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Minutes OGM

Published on 21 Dec. 2009

(Please use the PDF for printout)



7, 8 SEPTEMBER 2008






The meeting is called to order at 6 :30 pm by President Michael Steinbach.




The President reads the following welcome speech :


 Dear Presidents, Presidents of Honour, members of Honour, immediate past President and fellow commitee members,

Welcome to Madrid. It is a special satisfaction that once again we can have a Presidents meeting  in connexion with an ILAB  Congress. Thus continuing this long tradition I feel that it is a sign of the revitalisation of ILAB and its affiliates.

Thanks to all of you who have made the effort to join us and most of all thanks to the Spanish Association and it President Mr. Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes, who, despite all the difficulties, were able to present us with an interesting and exciting program which we certainly will enjoy during the coming days.

As already mentioned in my letter to you which was sent out with the agenda, due to the shortening of the duration of the Congress, we have less time to discuss as in other occasions. Therefore I would to ask you to have this in mind so that we can finish all the points on our agenda in time. Thanks for your consideration.




Are present :


National Associations


ANZAAB (Australia), Peter Tinslay

VAO (Austria), Norbert Donhofer

CLAM (Belgium), Eric Speeckaert

ABAC (Canada), Eric Waschke

ABF (Denmark), Maria Girsel

SLAM (France), Frédéric Castaing

VDA (Germany), Ulrich Hobbeling

ALAI (Italy), Umberto Pregliasco

ABAJ (Japan), Mitsuo Nitta

NVvA (Netherlands), Ton Kok

NABF (Norway), Nina Welle

AILA (Spain), Fernando Gonzalo Pontes

VEBUKU (Switzerland), Alain Moirandat (arrives at 8.00 pm)

ABA (UK), Alan Shelley

ABAA (USA) Stuart Bennett


Committee & Honour List


Michael Steinbach, President

Adrian Harrington, Vice President

Arnoud Gerits, General Secretary

Poul Poulsen, Treasurer

Tom Congalton, Paul Feain, Jean Pierre Fouques, Tsukasa Maeda

Bob Fleck, Past President and President of Honour

Alain Nicolas, President of Honour

Keith Fletcher, Mitsuo Nitta : Members of Honour

Nevine Marchiset, Executive Secretary




Brigitte Laube, Cinoa liaison officer

Ms Toda, Japanse interpretor


Apologies have been received from:


Ana Maria Bocayuva de Miranda Jordao (ABLA, Brazil)

Sigbjörn Ryo (SVAF, Sweden)

Kay Craddock,  President of Honour

Anton Gerits, President of Honour


Are represented:


Proxies have been received from:


SVAF (Sweden) has given a proxy to Poul Poulsen

ABLA (Brazil) has given a proxy to Norbert Donhofer


The quorum is reached as a majority of members are present or represented.


In accordance with the rules, the following associations have one vote: ANZAAB, VAO, CLAM, ABLA, ABAC, ABF, ALAI, ABAJ, NVvA, AILA, SVAF, VEBUKU, NABF


And the following have two votes: SLAM, VDA, ABA, ABAA


Which amounts to a total of 21 votes. Any motion will be adopted if it has at least 11 votes in its favour.

Alain Nicolas and Keith Fletcher are appointed as scrutineers.




The following list of deceased affiliates since the 2008 meeting is read, and a minute of silence is observed in their memory:


SLAM (France):

Gilles de Béarn, Librairie Pages d'Histoire, died 16 February 2008

Pierre Berès, died le 28 July 2008

Jean Touzot, died le 29 August 2008



Georg Beran


ABF (Denmark):

Jan Melskens from Classensgade Antikvariat


ABA (United Kingdom):

Peter Jolliffe (Member, Ulysses Bookshop)

Alfred Wallis (Kenney’s Bookshops and Art Gallery)

Maureen Kenny (Wife of Member, Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery)

Ron Taylor (Director of Bertram Rota Ltd.)

Gabby Besley (Former Member, Besleys Books)

Derek Gibbons (Retired Member)

Ronald Gooch (Prominent member of the trade)

Jacques Vellekoop (Former Member, E.P.Goldschmidt)

Graham Baird (Sotheby’s)

Heidi M Proctor (C D & H M Proctor t/a Antique Map and Book Shop)



Eunice Burstein (Harold M. Burstein)

Jens Christoffersen (Emeritus)

Douglas O’Dell (Chapel Hill Books);

Michael Schon (Old London)

Bea Siegel (Bea and Peter Siegel Books);

Madeline Stern (Rostenberg & Stern);

Sheldon Tarakan (Visible Ink);

Jeffrey Thomas (Jeffrey Thomas Fine & Rare Books)




Stuart Bennet (ABAA) and Nina Welle (NABF) have not read the Paris minutes and prefer to abstain from voting.

In favour: 19

Against: 0

Abstention: 2

Motion carried.




Michael Steinbach reads the following report :


Another year has gone by since most of us met in Paris and as always I first want to thank my committee members, our immediate past President Bob Fleck, our executive secretary Nevine Marchiset, our webmaster Jelle Samshuijzen and all of you who in one way or the other have contributed to the progress of ILAB and its affiliates.

 As we will discuss many of the items on the agenda when they come up, for now I will only give a short summary of what has been achieved during the last year.

One of the major targets we have had in the last year was the preparation and organisation of this upcoming congress. And I personally, and I think all of us, are very happy that it is happening and that we have so many participants from all over the world. My thanks again to the Spanish Association and its President Mr. Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes for all the work, time and sleepless nights they have invested to make this happen. I am convinced that everyone who has made the effort to join us here will experience the spirit of the League and take back home the feeling that together we are able to fight all the inconveniences which are facing our trade.

The recently held workshop, for the preparation of which we have to thank the President of the ABA, Mr. Alan Shelley, has given us some ideas and views how to improve the work of ILAB and its committee and I can assure you that we will consider all the recommendations very seriously.

Another major achievement, as you have already heard, was the final agreement with the Breslauer Foundation, who gave a generous gift to our Prize for Bibliography, this, together with the other donations already received, will make the prize self supporting. Here my special thanks go to our immediate past President and President of Honour Mr. Bob Fleck who initiated the first contacts with the Breslauer Foundation and kept pushing till we reached this happy conclusion. Now with our new chairman for the prize Mr. Mitsuo Nitta and the Prize secretary Mr. Arnoud Gerits will make a huge step forward.

As the last CINOA meeting happened to take place in Paris our executive secretary, Mrs. Nevine Marchiset was able to attend part of the meeting. Fortunately we have now found a member of the Swiss Association, Mrs.Brigitta Laube of Zürich, who is also a member of  CINOA. She kindly agreed to represent ILAB at the CINOA meetings and will identify those areas where we can direct our main efforts in working with CINOA to our mutual benefit. This should give us increased power when it comes to pursuing common interests before the European Union or other government bodies.

Our security data base is working smoothly thanks to the efforts of Mr. Paul Feain, although there is perhaps still room for some fine tuning. There is a proposal from the ABA for this purpose on the table which we will discuss later on and see what we can achieve to make it even more effective.

 Our financial affairs have, for very many years, been in the capable and very careful hands of our treasurer, Mr. Poul Poulsen. At the request of the last Presidents Meeting he has now presented the Statement of Accounts for the  year 1. July  2007 to 30. June 2008 in a new form, thus fulfilling the wishes of the Presidents and at the same time complying with international accounting. requirements. This has given Poul considerable extra work and we all thank him most sincerely for his efforts.

As you will see there is a new edition of the Newsletter to be handed out to you which thanks to the big effort of Mr. Tom Congalton and Mr. Dan Gregory was finished in time for the congress. As surveys have shown, many of our booksellers do not now much about the work of ILAB and what advantages they can have out of this, so communication between ILAB and its affiliates has to be improved. One way to achieve this is the newsletter to keep them informed of what is going on and I hope I can count on you to distribute it to your members who do not seem to be fully aware of its existence. So I hope in the future we will be able to publish the Newsletter in a more frequent way. Unfortunately Mr. Tom Congalton tells me he wishes to step down as editor. A volunteer is required to take over – and failing that, we need the name of someone whose arm could be twisted...!!

Our website is improving continuously. New languages such as Russian and Spanish have been added and more are to come. More articles and links have been put on our site,  a new co-editor could be found to contribute notes from the continent. Our goal has to be to make our site as attractive as possible for our  audience, so that they don’t have to go to other sites and get all the information they need here. Although the traffic on our search-engine steadily increases we do still need to increase the number of participants. In view of the developments with other search-engines like ABE, it becomes more necessary then ever that we have our own independent search-engine and particularly a web site which offers a quality service and guarantees which no other website can match.  If you look at the top ten most expensive books sold you will see that the ILAB search engine is way ahead of the others. This is a sign that the customer is confident about our site. Please convince your members to join the data-base so that it becomes even more attractive for the customers. Mr. Jelle Samshuijzen from Rockingstone has agreed to hold an workshop on the possibilities of the internet on Tuesday morning after our General Assembly.  I hope you will all attend to make it a fruitful event.

 One approach we have made, though not yet successfully, was to try to convince the Argentine Association to join ILAB. Many talks, especially at the Paris Fair with one representative from Argentine have been made, emails sent and phone calls made, but no outcome. We will keep working on it.

A bit more successful was the approach to the Russian antiquarian bookdealers.

Thanks to our Canadian affiliate Mr. Eric Waschke. who in June travelled to St. Petersburg and Moscow, and who’s report on this journey you can find on our website and in the newsletter, we have invited some representatives of the Russian trade to join us in Madrid as observers and to establish some personal contacts. At the time of writing I have not yet had an answer from our Russian colleagues, but in any case the report of Mr. Waschke is a first stetp towards establishing contacts with this important rising market.

 It looks like being member of the ILAB committee is becoming more attractive then in the past since we have five nominations for two vacancies. You will find the proposals for the nominees in the agenda. As this vote will be by secret ballot the papers will be handed out at the time of the election. Please consider what would be the best team to work together effectively.

Last but not least I want to mention an offer from the German Association VDA

the ‘Auktionspreise Online’ (Book prices online). I should tell you by the way that  not only the German auction houses are represented but also auctions houses from Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland have joined and more are to come. I am happy that I could arrange a special deal for ILAB affiliates with the German Association. Please find the details on our website or in the newsletter.

 The next Presidents meeting will be held in Vienna October 6th through the 10th in part together with the International Bibliophiles. The suggested program specially organised by the President of the Austrian Association Mr. Norbert Donhofer will be handed out to you.

Although we are still only at the beginning of what promises to be a wonderful congress here in Madrid, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all that our next congress,  in 2010, will be in Italy, organised by the Italian Association, who have already been our host at some memorable congresses in the past. I hope we can meet there as well.

Thank you for your attention.


It is followed by a round of applause. The report is unanimously approved.




Arnoud Gerits reads the following report:


Dear Presidents,

This is my last report to you all as secretary of the ILAB Committee. I have been secretary for the last two years and it was a pleasure to work with my fellow committee members and President Michael Steinbach.

Let me present to you a brief summary of some of the things I have done over these last two years:

Meetings are held according to an Agenda: I draft the agenda, put the submitted motions in after I have translated these into French, or into English if it is a French motion, assemble all the other relevant material for a meeting, and mail the package out to the Presidents according to the time frame that is set by our rules and by-laws.

I have produced the minutes of all the meetings: the committee meetings, the meetings of the committee preceding a meeting with the presidents, and the minutes of the meetings with presidents. I have translated all these into French.

As a result of these meetings there is always a list of things that need to be done: I draft this list of “things to be done” with the name of the committee member who will take the responsibility for these “things to be done.”

I have been in touch with the notary who represents us in Geneva, found a Swiss accountant to file in our tax forms to cover the period when we were registered at the Swiss Registry of Commerce in Geneva, wrote to the fiscal authorities to allow us more time to file in our accounts, and took the necessary steps with the notary to obtain our radiation from the Geneva Registry of Commerce in order that we stop filing our fiscal declaration in Switzerland and pay taxes.

I have compiled an internet survey for our affiliates showing which selling website they use and have forwarded the results to the national associations.

I have travelled several times to London to discuss the publication of the ILAB Directory with UK Publishers, streamlined the way in which dealers are listed in the Directory in a way that makes the Directory really useful. I have produced the various indexes that improve usage of the Directory even further, a job of about 10 days work with an average of 10-12 hours work per day, and I finished the indexes for the new edition of the directory just in time so that we can have directories here in Madrid, I have mailed out proofs per country to each National Association and incorporated the changes into the Directory. I have communicated with various National Associations concerning various unclear listings to make sure that the dealers were as accurately as possible listed in the Directory. I have organized stocking the Directories in various locations worldwide so that transportation to National Associations for distribution at fairs could be done as cost effective as possible.

I have established contacts with CINOA and have been several times to meetings of CINOA to represent ILAB and work on creating a network and contacts that may be beneficial to ILAB.

I have represented ILAB at various bookfairs where I manned a small stand with laptops, flyers and other promotional materials.

I have answered a large number of emails from individuals, sometimes forwarded these to the committee for discussion and replied with the answer the committee wished to give.

I have translated various articles that were submitted to the Editor of the Newsletter, Tom Congalton.

Of course I have participated in many committee discussions and, hopefully, offered on some occasions some useful advice.

There were also a lot of other, less important things I did in these years, maybe not very important things, but things that need to be done at any rate: flyers, leaflets, notepads: with all of these there was some (and sometimes more than some) input from me.

Let me assure you that this is not even remotely an exhaustive list.

Now, some of you may wonder: how on earth is it possible that the man is also able to run a business ? How many days in the week are there ? How many hours can one work per day ?

The answer, my dear Presidents, is that I have not done anything of all of this. All of this work is nowadays done by our Executive Secretary Nevine Marchiset, who, incidentally, also is the wife of a bookseller with a shop in Paris, she is also, mutatis mutandis, wife of a bookseller, and mother of children. And oh, I think she also has a job …..

It would be impossible in today’s economy to find a bookseller who would find the time to act as Secretary of ILAB if it involved all of this work, unless of course money falls from heaven and you’ve grown tired of books.

It has been one of the major wise decisions of the previous committee and previous President to appoint and, of course, pay, an Executive Secretary. Without Nevine I would have been out of business or would have acquired the reputation as the laziest secretary one can possibly have. This committee, the Presidents, and all our affiliates should praise themselves highly with the fact that we have Nevine and that so much work gets done.

A smart president now of course will ask: and what has the Secretary of ILAB done over these last two years? Well, I took part in all the discussions in the committee, I stocked a large number of the Directories, I became member and secretary of the ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, which does involve quite some work such as correspondence with publishers and/or authors, corrected proofs of the Dutch section for the Directory, corresponded with various Presidents or individual members concerning various matters that arose in these years, took on the producing, labelling  and sending of an additional letter to all our affiliates to encourage them to participate in this congress and bookfair (after I had taken out first all those who already registered), worked closely with Bob Fleck concerning the funding of the Prize, corresponded with and talked to Felix de Marez Oyens of the Breslauer Foundation concerning the funding, the legal ramifications, and the terms of the agreement, produced, with the aid of other members of the committee, a PR release concerning our Bibliographical Prize and contacted a large number of magazines and publishers (with thanks to a very good list of names and addresses we received from Bob Fleck) with the request to publish it, kept in touch with the Chair of the Bibliographical Prize, Mr. Mitsuo Nitta, had lunch with him last Saturday to discuss various topics concerning the Prize, I also maintained contacts with CINOA, went to meetings in their Brussels headquarters, and went to their Congress in Italy to represent ILAB, to present ILAB, exchange ideas and in general establish contacts for ILAB. Then there are a lot of smaller and not-so important things that inevitability cross the desk of a secretary, but which have to be dealt with at any rate.

This in fact, is therefore the report of two secretaries: the Executive and the General Secretary. I hope it has given you some idea of all the work that the committee discusses and does. Much of it is never heard of or never seen but it is done nevertheless.



It is followed by a round of applause. The report is unanimously approved.




Paul Feain reads the following report:


In the last year the thieves and conmen have been as active as ever and sadly for me even in my own shop.

Approximately 50 emails have been sent to the affiliates concerning security. Where necessary they have been sent in French and English. As mostly there is minimal text by myself  bilingual messages have not been necessary.

It is usually only the English speaking booksellers who avail themselves of the security chain. I do not know why. The affiliates from other countries do not send the messages about theft  so the presidents are encouraged to remind their members that they may use this service.

Messages may be sent in any language and I will organize the necessary translation.

There are now 1360 books listed on the stolen book database.

Once again it is mostly booksellers from the English speaking world who use this service.

The stolen book database should be viewed by our members as a positive work by ILAB.

The affiliates should use its existence as a good PR tool and tell librarians and collectors about its existence.

I am very much in favour of expanding the use of our stolen book database. I would like to see it being used by all our affiliates as well as by librarians and individuals.

In the last six months I have also had contact with the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the newly formed International Association of Map Dealers (IAMA) to discuss matters of mutual co-operation.


It is followed by a round of applause. The report is unanimously approved.


a. Proposal from ABA:


ILAB Database of Stolen Books: That the ILAB should appoint a sub committee to prepare a detailed written brief and invite proposals for one central database of stolen and missing items accessible to all reputable organisations.


The proposal is seconded by Ulrich Hobbeling.


Allan Shelley explains the purpose of this proposal. The ILAB website should become the major - if not only - website for reporting stolen books, and to achieve this, the database of stolen books should not be restricted to the use of the ILAB affiliates. A worldwide information database about stolen books will help the bookselling community. Of course, only reputable organisations would be allowed access. Someone asks whether the database would be accessible to collectors; not directly, however they can ask their local ILAB dealer to upload the necessary information onto the database. Norbert Donhofer thinks it is more important to send out notices of thefts, as is already done on the security message list. Perhaps the presidents of the national associations should point out to their members the thefts which they think are more likely to turn up in their local market. Adrian Harrington then explains the different purposes between the alert list and the database: the list informs of a theft whereas the database stores the information, with illustration when available of the stolen item, and can be searched by author, title, etc. Umberto Pregliasco says that national associations possibly already have databases of stolen books and it would be useful to have them all unite in one database. Michael Steinbach concludes the discussion by stating that the proposal seems to be acceptable, and that it would be up to the sub committee to see how to unify the various databases.


In Favour: 21

Against: 0

Abstention: 0


The motion is carried.




Poul Poulsen reads the following report:


Even though the Statement of Profit and Loss Accounts is in a new form I still want to underline that the accounts are in Danish Kroner, see page 11 to 14. The figures in EUR – page 1-4, and in US$ - page 5 to 8 – are converted in rounded figures, you can see the rate of exchange at the top of each column. The figures in the first column are from this financial year statement, the second column figures are from last year’s statement and in the third column you will find the figures from the budget, which was adopted in Paris in 2007.

Last year the statement showed a surplus, in round figures, of 45.000 € and I am pleased to report that this year’s result also shows a surplus, this time on a little over 20.000 € (nearly 32.000 US$). So again I can only repeat what I said in Paris and that was that I am satisfied with the result of this financial year and I will also claim, when I look at the amount we now have in the Bank, that the League’s financial situation is good and sound.

I will now make some remarks to some of the figures. If we begin by looking at our income then you can see that the Subscription have brought a little over 42.000 € a little less than estimated in the budget, but the Korean Association has not yet paid their 2008 subscription and the Czech Association was paid in July after the end of this financial year. As you know the 2008 subscription is based on 33 US$ per affiliated member. Broken down by country, see page 9. Here I would like to remind our members that according to our rules the ‘Annual subscriptions from the League’s Members must be paid within 60 days of invoice’. Far too many of our members seem to have forgotten this rule.

The levy from various Book Fairs around the world has contributed with nearly 69.000 €. Broken down by country, see page 10. Here I would like to repeat what I have said every year during my now 17 years in office – Dear Presidents please remind your Book Fair committees to send the Book Fair levy, as soon as possible after the fair is closed and again according to our rule it ‘must be paid within 120 days after the Fair is closed’. Thank you for your kind cooperation in this matter.

In this financial year the League has earned interest to the amount of 3.200 €.


And now to the Disbursements:


The ILAB/ expenses amount to nearly 30.000 € (or. nearly 47.000 $) that include: The yearly maintenance of: the membership database (2.000 €), the Stolen Book Database (750 €), Website maintenance (12.500 €), Google advertising, creation and translation of part of a website in Spanish and in Russian, and our participation in different book fairs.

We have spent nearly 9.300 € to cover the Committee members’ travel expenses to their various meeting places.

One of the more heavy items of expenditure is the Administration, where we in all have spent 20.300 €. But after all that covers the yearly allowance to the President, our General Secretary and the Treasurer plus the meeting allowance to the Committee members, our Immediate Past President and our Executive Secretary – in all ten persons - covering the meeting in Paris and the spring meeting in London. The rest we have spent on expenses for the interpreters, our Swiss solicitor, the rent of rooms for our meetings, committee lunches and dinners, the fee for our accountant, and other minor expenses.

Our hard working Executive Secretary in this financial year cost us a little over 26.000 € a modest sum for a lot of work.

The ILAB/LILA Newsletter in this financial year cost us 3.600. Regrettably we had to face a loss of nearly 1.300 € on the value of our shares and bonds.




Also the Bibliographical Prize Foundation Profit and Loss Accounts show a profit, here it is on 613 €

In this financial year the Foundation have received donations to the amount of 839 €, the sale of the stock of the Prize-books from the previous years gave us 617 € and we have earned interest to the amount of 866 €.

On the disbursement side the Foundation has had expenses for a press release, postage, phone & fax and bank charges, on the stunning amount of 49 €. The lawyer who helped us with the Breslauer donation cost the Foundation 1.300 €. But the Foundation also had to face a loss of 348 € on the value of its shares and bonds.

But on August the 7th we received the long expected great donation, on 108.000 US$, from the Breslauer Foundation. With this donation the future of our Bibliographical Prize, under its new name - the ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, is secured. The money is now placed in 7% bonds.


It is followed by a round of applause.


There being no questions, the report is put to the vote, and is accepted by all.


a. Google Campaign


The meeting unanimously approves the spending of 5,000 euros on a new Google Adwords campaign.


b. Promotional Material


The notepads and pencils with the ILAB name and logo which have been produced are shown around, they will be handed out at all major book fairs. Poul Poulsen shows the nylon carrier bag which has been produced by the Danish association to hand out at book fairs: it is printed on one side with the ILAB name, logo and “Buy and Sell your books with confidence” sentence, and on the other side with the name of the Danish Association. However, nylon carrier bags will be shortly prohibited by the EU. Michael Steinbach asks if the presidents are happy with having such promotional material made and given at fairs, and that an amount of 10,500 euros has been budgeted for the coming year for promotional purposes. Eric Waschke suggests that a promotional leaflet be printed about ILAB, which the affiliates could give their customers. Of course, there would be a language problem, but the costs can be looked into. The leaflets could also be handed out at book fairs, distribution requires good will from all the affiliates. Gonzalo Pontes remarks that merchandising is very well but that we should also be making connections with the art world magazines, like Apollo, and he would very much prefer spending a large amount on a full page advertising in an important newspaper or magazine rather than merchandising. However, such an advert would be too expensive and would only be a one timer. Ulrich Hobbeling says that ILAB needs to give a framework to the national associations, the meeting is a place where we can share local initiatives. Frederic Castaing says that he agrees with the efforts to make ILAB more visible and that all these initiatives are good. But they are not enough. If we want to be really visible we need more than only these promotional gadgets. It is very difficult but we must have, we must try to get, more media coverage. In France they now have the prestigious venue of the Grand Palais for the fair, and this alone gets them some media attention. In addition, SLAM has a media representative throughout the year who is constantly seeking possibilities to bring SLAM, ILAB and books to the attention of an audience. It would have been possible to get the President of ILAB, Michael Steinbach, on the radio with an interview. The national Associations and the Presidents should think about all of this and try very hard to get as much media attention as possible. SLAM has shown that this is possible although it is hard work. Also the President of ILAB should be used for these purposes and it should have been done also here in Madrid, around the Congress and fair. In answer to this last remark it is reported that the Spanish colleagues have done so: Michael Steinbach will be on the radio for an interview about ILAB, the fair and the congress. Gonzalo Pontes adds that it is receiving a very good media coverage, but unfortunately, the 11th September which is the opening day of the fair also happens to be the day of a national commemoration in memory of the plane accident which happened in Madrid a few weeks back, meaning that not all the officials will be able to attend the opening.

Michael Steinbach concludes by saying that we all agree that we need and have a budget for promotional material and that the committee will work together with the national associations for various solutions.


c. Other Costs


No other cost is mentioned.


d. Proposal from ABF: That the Committee’s travel allowance be raised.


The proposal is seconded by Ulrich Hobbeling.


The Committee leaves the room while it is being discussed by the presidents. The discussion is led by Keith Fletcher and Bob Fleck.

When the committee members come back, the following proposal, moved by Stuart Bennett and seconded by Ulrich Hobbeling is made: “That the presidents would like for the committee to advise them by tomorrow morning at what level should the reasonable compensation be.” The general feeling is that the committee should be properly recompensed for the work it involves.

The motion is unanimously carried.

The Committee is asked to come up with a proposal for the next day. The proposal is therefore left on the table till the morrow.


e. Proposal from ABF: The Danish Association proposes that we vote on whether the ILAB website be searched by the MareLibri engine or not.


The proposal is seconded by Umberto Pregliasco.


Maria Girsel would like to know why the proposal is not favoured by the Committee. Stuart Bennett replies that we should not be subsidizing competition: if our e-commerce functions, why should we be spending money on competition? Ms Girsel does not think of MareLibri as competition. Arnoud Gerits explains that it is not a meta search, it is a database structured like ILAB’s, and if it were a real meta search (such as ViaLibri or Addall), they would not need our approval or our collaboration, they would just search our database without asking. By loading our database onto MareLibri, we would just be diluting our presence while subsidising a competing website, and increasing Rockingstone’s work. Neither Addall, nor ViaLibri, nor even Google ask us our permission to search us, they just do so. Peter Tinslay points out that joining MareLibri would be more their gain than ours. Jean-Pierre Fouques adds that MareLibri should be paying ILAB for this favour, not the other way round. Maria Girsel then explains that there has been a misunderstanding on her part and that she therefore withdraws the proposal.

The Committee then decides to invite Mr. Malavasi to join for lunch on the morrow, in order to explain matters to him.




a. Report from Secretary Arnoud Gerits


Arnoud Gerits reads the following report:


Dear Presidents,

First of all I wish to thank Bob Fleck on behalf of all of us for his outstanding work in identifying the Breslauer Foundation as a possible sponsor of our Bibliographical Prize. In close collaboration with Bob Fleck, the ABAA lawyer and the ABAA committee we have finalized the agreement with the Breslauer Foundation and we have received the money from them: our Prize is now safely funded for the future with the money safely invested and yielding an annual interest of 7%.

Mr Mitsuo Nitta and I have discussed several possibilities for the Prize and its publicity:

Mr. Nitta has designed a “Certificate of Merit” which, after it has been finished and finalized, will in future be send to every author/publisher as a token of our appreciation to submit a book for the Prize and as a confirmation that the book has been received and has been entered into the competition.

We will list the books received so far and entered into the competition on the website of the Bibliographical Prize. Rockingstone has assured us that it is little work to make the link “Bibliographical Prize” on the ILAB website work in such a way that if you click on it you arrive at the “ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography” site, which will of course be closely linked to the general ILAB site. Possibly we can not only simply list the books but show them on the site. The site should also contain an historical overview of the Prize (previous winners, previous secretaries, etc. etc.), the conditions for submission, etc.

We will exhibit all the books received at the Congress in 2010 in Italy, during which the 15th Prize will also be awarded.

We will invite the winner of the book, who will be invited to join us during our Congress in 2010 in Italy, to give a lecture: not just an acceptance speech but a real lecture.

Mr. Nitta is continuing to search for books from Asia for the Prize and has collected 5 titles so far. Mr. Nitta is also trying to find sponsors in Asia for the Prize with the aim to add another 50,000 US$ to the Prize fund thus lifting its total to 200,000 US$.

Mr. Nitta has urged National Associations to identify sponsors in their own countries for the Prize: societies, organizations, publishers, businesses: everything and everyone that has anything to do with bibliography and urge them to consider a one time donation of 500 US$. Mr. Nitta did set a target: collect 40 of those by the end of 2009 and you have collected 20,000 US$ for the Prize.

Now that we have sufficient money for the Prize an old idea has surfaced again: to produce a band to be put around copies of the Prize-winning book by the publisher. In the past it was the publisher who was supposed to pay for this but now it may be possible that we pay for this and the publisher only has to put the band around the copies he has printed. It will be beneficial to the publisher, the author and the League and the Prize as it will, so we think, draw attention to all of them and publicize and promote the Prize.

Thank you for your attention.


Bob Fleck suggests sending two certificates of merit per entry, one to the author and one to the publisher. Mitsuo Nitta adds that the Prize is an important factor, it shows the spirit of ILAB, this is the reason why the Breslauer Foundation agreed to give such an important amount. However, he adds that we still need to raise more funds, he thinks that they can be raised from the affiliates, even if only small amounts are involved. The names of the donors can be mentioned at the bottom of the Prize letterhead.

Keith Fletcher suggests that the Prize rules should be available at book fairs, perhaps have them printed on a paper or on a leaflet?




a. Report from Editor Tom Congalton


Tom Congalton reads the following report:


We have completed Newsletter Number 60 with the great help of Nevine Marchiset, who completed the translation during her holiday.

I have hand carried a few copies here and hope to have more copies here as soon as my hotel can locate the package.

The cost of printing and distribution for this issue is approximately 3,500$.

The national associations will receive copies of the newsletter to distribute to their members shortly after the Congress. However, before the Newsletters are distributed, we will contact each national organisation in order to confirm the addresses to which the newsletter should be sent.

Additionally we can forward the Newsletter as a PDF, or other appropriate file for any national organisation that wishes to translate and produce the Newsletter in a language other than French or English, as the German association did with a recent issue.

Going forward, Nevine Marchiset has agreed to be co-editor of the Newsletter, and I suspect that her efficiency will increase the frequency of the Newsletter and serve as a source for articles in French.

All the Presidents are encouraged to forward and write articles for the Newsletter.


He then hands out the latest issue of the Newsletter.


As time is getting short, Michael Steinbach suggests leaving items 11, 12 and 13 for the morrow and goes on to item 14.




a. Presidents’ Meeting 2009 in Vienna


Michael Steinbach advises that the next Presidents’ Meeting will take place in Vienna, and gives the floor to Norbert Donhofer, who explains that the idea was to launch this invitation to coincide with the annual meeting of the AIB (Association of International Bibliophiles); he adds that he has been able to convince the president of the AIB to organise together a full day excursion. He hands out and details the provisional programme for next year’s meeting:


Tuesday 6th October: Members of Committee arrive in Vienna, with an evening dinner for them.

Wednesday 7th October: Meeting of Committee in the Library in the House of the Austrian Book Trade, lunch in a nearby restaurant or catering service in the Library. Arrival of Presidents. In the evening, dinner of Committee and Presidents.

Thursday 8th October: Full day excursion together with the members of the Congress of the AIB. Departure around 9 am in Vienna by bus to the Monastery of Göttweig in Lower Austria. Visit of the most important manuscripts, incunabulae and other pieces of art at Göttweig. Lunch nearby. After lunch, visit to the Monastery of Melk where a specially arranged exhibition of manuscripts, incunabulae and works of art. Cocktail reception on board a 90 mn cruise on a ship down the Danube to the medieval city of Krems. Pick up by busses to go to the castle of Grafenegg, owned by the Count Metternich-Sandor. Dinner in the Bel-Etage. 40mn bus ride back to Vienna.

Friday 9th October: Presidents’ Meeting in the Library in the House of the Austrian Book Trade. Go by bus to a farewell Dinner at a typical Viennese “Heurigen”, at the invitation of the Austrian Association.

Saturday 10th October: if the meeting is unfinished, there is enough time in the morning to finish it. Otherwise morning free. Saturday afternoon (around 2 pm), a one afternoon Book Fair of the members of the Austrian Association on the occasion of the Congress of the AIB in the Austrian National Library. The AIB have their gala dinner that same evening which can be attended by committee members and presidents who happen to be members of the AIB.

Sunday 11th October: For those staying in Vienna, a half day or a full day excursion can be arranged and/or visits to Libraries and/or special collections (like the Globe Museum). This does not need to be decided now, four weeks in advance will be enough.


Nevine Marchiset proposes that next year’s agenda’s mailing be put forward in order to allow her to be back from summer holidays.

Ulrich Hobbeling, seconded by Mitsuo Nitta, moves that the agenda be sent at least 30 days before the meeting instead of 45, as stated in the by-laws.

The motion is unanimously approved.


b. 2010 Congress and Book Fair in Italy


Umberto Pregliasco explains that he will be able anyway to organise a good congress and fair in Italy in 2010, even if he has problems to reach an amicable solution with the organisers of the other Milan Book Fair for 2009. Two book fairs were organised in the Spring of 2008 in Milan, only one of them by the ALAI. The other one is organised by a private collector, it is open to non ILAB book dealers. He is having an appointment with this private collector next week, to see whether they can come to an arrangement in order to have only one book fair. He needs all the help he can get from ILAB, perhaps the presidents of the national associations could encourage their members to rather attend the fair organised by the ALAI?  Perhaps the Committee could send the ALAI a letter congratulating them on the fair they organised and encouraging them to continue? Of course, this will be done as ILAB is proud to promote ILAB fairs. Frederic Castaing asks the dates of the Milan fair (March and May) and feels that this is too much in too short a time. He understands that ALAI may have difficulties with so much problems from a powerful opponent but urges the ALAI to focus strongly on a succesful fair in 2009 as otherwise another fair in 2010 for the congress could prove to be too difficult. Umberto adds that there was a risk in 2008, when he launched the ALAI fair, to have a complete fiasco, but on the contrary, it turned out to be very successful, with conferences and talks, a very good media coverage, etc. He says that before the end of the year, he will tell the Committee where (if Bologna for both or Congress in Mantova-Verona and bookfair in Milan ) and when (May or September) he will organise the congress and fair in 2010.


c. Proposal from the ABA: Translation of Promotional Material


Alan Shelley moves the following proposal, it is seconded by Ulrich Hobbeling:


That, in order to ensure proper understanding and therefore to achieve maximum benefit, all communication about Congresses, Book Fairs and other events shall always be checked by a native speaker to ensure that the translation into the ILAB languages is both accurate and appropriate.


In favour: 21

Against: 0

Abstention: 0

The proposal is unanimously carried.


d. 2012 Congress and book fair


Alain Moirandat explains that the VEBUKU’s invitation for organising the Congress and Book fair in Switzerland in 2012 still stands. They are thinking of doing the Congress in the Alps, and the book fair in either Geneva or Zürich.


The meeting is adjourned at 9.00 pm




The meeting starts at 9:10 am with the addition of Jelle Samshuijzen, ILAB webmaster.




a. Webmaster’s Internet Report


Jelle Samshuijzen hands out the website report to the presidents and explains that he has been the ILAB webmaster for eight years. He has accomplished all his duties with pleasure, and has always enjoyed a good cooperation from the committee. Yet, he has decided to hand in his resignation as ILAB and database webmaster. One of the main reasons for this is that he has always found it strange to work for an organisation whose aim is to unite the national associations and thus become stronger, while the national associations themselves seem to want to go their own way. This is very hard for him. The ABAA wants to take another route, with a different solution and it’s their own right. However, this choice also affects the future of the ILAB database, and he must draw his own conclusions. With fewer participants, the ILAB database has no future. It is a pity, because he had found ideas to draw more people in and make it stronger, but there’s no point in doing anything about it now, is there? He has tendered his resignation which will take effect on 1st December 2009, which leaves ample time to find a solution for a smooth transition. He would like, if possible, for us to find someone else to look after the website before that date. However, his resignation does not mean that he will stop working for the book trade. He will continue working with some of the national associations and dealers. He also has some ideas which he will develop with them, not with the ILAB.

Bob Fleck asks if the search engine of ILAB is still viable. Jelle replies that yes, but only if it keeps growing.

Bob Fleck tells him that the ABAA is looking at buying its own search engine, as it has become so cheap. Jelle replies that the software is cheap indeed, but the work is expensive. He adds that everyone keeps reinventing the wheel. What is the point, he asks, of getting someone else re-doing a search engine? The money available should be spent on advertising. Internet has made everything transparent, and it is now easy for customers to compare prices, and they will notice that very often the dealers outprice themselves, which is why they do not sell their books.

Alan Shelley asks when was the committee advised of Jelle’s resignation, and what was the committee’s reaction. He is told by Michael Steinbach that it was yesterday morning and that the committee was taken by surprise. They have not yet had time to discuss it with Jelle. The committee is trying to find a solution, however it is too early to take any decision. We first have to know what the ABAA is exactly planning.

Stuart Bennett starts by apologising for the rumours that have been flying around. The ABAA has made no decision yet; the possibility of setting up a separate search engine has been discussed. He has been fighting a rearguard war against abandoning ILAB, because he feels it is a big mistake. However, his internet committee has agreed to delay its decision making until after the presidents’ meeting, in order to allow him to discuss the issues with the other presidents of the  national associations and the ILAB committee. The ABAA is still exploring possibilities. If, as likely, the ABAA decides to get its own database, it will probably receive some blame when and if dealers fail to sell their books, just as Rockingstone has. This is why he would have preferred the James Hinck solution of meta searching individual databases. James Hinck has said that he is willing to develop a meta search for trial, with no commitment on the ABAA’s part nor his, he has not received any money for doing so; however, this solution would be constrained by not being allowed to search commercial sites, as some ABAA colleagues strongly believe that we should have nothing to do with commercial sites. Concerning the ABAA owned database, they are getting a proposal from Bibliopolis, a California based firm. In view of Jelle Samshuijzen’s news, it is likely ILAB will be looking for a new provider. Perhaps would it be useful for ILAB and the ABAA to work together when going to tender. Perhaps would it be possible to have a “Chinese Wall”, which would separate the ABAA dealers from the others. But it might not be enough as a guarantee to work with a commercial operator, even if its advantage is knowing that it already is operational.

Michael Steinbach asks Stuart if all of this has been discussed with Jelle by the ABAA. However, Stuart replies that his Internet Committee felt that it had exhausted all possibilities of dialogue with Rockingstone.

Bob Fleck asks what cost has been given to the ABAA for the construction of an operating search engine and facilities. Stuart replies around twenty to thirty thousand dollars. However, this cost would only involve building, because they would then need to find someone with the kind of saintly patience that Jelle has shown to operate it. This is why he personally thinks it is crazy to stay in the database business, as it might mean ten thousand dollars a month in operating costs.

Alan Shelley wonders how can the ABAA hope to get a better database than the existing one. Stuart replies that, and he says it with some regret, the dissatisfaction felt with Rockingstone is the reason behind the prospective move.

Mitsuo Nitta explains that he is sorry about the situation, adds that ABAJ has not been a good supporter of the ILAB website, and asks whether Jelle’s decision is final. Jelle replies that it is, indeed, final (at least this is how he feels at present). Mitsuo Nitta says that if this is the case, then we must look to the future. ILAB is just an umbrella, not the building, it is the national associations which are the building. Ulrich Hobbeling says that the meeting is now discussing an issue concerning Rockingstone and the ABAA, not ILAB. However, Stuart tells him that Jelle has made his decision and that we have to discuss how to move on together.

Bob Fleck says that if there is a lesson to learn from all of this, it is about communication, which has not worked well up to now. The committee has formed an Internet sub-committee and wishes to get on board people from different countries.

Arnoud Gerits explains that the ILAB website had been designed, not for one association or one dealers, but for all associations and all dealers, and we therefore cannot adjust to everyone’s wishes.

Stuart Bennet suggests that we conclude the matters of discussion in relation with Jelle, then allow him to leave, in order to discuss post Rockingstone matters. He moves that we bifurcate the discussion. He is seconded by Mitsuo Nitta.

The vote is unanimously in favour.

Michael Steinbach thanks him on behalf of all the presidents and the ILAB committee, and hopes that he might reconsider his decision.


A coffee break of 15mn is observed.




Keith Fletcher makes a presentation of the VDA and VAO nominees Ulrich Hobbeling and Norbert Donhofer.

Umberto Pregliasco makes a presentation of ALAI nominee Sergio Malavasi.

Eric Waschke makes a presentation of ABAC nominee Bjarne Tokerud

Frédéric Castaing makes a presentation of SLAM nominee Anita van Elferen.


Voting ballots are in the meantime handed out to the presidents. The associations with two votes receive two voting ballots.


While the ballots are counted by the scrutineers in another room, the following elections take place:


a. Election of the Officers of the forthcoming Committee


The following officers are unanimously elected:

President: Adrian Harrington

Vice President: Arnoud Gerits

Treasurer: Poul Poulsen

General Secretary: Paul Feain


b. Confirmation of Committee Members


Tom Congalton and Tsukasa Maeda are unanimously reelected.


As the scrutineers have not yet finished counting the votes, the matter of the travel allowance is put on the table:


c. Matter arising: committee’s travel allowance (refer to 8.d)


Poul Poulsen explains that the committee thinks that it will not change the existing allowance, but wishes to prolong the duration of meetings:

- the committee meetings are now deemed to last 2 days. They would be deemed to last 3 to 4 days, depending on circumstances.

- the presidents’ meetings are now deemed to last 3 days. They would be deemed to last 4 to 5 days, depending on circumstances.

Furthermore, the annual allowance received by the following officers would be raised:

- President: from 2,500 US$ to 3,000 Euros

- General Secretary: from 1,000 US$ to 1,250 Euros

- Treasurer: from 1,000 US$ to 1,250 Euros


The motion is moved by Eric Waschke, seconded by Alan Shelley.

In favour: 21

Against: 0

Abstention: 0

It is unanimously approved.


The scrutineers have now come back and hand the results to Michael Steinbach.


d. Election of 2 Committee Members


Michael Steinbach reads the results and welcomes Norbert Donhofer and Ulrich Hobbeling as the new committee members. He thanks Jean-Pierre Fouques, who is leaving the committee, for all the work he has done in the past two years.

Adrian Harrington then thanks Michael Steinbach for his presidency. Michael Steinbach hands the chain of office over to Adrian Harrington. The presidents break into a round of applause.

Adrian Harrington explains that the Past President badge has been forgotten in his wife’s bag, he therefore put on Michael’s lapel a virtual badge and thanks him. He passes the chair of the meeting back to Michael Steinbach.




Poul Poulsen announces that the budget he had prepared has already taken into account a rise in the travel allowance, and is therefore more or less balanced. There are no further comments.

Alan Shelley moves its approval, he is seconded by Eric Waschke.

In favour: 21

Against: 0

Abstention: 0

The budget is approved unanimously.




a. Proposal from ABA: ILAB code of Customs and Usage


Alan Shelley withdraws the proposal, as the committee has explained that the Code is already separated into two documents on the website.


b. Presentation by the ABA of its buying and selling leaflet


Alan Shelley explains that it is not a proposal, such a leaflet can be different for each association, depending on national customs. In the UK, the auction houses are both enemies and friends. Private people are drawn to them, and sometimes go to them rather than a bookseller. The purpose of this leaflet is to draw them to ABA book dealers. It spells out the advantages of doing so.

Adrian Harrington adds that if an association wishes to publish a similar leaflet, while also adding the ILAB logo, then ILAB will pay for half the printing costs.


c. Any further business


Michael Steinbach asks each of the presidents if he has anything to add.


Eric Speeckaert shows the common catalogue  that the Belgian dealers publish each year. It works well, it is the CLAM which bears the printing costs, however, it is difficult to have all the members in it.


Umberto Pregliasco reminds that the ILAB/ALAI book fair in Bologna is due in two weeks.


Gonzalo Pontes suggests that the next ILAB committee work on the idea of developing a small project or scheme about how can ILAB work with the media, perhaps even prepare a DVD?


Mitsuo Nitta says it is now time to see how ILAB can help its members, as we have a responsibility to preserve the world’s cultural heritage. Perhaps it would be a good idea, when the president of a national association is travelling, to let the national association of the country he is visiting know of his visit, so that cooperation between the associations may grow. He adds that he has been honoured to be asked to chair the Prize committee, he will publicize it as much as he can, as it is a very important ILAB event.


Alan Shelley thanks Michael Steinbach and congratulates him.


Adrian Harrington reminds everyone that Tom Congalton has agreed to chair the new Internet sub-committee, and that we absolutely need in the future to work together and have good communication. They need other nationals on board. Jelle was expecting unity which he did not get. Let us seize this opportunity to achieve this end. Amazon and Ebay have their market place, we must get our own. We are not for sale and this is our strength, let us use it. We need strong IT people on this sub-committee (but not more than 4 or 5), it would be sensible to have people from the nations who will be most using it. However, we must avoid having on this sub-committee people who have IT commercial businesses, as it would probably lead to a conflict of interest. Some suggestions are given, Tom Congalton will think about it and will form his committee accordingly.


Stuart Bennet summarizes the ABAA’s standpoint. There is a strong movement to jump ship. He has resisted it, but to no point. However, ILAB consists of the best antiquarian booksellers, we therefore need the best presence on the net. There is a strong argument to stay out of databases altogether, by going along the James Hinck concept. He would like to have ready, by the Boston book fair, a statement from ILAB about the direction ILAB is going to take. The ABAA IT committee will then present a proposal to the Board concerning Bibliopolis. The Boston meeting will certainly include competing proposals. Concerning the news of Rockingstone’s resignation, we should present it to the affiliates in a positive way. He adds that if ILAB does not have a solution in time for the Boston meeting, then the ABAA will probably go to an alternative solution, which will allow ILAB to sit back and see whether it is an efficient solution or not.


Adrian Harrington says that he is willing to meet the ABAA board in Boston. In the meantime, a message will go out to all the affiliates, possibly today, about Rockingstone’s resignation.


Gonzalo Pontes points out that it is important to establish a schedule of what is going to be done to find solutions and propose different initiatives.


Adrian Harrington thanks the assembly for its input. He hopes something good will come out of this. He asks the presidents to report this matter positively to their own members, reminds them that Rockingstone developed the search engine at its own expense, the database already has 600 participants and this should be built on. A communiqué will be sent out in the course of the day to all the affiliates.


There being no further business, the meeting is closed at 1:20 pm.


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