be exhibited at the Congress book fair, and he hopes that the ABA will again agree to buy them to add to its reference library.


9. Internet & Website

Website editor Barbara van Benthem reads the following report:

The ILAB website, the electronic newsletter and ILAB’s social media activities are parts of a campaign to give ILAB a public face as the global network for the professional rare book trade. This campaign started with the launch of the website and the ILAB Metasearch in January 2010. Since then ILAB has made considerable progress in raising public interest in book collecting, the professional trade, and in promoting the expertise of its affiliates worldwide. Customers visit the ILAB site not only once, but permanently, to perceive the variety of information displayed in its magazine like layout. In its fourth year of existence the ILAB internet presence has reached a good level of publicity. With it the ILAB brand has itself established as a leading destination for bibliophiles. I would like to mention some of the developments of the last year and to introduce some of the projects and plans for the near future. The positive trends reported at the Presidents’ Meetings in Weimar 2011 and Lucerne 2012 are continuing. In high seasons we have around 38.000 website visitors a month (32.000 to 36.000 in 2012), between mid-January and mid-February we even had 39.000, which has been the highest number ever. In holiday seasons the numbers decline to 32.000 / 33.000 monthly visitors. A great number of visitors – most of them located all over Europe and North America, but also in Russia, Ukraine, Japan, Australia, India, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa – returns to the ILAB site 10 to 200 and more times, many of them browse 20 pages and more to use the tools and information provided by ILAB: the Metasearch, the Booksellers’ Search, the Calendar of Events, and the library blog – which are the top landing pages and provide the top content of the ILAB website. Over 780 articles, biographies, and collecting tips on a variety of book-related subjects have now been posted (500 in 2012, 220 in 2010), also around 100 interviews (mostly videos) and a considerable number of ever changing announcements of book fairs, auctions, exhibitions, lectures and seminars. Nearly 1000 catalogues have been uploaded by the ILAB affiliates (compared to 600 in 2012, 355 in 2010). Around 25 % of all website visitors click directly on the ILAB site, without a detour over Google. Other visitors come from referring websites, such as those of the national associations, affiliates and ILAB book fairs (especially New York and London), Google News, Flavorwire, ViaLibri,, Collectors Weekly, Bookshop Blog, Börsenblatt Online, the Ron Silliman Blog and many others, as well as from links in mailing lists (e.g. Ken Spelman) to mention only some of the most important references. The rest comes from Google and other search engines.

ILAB’s social media activities on Facebook and Twitter also show a permanent positive trend. Twitter with now nearly 1,500 followers (560 in 2012) is essential to share links and news especially with libraries, blogs, book fair organizers, the national associations (most of all the ABA, ABAA, ALAI, ANZAAB, VAO), and the affiliates who are very active. The ILAB Facebook group has doubled its member numbers from 407 in 2012 to 821 at the moment. The ILAB sites on Stumbleupon and Google + also produce considerable traffic to our websites. Moreover, the Social Media provide a “real time connection” with our affiliates, they show who stands in person behind the book fairs, congresses and thousands of online book offers. At the ILAB Fair in Zurich, a Dutch dealer said: “I wasn’t there, but the Congress must have been great.” He was not the only one who reacted like this to ILAB’s online diary and picture galleries. Through the internet ILAB communicates quickly with a huge international community. ILAB uses the virtual world to bring the real world of book collecting nearer to (mostly younger) people who already are or who are likely to become interested in the world of books. This also means: ILAB uses the virtual world to convince the affiliates that ILAB, its congresses and fairs are worth “real time” attending.

The monthly ILAB Newsletter with highlights from the website, recent catalogues and upcoming book-related events, is now sent out to 3051 (ca. 2400 in 2012) private customers, dealers, bloggers, magazines and newspapers including The Guardian, The Independent, Weltkunst, iBookCollector, FAZ, and Collectors Weekly. I would like to appeal to all recipients of the ILAB Newsletter to send each issue to friends and customers so that the news are spread as widely as possible.

ILAB’s cooperation with the national associations is another important factor: We share content – articles, interviews, and event announcements – with the ABA, VDA, ALAI, the SLAM and the VAO websites. The Austrian, French and Italian associations also use the same content management system as ILAB which makes cooperation very easy. Here, ILAB’s website plays an important part, both as a role model and as a content provider for the websites of the member associations and their affiliates.  ILAB’s message and that of the affiliates is thereby widely spread in the Internet.

Press and general responses show that ILAB’s network is popular. A few examples: The interview with Tom Congalton (“Book collecting is and almost always has been a vibrant, exciting and engaging pastime”) was re-published and linked to on the websites of the ABA, ALAI, VDA, and ABAA, on The Literary Tourist, on the IOBA website, on Börsenblatt Online, in the eBay Forum, and in several blogs (e.g. Oak Knoll, Booktryst, BTC Blog, Book Patrol) For a long time the interview with ILAB’s President belonged to the Top Content and to the Top Landing Pages in Google Analytics. Other good examples are the press release about ILAB joining the protest against Amazon & ICANN (the news were spread rapidly in the Social Media), the PR for the new directory, the ILAB Patrons of Honour awards which are now presented in a special section of the ILAB website with pictures, articles and reports. ILAB, for example, also was mentioned in the blog of the Smithsonian Institution, in an article “How to find the value of old books” by Dave Roos on “How Stuff Works” and in the Art Crime Blog, where A. M. C. Knutsson devoted an article to ILAB and its Stolen Book Database. We also had very positive reactions to our promotion of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography. A first reminder that books could be submitted until the end of April 2013, sent out in January, was re-published on the Ex-Libris List, in Sheppard’s Confidential, iBookCollector, Börsenblatt Online, in Hungary and Russia as well as in the newsletters and on the website of the national associations. After the Prize Jury had received 70 submissions, another press release was sent out in summer with equally good responses. We now continue the PR for the Prize with a series of presentations of all books nominated for the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography. Besides, every two months I send a list with the dates and links of all antiquarian book fairs supported by ILAB to CINOA and numerous magazines, blogs and websites to make sure that the ILAB fairs are listed wherever possible.

Content:  As a rule a story per day is posted on the ILAB website and in the Social Media. New among the writers who regularly contribute blog posts to the ILAB Library, are several younger dealers, such as Heather O’Donnell, Elizabeth Young, Travis McDade, Joy Antoni, Simon Beattie and Kristin Masters along with Dr. Shamil Jeappie (director of the Timbouctou Manuscript Project), Thibault Ehrenbardt (French / English journalist and author), Friedrich C. Heller (author, bibliographer and children’s book collector), Greg Gibson, Vic Zoschak, Angus O’Neill, Joachim Koch, and other brilliant bloggers. I also started some new series on the website: “Booksellers’ Anecdotes” (there are so many nice and funny stories to be told), “Booksellers in Exile” (excerpts from a biographical handbook about booksellers who escaped Nazi Germany) and “Nominated for the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography” (a weekly series in which all submitted books are introduced). Other series soon to be started are “Young Booksellers / Old Books” introducing young colleagues and their often different, new and successful attitude towards the trade, and “Rare Booksellers Second Lives”: Many booksellers also made a second career outside the rare book business; they became jazz, punk or classical musicians, writers, politicians, journalists or even owners of organic bakeries. Another plan is to establish a special presentation page for Rare Book Schools on the ILAB site where all lectures and seminars for antiquarian booksellers held anywhere in the world are introduced with links to the organizers, including, of course, the ILAB Internships. Most important will be the PR with reports and pictures before and during the great upcoming event: the ILAB Congress and International Antiquarian Book Fair 2014 in Paris.

Website improvements: All this would not have been possible without the excellent service of Neteor. At the moment Neteor is working on the new design of the ILAB site on the basis of a draft done by the French web designer Muriel Betrancourt.  As soon as this work has been finished, they will work on all website improvements the Presidents agreed upon in Lucerne, including an ILAB Podcast done by Adam Bosze. Jim Hinck is currently working on three very effective improvements: First, a WordPress plug-in that will enable searching the ILAB Metasearch from any site that has it installed. This feature will allow ILAB affiliates and also smaller national associations to set up inexpensive websites that would include ILAB search capability. Second, smaller improvements of the ILAB Metasearch API will enable us to identify the user language of visitors. Third, the space for ILAB ads on viaLibri should in rotation be used to advertise the ILAB book fairs.

Cooperation of ILAB and ABE: A further step ahead could be ILAB’s cooperation with other book-related organizations and internet platforms. Especially ABE shows particular interest. They have offered ILAB cooperation to promote the expertise of the ILAB dealers on their website and to add an ILAB Presentation Page with a search form exclusively for ILAB dealers to their website. Another initiative is to establish an annual Best Young Bookseller of the Year Award sponsored by ILAB and ABE. These are two of several ideas which have come up in the discussions between ABE representative Udo Goellmann, ILAB President Tom Congalton, and members of an ILAB Sub-Committee that includes Bob Fleck and myself. After some weeks of negotiating ABE sent a proposal to create such ILAB Landing Pages, a draft of their layout, and a plan how they would be incorporated in the ABE website using all ABE domains (.com,, .fr, .it, .de, On each of them general information about the benefits of buying from ILAB dealers would be presented along with information about the particular national associations.

Although all ideas seemed to be of great benefit to ILAB and ABE at first sight, ABE’s plans to put the ideas into practice turned out to be hastily conceived without any detailed advice from ILAB. It was obvious that ABE was interested in a quick solution to test a new way of merchandising with the aim of concentrating finally on the high-end market (in contrast to Amazon’s mass market). ABE’s plan was to launch the ILAB Landing Page in October, to measure its success and then to decide whether to go on – or not. Udo Goellmann could not tell us how long this test phase would last and on what criteria ABE’s decision would be based. ILAB would have not even been involved in this decision once the League agreed to cooperate. In summer the draft of the Landing Page was even pushed online by ABE without asking for ILAB’s permission. The draft itself was neither thoroughly structured nor well designed. All our suggestions to improve the layout and the visibility of the ILAB Landing Page, which ABE intended not to put on the home page but to more or less hide it in the “Rare Book Room”, remained unheard. In turn, ABE would copy an unlimited amount of content from the ILAB website, would use ILAB's logo and ILAB's good name. This did not seem to be a fair deal. Therefore, the Committee decided to reject ABE’s proposal, while, at the same time, emphasizing that this rejection would not be the end of further negotiations but the beginning of better discussions of how ILAB and ABE could work together and how such Landing Pages should be properly constructed and presented to benefit both ILAB and ABE. Meanwhile and in reaction to the ILAB Committee’s decision ABE assured ILAB that it is their “clear goal to achieve a long-term partnership with ILAB”, that they will work on an improved ILAB Landing Page, including a (so far missing) direct link to and incorporating ILAB’s suggestions. This new draft will be discussed with ILAB in detail, before launching it, and Richard Davies, ABE’s PR & Publicity Manager and the one who decides, will join the negotiations. Under these circumstances the ILAB Committee would like to continue the negotiations with ABE, if the Presidents’ give their approval to do so.




A) VAO proposals

A1) To add a direct link on the website between each item on sale and its owner:


A2) How can the ILAB website help dealers who do not list their books online?


A3) To have the cursor on the home page automatically placed where one needs it

Dieter Tausch (VAO) announces that he takes his proposals off the table, as clear and convincing explanations have been given to him before the meeting.


B) A proposal from the Committee concerning ABE Books:

The Committee has to date received a proposal of cooperation from ABE and has declined to accept it at this juncture. However,

the Committee proposes that the Presidents allow it to pursue talks with ABE in promoting the book world and ILAB’s affiliates. Any final proposal recommended by the Committee will be submitted for the approval of the Presidents. The Committee would furthermore request that the National Associations do not at this point enter into a separate agreement with ABE.

The proposal is seconded by Ton Kok (NVvA)

Brian Lake (ABA) asks whether the way our affiliates feel about our talks with ABE can be discussed. He stresses that there is a line between dealers who think that we should have nothing to do with ABE and others. Tom Congalton replies that ILAB could be a Trojan horse and use ABE’s millions of dollars of publicity, but he knows that at the same time, ABE could be considered as a Trojan horse into ILAB. The matter is controversial and whatever is going to be done needs to have the approval of the presidents.

Michel Bouvier says that ILAB cannot speak in the name of the dealers, but only in the name of the national associations represented by their presidents.

Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) says that we have to remember that we are only discussing whether to go ahead with the talks with ABE or not. She herself would be in favour, but she knows that her board is against.

Marvin Post (ABAC) thinks that we need to define a strategy.

President Tom Congalton says that when the ABAA first started its web search, ABE had then provided the search engine, then Alibris. Contracts do have exit strategies, and the collaboration then with ABE and Alibris did not hurt the ABAA. Any collaboration would, of course, need to have a prescribed length of time.

John Thomson (ABAA) feels that such a decision by ILAB could lead to some associations deciding not to remain ILAB members due to possible loss of membership within the association, and that would affect an association’s economics.

Brian Lake (ABA) adds that if he were to vote now on a collaboration with ABE - and considering that the ABA has two votes, one hand would go up in favour and the other stay down against. If there were such a motion, there would be reservations among his members if he were to vote in favour, but there would be none if not.

President Tom Congalton calls for the vote.

In favour: 21

Opposed: 1 (ANZAAB)

The motion is passed.


10. Two Proposals by the ABA

A) The ABA requests that current presidents of national associations be allowed to observe proceedings of the ILAB Committee

The motion is seconded by Adam Bosze (MAE).

Brian Lake (ABA) stands and facing the Assembly, says that when he was elected as a new president of his association, his first intention was to know how ILAB worked? He then wrote a private mail to ILAB President Tom Congalton asking him if he could be invited to attend the committee meeting in Siena as an observer; his wish was rejected and he therefore discussed this idea in council and hence this resolution. The proposal intends to open up the discussion and to find out how the committee works as it would help new presidents. Of course, he would not expect presidents to attend as observers every time. They did the same in the ABA. They opened up parts of the meeting which shows their members that they are really working and how they are working. Such observers are excluded from the meeting when the confidential section of the agenda is reached. The positive effect in the ABA is that members have been encouraged to attend the council meetings, it gets them more involved. In a world that becomes more and more open the ILAB Committee seems to be going just the other way. He adds that he does not expect the ABA motion to pass, but he hopes that a discussion will be started through it.

John Thomson (ABAA) says that the Committee takes up the suggestions and wishes that the Presidents come up with. Therefore he does not think that it is necessary to send observers to the Committee Meetings.

Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) agrees with John Thomson, and adds that the dynamics of a committee is important. But she also understands what Brian Lake says, she felt daunted when she attended her first meeting as ANZAAB President, and she really wished to do her best to represent her members who spend money to send her; perhaps something specific could be done for new presidents, such as a special hour dedicated for them, possibly just before the start of a meeting so that the workings of the Committee and the Presidents’ meetings could be explained. She does not think, however, that she would better understand the workings of the Committee if she were to attend its meetings.

Tom Congalton adds that when Kay Craddock was ILAB President, she inaugurated workshops for presidents and that meant that the agenda was done twice: the first one informally with a lot of discussion, and then formally with the voting.  These workshops seem to have stopped, except on individual topics when the need arises, not on the whole agenda. Perhaps an hour or two before a meeting could be dedicated to workshops or to introducing the workings of ILAB and the committee to the new presidents.

Anne Lamort (SLAM) says she understands the good intentions of Brian Lake but that she totally disagrees. A committee needs complete independence from the influence of countries. Having an observer who is there as a representative of his/her country’s association would jeopardize this independence.

John Thomson (ABA) suggests that the reports (President’s, Treasurer’s, Security, Internet, etc.) could be sent out a month or so before a meeting so that the Presidents can acquaint themselves with their contents and that would give time for more discussions during the meeting. Tom Congalton agrees that it would be a good idea, and that the Committee will try to send them as early as possible before the next Presidents’ Meeting.

Fabrizio Govi (ALAI) says he is more worried about the fact that affiliates are not interested in what the ILAB committee or the national associations’ committee discuss and suggest.

ILAB Vice-President Norbert Donhofer reminds everyone that it is the Presidents who take decisions not the Committee. The Committee just executes the decisions taken by the Presidents.

Gonzalo Pontes says that it would be difficult to speak clearly and openly during a Committee Meeting if observers were allowed to be present.

ILAB Past President Arnoud Gerits remarks that it was very clear in the email the Committee sent out to the Presidents in response to Brian Lake’s email that the Committee Members do not represent their country.

Brian Lake concludes by saying that he has been misunderstood as presidents would be there as observers only and that it should not affect the workings of the committee.

President Tom Congalton calls for the vote.

In favour: 2 (ABA)


The motion is defeated.


B) One of the most important jobs that  ILAB has to undertake is to resolve international disputes between booksellers (whether members or not). The Presidents request the ILAB Committee to reconsider the case of the ABA & the NVvA and to make a final judgement.

Marvin Post (ABAC) seconds the proposal.

This is an unfortunate situation explains Brian Lake (ABA); his predecessor Laurence Worms was very involved in this matter. The situation between two dealers got out of hand, and the ABA turned to ILAB as a last resort, but ILAB refused to provide any judgement or solution. The League publishes and upholds a code of ethics and puts out on its website the need for very high standards, therefore there must be a process to solve problems such as this. Repeatedly, in various places, ILAB states or has symbols that show that its dealers have high professional standards. For example, in its by-laws: “The League has established internal regulations which define the usual rules of the book trade which antiquarian booksellers agree to observe”; “in matters of both principle and practice involving the ethics of the book trade, the rules of the League, or one’s national association if stricter, must be adhered to by all ILAB booksellers”. Or in the rules contained in the code of ethics: “Members … should conduct all commercial transactions according to these  usages which expressly indicate that members offer to their clients  a clearly defined code of practice based on high ethical standards”; “Members shall be responsible for the accurate identification  and description of all material offered for sale“, etc. Or on the website: Buy Rare Books with Confidence… Therefore, ILAB should be involved in the conflict between the two dealers that could not be solved by the ABA and the NVVA, specifically in view of Rule 35 of the by-laws: “In the event of a dispute between national associations, the Committee may be called upon by the parties to arbitrate their dispute. The parties shall submit a statement to the Committee explaining the facts, together with the evidence and the case for each party.”

He adds that he will respond to the various statements made by Tom and the Committee in their email:

- Once the President of that organization tells us that they have examined the matter and determined that their affiliate was not at fault, we can not question the integrity of that decision. This is not an internal matter. This was an international transaction - the wronged party is resident in the UK, the material is in the UK. The ABA became involved at the express direction of the President of ILAB. The ABA Standards Committee has found that the material was seriously misrepresented and that no reputable bookseller would decline to accept its timely return. Does the ILAB Committee also respect the integrity of that decision?

- In the case of “the ABA vs. the NVvA”, mentioned in the ABA motion, the English dealer is indeed not a member of the ABA and thus not entitled to ABA action as detailed in the by-laws. The Code of Ethics is designed to protect everyone. It specifically covers “all commercial transactions relating to the profession, either between professionals, or between professionals and institutions or individuals.” The dispute is no longer between individual dealers and has not been since the ABA made its formal ruling. It is between the ABA and the NVvA, who have refused to accept the findings of the ABA. Arnoud Gerits, then President of ILAB, called on all parties to accept the proposal that the ABA Standards Committee rule on the matter in an email of Wednesday 8th August 2012. The NVvA has not done so.

- It seems futile for the ABA to submit the same case repeatedly in hopes of arriving at a different outcome... No arbitration under Article 35 has taken place, despite the ABA’s formal request. No mention or acknowledgement of Article 35 has ever been made in any response from the ILAB Committee. There has been no outcome. The suggestion that arbitration may mean different things in different languages may be true, but whatever it means cannot mean doing nothing or refusing to do anything.

- Doesn’t have power. ILAB can “arbitrate but not judge”. Dutch law is different. EU law on distance selling does not protect dealers, etc. etc. S.A. is not a very nice man - he didn’t ask nicely. All irrelevant - See Article 8. No association needs specific or additional powers to require its members (i.e. the associations) to abide by its rules. An injustice has been done. A purchaser has been to all intents and purposes defrauded. He is the wronged party. Hi is not on trial. An ILAB affiliate is at fault. The ILAB Code of Ethics has been flouted. If the NVvA will not act, then it must be ILAB that addresses the matter.

Brian Lake concludes by adding that he is heartened by the fact that President Tom Congalton and the Committee are keen to look  at the code for clarification and by Sally Burdon’s proposal that a workshop on the code of ethics be organized at the next meeting in Paris. He then thanks everyone for listening.

Evelyne Morel de Westgaver (CLAM) asks whether the President of the Dutch association has been asked for a comment. Ton Kok (NVvA) replies: No. He adds that he wrote many times to Laurence Worms that the fact that the UK dealer was not a member of the ABA was not important. He says that Brian Lake has only presented half the story, and that contrary to what he has said, there has been an outcome to the problem, but not one that the ABA has found satisfying.

Brian Lake refers again to the ILAB code of ethics and its paragraph on arbitration. For Brian Lake the conflict between the two Dutch and British dealers was not a national dispute, but an international matter. The material in question was clearly misrepresented and the material ought to have been returned. The Committee, however, said that it had no right to decide, as it represents the umbrella organization and is therefore not allowed to be involved in individual conflicts. This was told to the ABA in an email by Arnoud Gerits in 2012 when he was asked to give advice. In the following months the ABA asked the Committee several times to clear up this matter. But the Committee said that it would not become involved even if the ABA would repeatedly ask for advice. Brian Lake says that he cannot accept this answer, because he thinks that in this point the ILAB Committee clearly acts against its own rules. He hopes that the Presidents will ask the Committee to finally become involved in this case and to look at the Code of Ethics for clarification of its rules.

Ton Kok (NVvA) replies that it is unfair that the ABA believes that the NVvA would have acted differently if it had been a conflict between a dealer and private customer. If a private customer were involved, the NVVA would have acted in the same way as between two dealers. 

Anne Lamort (SLAM) asks whether ILAB has arbitrated or not. Immediate Past President Arnoud Gerits replies that he had tried and that two proposals had been made: When the UK dealer first came to him, he did not know he was not an ABA member and he told him to ask his president to contact the president of the other dealer’s association; a first proposal had been made whereby an additional discount would be given to the UK dealer but he turned the proposal down. Then Laurence Worms had proposed that a committee in the UK would examine the goods, but the Dutch dealer refused. Arnoud Gerits then proposed that both dealers could share the photo album, sell it together, however all compromises were refused by both dealers. He adds that ILAB is not a kindergarten, and that such attitudes cannot be dealt with.

Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) suggests that maybe the actual details of the case could be dropped,  as it will likely never be solved but we should discuss the principle and rules that govern such situations.

President Tom Congalton reminds again that a compromise was attempted but that it was unsuccessful, and that the Committee cannot impress its will on any national association. The Dutch organisation has spent a lot of time discussing this matter. He notes that Sally Burdon’s suggestion of a workshop in Paris will be followed through with and that he will send the details to Brian Lake.

Brian Lake stresses again that ILAB has its own code of ethics, and that it must have a process by which things are resolved when they go beyond the national associations, otherwise ILAB means very little.

ILAB President of Honour Alain Nicolas stands up and stresses the importance of words, that each word must be weighed, because we are entering a legal field. The aim of the Committee is to tighten the links of brotherhood between dealers and resolve conflicts in as much as it can. The Committee only has an executive role, it applies the decisions taken by an independent assembly of presidents who hold themselves the legislative power; the committee does not. And this has a reason: in each country the laws are different, so if a problem does not find a solution, a judgement would yield different results in each country, therefore if compromises cannot be reached, the committee can only make recommendations, nothing more and the matter has to be taken to Court: a trial would involve experts and witnesses, and once a judgement - necessarily an international one - has been rendered, it is notified to ILAB and only then can ILAB ask the president of a national association to expel the member found at fault.

Ton Kok (NVvA) says that here there is no case between the ABA and the NVva but between two dealers.

President Tom Congalton calls the vote:

In favour: 2 (ABA)


The motion is defeated.

Tom Congalton concludes by announcing the workshop on the ILAB code of ethics at the Paris April 2014 Presidents’ Meeting.


11. Next Congresses and Meetings

a) Reports on Paris and Budapest congresses

2014: Congress in Paris

Anne Lamort (SLAM) speaks in English and apologizes for her level of English. The Congress is almost organized, it will consist of 3 days in Paris, will start with a dinner after the last day of the book fair at the Grand Palais, even though there will not be much time to organize the transfer between the end of the fair, to the France Amerique House, a very beautiful venue. Monday, a visit to the National Library will be organized with an exhibition of their treasures, with lunch and dinner. Tuesday, the participants will leave Paris to visit two castles not very well known to foreigners: the Museum of Renaissance in the Chateau d’Ecouen, then after lunch, the Chantilly Castle, with special book exhibits. The dealers will be free for dinner. Wednesday, visit to the Mazarine Library with very beautiful things to discover, then after lunch the collection Dutuit at the Petit Palais. That same evening, the gala dinner at the Automobile Club de France place de la Concorde with an exhibition of books published by this private club about the first cars ever manufactured. The Presidents’ Meeting will be held in the France Amérique House on the Sunday of the fair.

Umberto Pregliasco (Committee) asks whether as the fair preceding the congress will be an ILAB fair, it will be possible to have different rules from the usual local ones. He thinks the Grand Palais is a fantastic venue, but the disposition of the booths is very different depending on whether they are under the dome or on the sides. When he organized the Bologna book fair and congress, he did not act as president of ALAI but in the interest of ILAB, so he convinced some Italian dealers to take the lesser booths in side rooms in order to avoid complaints from foreign exhibitors. He would like to ask the Committee and Presidents to encourage the SLAM to do their best to organize the most democratic fair possible in the Grand Palais.

Anne Lamort asks Umberto Pregliasco to be more precise, and asks him whether he has a solution to suggest?

He replies that it is not his to find. Anne Lamort says that in the Grand Palais the best places are under the dome, and that they are much more expensive. Would he like them to be offered at the same price as the alley booths? No, replies Umberto, he would like that even if there are different categories of booths they should all be decorated in the same colours and heights, and that there be a lottery of attribution. Immediate Past President Arnoud Gerits says that, as Umberto has pointed out, it is an ILAB Congress Fair, and do we want the dome filled with these enormous stands? Michel Bouvier (Committee) asks if Umberto wants to pay a high priced booth badly situated? Umberto Pregliasco replies that all dealers should be treated the same, and that if someone wants to buy 10 booths he can do so and arrange it as one enormous booth.

 Brigitta Laube (Committee) says that the Grand Palais layout is one in which she gets lost. Why can’t the SLAM make another design where book dealers are better presented? The SLAM needs to make all the booths look uniform. And she gives, as an example, the Print side of the Grand Palais exhibition: the big booths are not necessarily at the front. Anne Lamort replies that this time there will only be three alleys, and that the design has been improved.

President Tom Congalton says he understands both Umberto’s and Brigitta’s arguments, and that SLAM should try to organize the fair in as democratic a way as possible, and that he is certain the SLAM will do its best.

John Thomson (ABAA) says he understands what Umberto Pregliasco is saying but he gives the example of the USA where they have regional committees in charge of the regional book fairs, and the ABAA has very little say on a national level.

Dieter Tausch (VAO) says that France is acting as hosts, and hosts have to be welcoming.

Anne Lamort replies that the booths will not be distributed by nationality but by order of arrival. Those who reply immediately are those who can get the same booth as the year before. Those who are late get the remaining booths.

Norbert Donhofer (Committee) says that France will likely handle the matter as it should.

Peter Bichsel (VEBUKU) says that in 2012, the ILAB congress fair was organized with the knowledge that the public is not really aware of any difference between ILAB and VEBUKU. The public wants to see the same setting as every year.

Gonzalo Pontes (Committee) suggests that the two kinds of stand be intermingled in all the areas to avoid having one area more prominent than the other. Michel Bouvier (Committee) replies that there are two types of decorations and two types of booths.

Tom Congalton concludes in saying that these concerns have been duly noted and that Anne Lamort and SLAM will do what they can.


2016: Congress in Budapest

Adam Bosze (MAE) says that his association is proud to invite ILAB to Budapest in 2016, and that all the details will be available soon.


b) Next Presidents’ Meetings

2015: Sevilla

Gonzalo Pontes says that last year he gave a brief overview of the event. It would last 2 or 3 days. Sevilla is a big city, but the meeting would take place in the historical downtown, and therefore buses can be avoided as all the venues are within a 15 minute walk, in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood.  There are many different palaces and hotels, with rooms that can be used for meetings, close to the cathedral. The cultural program would be very rich: Cathedral, Columbine library, Archives of Indies, etc.

He adds that the only problem in Seville can be the hot weather, however all places have air conditioning. If anyone would wish to come before the meeting, he can set up individual tourist programs.

2017: Basel, to be confirmed


c) Timing between two congresses

Tabled for the future except if a question is asked. None is.


12. Work in Progress Reports

A) BIBLIOPHILY -  The secretary reports that to date, she has received articles from Russia, Austria, Canada and Spain.  She is soon to receive articles from the USA, Italy and France. Felix de Marez Oyens has agreed to write the article on the Netherlands. She can send some of the articles already received as examples to the countries, such as the UK, that would like to contribute but would like some examples of what is requested. The good news is that, thanks to Umberto Pregliasco, the presentation at a Conference soon to be given by Umberto Eco at the Beinecke Library will be included as a foreword. Furthermore, she would like to have the book ready on time for the Paris Congress, and that means that all articles should be received no later than the end of November.

Umberto Pregliasco asks how many copies will be printed. She replies that we can expect to print at least 3.000 copies. Each would be sold 5 Euros at book fairs.

B) DIRECTORY - The last directory was a huge success thanks to all the efforts and devotion of the ILAB Executive Secretary. Therefore the Committee has asked her to continue her excellent work and to edit the next directory. It will be published in a year and a half. She will now start selling advertisements and will visit the book fairs to get as much advertisements as possible. The recent directory has now already run out, it was well received, and therefore is a good opportunity to advertise. NM is thanked with applause for her successful and hard work.

C) NEWSLETTER - The next printed newsletter will be published before the end of the year. The reports from the national associations will be included. Articles and other contributions from the national associations are welcome.

D) PATRONS OF HONOR - Once again, President Tom Congalton urges those associations that have not yet appointed a patron of honour to do so.


13. Sponsoring

Michel Bouvier (Committee) stands to present an idea based on the fact that book fairs are very important to the trade and concern all the affiliates. ILAB federates all of our fairs. Those who have participated in the organization of book fairs know that it takes a lot of work and that it is quite difficult to do so. ILAB needs to develop a media plan with good communication so that newcomers can visit book fairs and get to know our trade. We need publicity. However, publicity requires money. Which is why national associations have always tried to find partners and sponsors. However, it is difficult to convince the TV and the media to be interested in a local association having a book fair. ILAB could, however,  federate all the national fair organizers in order to talk to eventual sponsors in the name of nearly 2,000 dealers worldwide rather than the 250 dealers of an association. ILAB could reach international companies, banks, luxury brands, watches, etc. Of course, ILAB would propose to such sponsors that they will have their logos shown at all ILAB fairs and on all fair material, from Tokyo to Oslo…  This program needs to be organized by ILAB, it cannot be done on a local level. He wants to know whether the Presidents will allow us to reach eventual partners, the Committee needs their approval to do so, so that it can talk in all their names, then if approved, ILAB and the Committee will manage it all.

Obviously, the cost for becoming a sponsor will be higher if it is international rather than national. The Committee is thinking of 100,000 € per year on a three year contract. We all know important people and if  all associations were to give their support it should not be too difficult to find sponsors. The funds would all be managed by ILAB but half would go back to the association that has found the sponsor. It is therefore essential to find out whether the Presidents can support this project or not.

The ILAB share of the money would be used to buy partnerships with international media (such as the International Herald Tribune, Euronews, etc.), to advertise and promote all the book fairs that are going on. The national association’s share of the money would be used to promote its own book fair. Partnerships could also be made with cultural institutions.

He then reminds everyone that a national association would have to consult with the committee about accepting a local sponsor if the programme goes ahead, because of possible conflicts of interest. Which is why it needs to be centralized.

Umberto Pregliasco (Committee) invites the presidents to talk of this great idea to their members, who might also know people who might be interested in the sponsorship. Another way to promote a sponsor is to suggest the organization of an exhibition in the subject of the sponsor’s trade.

Paal Sagen (NABF) thinks it is a splendid idea, but that we also need to gather more information about the figures represented by our business, because the press likes such details. Michel Bouvier replies that indeed we need to know what is our weight in the economy. President Tom Congalton reminds that this topic is the next item on the Agenda.

Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) mentions that their rare book week already has sponsors which may conflict with ILAB international sponsors and that may lead to a money loss for ANZAAB. Michel Bouvier replies that perhaps such sponsors could be referred to ILAB. She also indicates that the Rare Book Week in Melbourne already has many sponsors, who do not pay, but who participate in one way or the other, and that their logos appear on all the Rare Book Week material. Michel Bouvier assures her that ILAB would find a way to compensate any loss of local sponsor.

John Thomson (ABAA) says that such a project would be problematic for the US association, as all their book fairs are managed by outside contractors on a regional level, and it would require negotiating new contracts and that cannot be done before the present contracts are finished. President Tom Congalton replies that he has given a lot of thought to this matter, but he believes that if outside contractors know that their fair is going to receive some help in promoting it, they might be willing to include the logos of the sponsors on the book fair material.

Evelyne Morel de Westgaver (CLAM) asks whether ILAB would be ready to accept a sponsorship by Amazon or Abebooks? Michel Bouvier replies that, as an example, SLAM has problems with a specific firm not to be named,  and even if it were to give SLAM a million Euros, the response would be negative.

Brian Lake (ABA) wants to know whether he needs to go back to his members to find out how they feel about it? Is it a proposal? No, replies Michel Bouvier, it is just an idea at the moment.

Marvin Post (ABAC) says he has had some experience with media sponsoring in Toronto, it was expensive, and one has to be careful. Michel Bouvier replies that one can have advertising and written content, i.e. in order to have written content, one has to pay some advertising. He gives the example of partnerships in Paris for the book fair with French media.

John Thomson (ABAA) says he can go back to his members, but that on a number of proposals it might be better if ILAB did its own survey of its affiliates through the associations, send precise questions to the associations who, in turn, would send them out to their members. Tom Congalton replies that this is exactly what the next item on the Agenda deals with.

Fabrizio Govi (ALAI) concludes by saying that this is a brilliant idea with many obstacles that can, however, be solved one  by one.


14. ILAB Survey

The Committee proposes that the national associations agree to each undertake a similar survey drafted by ILAB. This survey would allow ILAB to know more precisely what financial power it represents. This knowledge would help in our dealings with various government authorities and prospective sponsors.

ILAB President of Honour Adrian Harrington briefly explains “SurveyMonkey”, an online tool that can be easily used by all for the survey.

Dieter Tausch (VAO) seconds the proposal.

There is no discussion, as it has been already discussed in the Agenda item 13.

In favour: 22

The motion is passed.


15. Budget Vote

The Committee proposes the adoption of the budget 1st July 2013 - 30th June 2014

The proposal is seconded by Adam Bosze.

There is no discussion and President Tom Congalton calls for the vote.

In favour: 22

The budget is adopted.


16. Other Business

CINOA: Brigitta Laube (Committee) explains briefly for the new presidents what CINOA is: ILAB became an associate member of CINOA two years ago. Their president is now a Dutch dealer. They have a website at  Their  import and export problems are more thorough than ours. They produce very good market reports which we have just started to do. They also have a program for post graduate students. Their last newsletter shows their concern about the fact that the big auction houses have started setting up galleries for private selling, including books. We don’t know what can be done about it, but we should be aware that they are trying to take over our business.

President Tom Congalton says that Brigitta Laube has represented ILAB for four years at CINOA meetings. He adds that ILAB pays a cheaper membership as CINOA wanted our numbers. However, it means that ILAB affiliates are not members of CINOA. To which Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) asks whether the ILAB affiliates can use the CINOA logo? The answer is negative.

President of honour Adrian Harrington says that if one of our affiliates would ever need to ask a question to a CINOA affiliate, he would get good advice.

INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: Vice President Norbert Donhofer says that it runs more or less automatically since it was set up two and a half years ago, students from the Moscow University of Printing Arts were sent to dealers in America, Europe and Australia; two more students are ready to take internships. Gonzalo Pontes (Committee and AILA President) has agreed to receive one student. Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) will also receive one. Norbert Donhofer goes on to say that  the program has been slightly expanded, not only for Russian students, but for any post graduate who might be interested and show good qualifications. For example, there is at present a student born in America who has studied in St Andrews Scotland, and who has a PhD. He adds that the program should be opened carefully, but he also reminds that internships used to be normal in the old days, and that prominent booksellers used to give internships: Kraus in NY, Thomas-Scheler in Paris, Quaritch in London. For those who need to know more, the guidelines are on the website, the CV’s of the students too, they can be contacted directly or through himself.

Brigitta Laube (Committee) adds that there are many libraries and universities who don’t know about the program, they should know about it and it’s up to the presidents to spread out the information.


President Tom Congalton asks if there is any other business the presidents would like to mention.

Marvin Posts (ABAC) asks if the Committee could run courses on appraisals: the ABAC members are losing ground to big appraisal groups who know nothing about books. However, such groups have set rules about  standards in writing appraisal reports, and he could forward information about that.

President Tom Congalton says that the Committee can discuss this matter, but it would be very difficult to conduct such seminars because of the different laws in the ILAB countries.

Sally Burdon (ANZAAB) says that at the Colorado book seminar appraisal courses are run, Tom Congalton replies says that the course’s duration is of an hour and a half. Perhaps, however, the Committee could come up with guidelines.

Immediate Past President Arnoud Gerits says that since there is some time left before closing the meeting, he would like to thank the committee for the hard work, for the cufflinks he has received, he adds that it is an honour to serve as ILAB President and conveys his love to all and encourages them to continue the good work.

There is no other new business.

Brian Lake (ABA) wants to thank Fabrizio Govi (ALAI) on behalf of all the presidents. Fabrizio Govi is warmly applauded.

President Tom Congalton moves to close the meeting. Marvin Post (ABAC) and Dieter Tausch (VAO) second this proposal.

In favour: 22

The Meeting closes at 2:30 pm.



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