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Minutes Seville 2015 | | Minutes Seville 2015

Minutes Seville 2015

Published on 09 Oct. 2016



Thursday 1st October 2015

Seville, Spain



1. President’s Welcome

The meeting opens at 10 am by President Norbert Donhofer. He reminds the Assembly that the two official languages of the League are English or French, that associations with more than 150 members have two votes, that voting will be done by show of hands, he also asks for cell phones to be turned off. He then reads the following:

I would like to welcome the Presidents, Committee Members, ILAB Presidents and Members of Honour, and distinguished guests, to Seville and to the 2015 ILAB Presidents’ Meeting graciously hosted by AILA. The Presidents have come here from around the World and each of you bears with them a unique perspective, both geographically and philosophically, of how our fascinating and esoteric trade has fared in an evolving technologically and economically challenging climate. As swiftly as these factors have changed, one thing remains constant, ‘Amor Librorum Nos Unit’

Then each person in turn presents him/herself.


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

National Associations

ABA (UK) - Michael Graves-Johnston (2 votes)

ABAA (USA) - Thomas Goldwasser (2 votes)

ABAC (Canada) - Michael Park (1 vote)

ABAJ (Japan) - Masagi Yagi (1 vote)

ABF (Denmark) - Maria Girsel (1 vote)

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

ANZAAB (Australia & New Zealand)- Jörn Harbeck (1 vote)

CLAM (Belgium) - Marc Van de Wiele (1 vote)

GAB (Russia) - Ekaterina Kuthko (1 vote)

MAE (Hungary) - Adam Bosze (1 vote)

NVvA (Netherlands) -  Frank Rutten (1 vote)

SLAM (France) - Anne Lamort (2 votes)

SVAF (Sweden) - Mats Petersson (1 vote)

VAO (Austria) - Michael Steinbach (also President of Honor) (1 vote)

VDA (Germany) - Christian Hesse (2 votes), accompanied by Eberhard Köstler past president

VEBUKU (Switzerland) - Peter Bichsel (1 vote)


President - Norbert Donhofer

Vice President - Gonzalo Fernandes Pontes

Treasurer - Bob Fleck (also President of Honor), and Rob Shepherd

General Secretary - Ulrich Hobbeling

Committee Members - Stuart Bennett, Michel Bouvier, Sally Burdon, Umberto Pregliasco

Immediate Past President - Tom Congalton 

Presidents of Honour - Adrian Harrington, Arnoud Gerits

Member of Honour - Keith Fletcher

Website editor - Barbara van Benthem

Executive Secretary - Naveen Marsh


Apologies Received

Kay Craddock, President of Honour

Marco Ciccolini, ALAI President



ALAI (1 vote) to Anne Lamort

Before establishing the quorum, President Donhofer congratulates the Dutch association upon its 80th Birthday. The NVvA is one of the founders of ILAB, and Menno Hertzberger, a Dutch bookseller who inspired the creation of the League, was nominated “Father of the League”. The NVvA has given ILAB many presidents: Bob de Graaf, Anton Gerits and Arnoud Gerits.

Frank Rutten, as President of the NVvA, is applauded.


Votes and Quorum

The Total of votes is 21. The Quorum for the Ordinary General Meeting is 11 votes.



Keith Fletcher and Adrian Harrington are appointed scrutineers.


3. In Memoriam

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


Anthony Hobson

Elizabeth Nelson

Eric Korn

Tony Beach

Tony Appleton

Norman Storey

John A Gamble

Toby English

John Gabriel Beaumont



Judith Bowman

Don Gallagher

Gyngr Schon

Marvin Feinstein

Herman Detering

Sam Hessel



Giacomo Falconi



Jess Jessen



Mario Scognamiglio



Jack Bradstreet

Sheilah McGrath-Campbell



Jacques Van der Heyde

Louis Moorthamers



Joep Kervezee



Jean de Selle

Jacques Matarasso

Claude Courtet

Jean-Pierre Rouyer

Jean-François Aittouarès

Didier Grandsart



Hartmut Erlemann

Stefan Schülke

Roger Klittich



Alexander Wild

Louis Ribaux



4. Approval of Paris Minutes, April 2014

Tom Goldwasser seconds this motion from the Committee.

In favour: 21

Approved unanimously.


5. Brief Reports from National Associations

Each President in turn gives his/her report:

AILA (Spain)

Gonzalo F. Pontes reports that AILA holds a steady number of affiliates. They have been joined by two dealers from South America. WRBD was active in Barcelona and Bilbao. AILA will join again the event in 2016 with Cervantes exhibitions in Madrid. The economic situation in Spain is stable. He is himself at the end of his second term, and will probably face a third one.


Tom Goldwasser reports that membership is more or less steady, the ABAA continues to have new applicants. 3 fairs are annually organized; perhaps 4 pop up fairs took place during WRBD, it was difficult to persuade the dealers to adopt the project. The ABAA is presently working on the development of a joint task force on Security with libraries, however the American Library association is a large and bureaucratic organization so it might take a while, but hopefully it will be achieved this year. The association is financially secure, there is no stressful issue. After last years’ discussion about Abebooks, some proposals were received, there was a mutual approach to promote the ABAA’s activities, which Abebooks were happy to do: they have developed some resources to advertise on their website the ABAA benevolent fund, book ethics, the book fairs, the educational fund.

SLAM (France)

Anne Lamort reports that for the first time in the association’s history, the membership has been diminishing by approximately ten percent. This is due to the fact that the low end market is not doing well, and the dealers in that field bracket have resigned. However, the high end and middle bracket market are doing well. The French trade is greatly enhanced by the Grand Palais Book Fair, there is a strong Parisian market that is doing better. The 2015 edition was successful even though they feared that after the Congress and Fair success in 2014 it would not be so. One other important subject is the market of autographs: after the liquidation of Aristophil which owns a stock of more than 120,000 ancient documents and rare books one can fear for the future of the market worldwide when all this stock will be put up for sale; for the moment, however, the market is holding.

ABAJ (Japan)

Mr. Masagi Yagi reads the following report:

In this March, 46 companies from 9 countries participated in the 50th Anniversary Tokyo International Antiquarian Book Fair organized by ABAJ in Tokyo. Thank you very much for your support. Due to extensive press coverage by newspaper and television media, a large number of visitors participated in the fair over a period of 3 days making the fair highly successful. I would like to express my gratitude for everyone’s cooperation and support for the success of this fair.

I would like to thank Mr. Donhofer, president of ILAB, for his congratulatory address on commemoration ceremony in December and valuable comment on the opening ceremony of the Antiquarian Book Fair.

I would like to thank Ms Anne Lamort, President of SLAM, for presenting a large sized folder specially made Reliure in commemoration of 50th Anniversary of ABAJ. We will use it at ABAJ for many years to come.

We also had a very adorable baby with on the Hakone tour from the next day of the Antiquarian Book Fair. We could all share and enjoy stay at Japanese Inn, Japanese food, Karaoke, rope way to the top of Mt. Komagatake, sightseeing cruise in Lake Ashi etc., and it became a very memorable trip for all of us. Small column of volcanic smoke has formed in Hakone from June, and I think we were fortunate to go for sightseeing in front of that.

Well, as for the business condition in Japan, the current 8% consumption tax was slated to be raised to 10% from October this year. However, it has been postponed to April 2017. As for the domestic Japanese economy, consumption has picked up due to increase in the number of tourists from Asia. Besides, personal income levels have also increased somewhat due to strong exports supported by weak Yen and monetary easing. As for the university management, while the enrolment ration is going up, the number of students has remained flat because of a dwindling number of children. On the other hand, the number of universities and the number of departments / faculties have increased, because of which many universities are not able to fill their capacity and time has come for shakeout. Besides, more students want to pursue practical sciences, and it is expected there would be fewer students in humanities.

Public and private university libraries, museums, art galleries, historical resource centres are running a very tight budget. However, there is still a good appetite for buying distinctive and unique books and historical material.

Domestic consumption is on rise due to 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and it is expected that international sensibility will also widen. It was good news from England last week that Japan rugby team has won versus South Africa team.

Apart from public institutions, ABAJ would like to continue providing impetus to individual researchers and collectors, and it would like to strive to promote and encourage buying of valuable and useful books and historical materials. My “Pocket Edition with Heibonsha Publi.” scheduled to be released in December and recent work “Expert in Assessing Genuine Things - Xavier’s Letter to Ryoma’s Letter - is also a part of this.

Hong Kong International Antiquarian Book Fair “China in Print 2015” will be conducted from 20th to 22nd November. While Chinese economy is going through rough weather, there is still a sizeable affluent class and they have enough appetite for buying good things. ABAJ intends to bring the suppliers of antiquarian books of Asia and Oceania region under one roof, and apart from Hong Kong, it would like to work towards organizing Antiquarian Book Fair in Shanghai and other places.

Although global political scenario and economic environment is difficult, ILAB member dealers will have to exchange information through such president meeting and work towards popularizing antiquarian books.

ANZAAB (Australia)

Jörn Harbeck reports that two successful fairs have been held in Melbourne since the Paris meeting, the Melbourne fair is part of the Rare Book Week, involving ten days of events that are put on by partners and institutions, the events are free and are extremely well attended. The partnership with the University of Melbourne allows them to have free entrance tickets to the fair, with young people attending, which is very positive. Three or four years ago, ANZAAB decided that the Melbourne fair would be annual, it used to alternate with Sydney, but they could not find this year a suitable venue in Sydney and so they decided to use it as a subsidy for the WRBD pop up fairs. ANZAAB tries to collaborate with as many institutions as possible, and this has allowed them to organize successful pop up book fairs which were well visited and where booksellers made sales. There will be a privately organized fair in Sydney next month with a small subsidy from ANZAAB. In May 2014 right after the Paris Congress, they organized a wonderful conference in Canberra which went on for 2 days, it was very well attended and they learned a lot. Next year, to coincide with the next WRBD, they will hold another conference at the State Library in Sydney. Security will be a topic of discussion at that conference. The membership of the association is steady, just under 60, and at their Annual Meeting next month, they will propose the status of provisional member. The economy has been slowing down, this has affected the members, libraries take longer time to make decisions, open shops are closing, but he still remains optimistic about the future.

VEBUKU (Switzerland)

Peter Bichsel has prepared the following report:

The year 2014/15 was marked by the 75th anniversary of the VEBUKU/SLACES. It was celebrated with a jubilee dinner in Swiss capital Berne in may 2014. It is maybe characteristic for our association, which counts around 60 members, that only 21 (incl. accompanying persons) of them have followed the invitation. As we knew how very hard it will be to activate our members, we did from the beginning without bigger festivities. The jubilee year was further on accompanied by press articles in Swiss collectors’ magazines like «Sammleranzeiger/Gazette du Collectionneur» and «Librarium». All contributions were written by members of our association. Many thanks to them.

In March 2015, the Swiss association was for the first time organizer of the Zurich Antiquarian Bookfair, the 20st since its beginnings in the 1993. With 30 rare book dealers from Switzerland, Europe, and the United States, the fair could increase the participating exhibitors by 2. This is a success which is to point out in connection with the fact that in January 2015 the Swiss National Bank abandoned the fix exchange rate between Euro and Swiss Franc, what caused a rise of the Swiss Franc of 15 percent to the Euro.

The uncomfortable exchange rate of the Swiss Franc with the Euro as well as with the US Dollar is not the only fact that makes it more and more difficult to gain exhibitors from abroad. For the next fair taking place in March 2016 we had for the first time a refusal of a German colleague by reason of sharper custom requirements regarding international transfer of cultural goods. If Germany and other countries continue to sharpen the laws for global dealing with cultural goods, then this will be, step by step, the end of the international art trade.

In April 2015 finally, the Swiss association took part of the Unesco World Book day. Many thanks to Brigitta Laube who took over the initiative to welcome other dealers at her beautiful and spacy shop in the centre of Zurich. Unfortunately only three colleagues have followed her invitation and the customers’ response was weak. For 2016, the year of the 100th anniversary of the Dada movement, we are planning a cooperation with the Zurich Dada House «Cabaret Voltaire», an institution with much public presence and we are sure, that the response will be better.

SVAF (Sweden)

Mats Petersson gives the following report:

The Swedish association has for the moment 53 active members, which I’m afraid, is a figure in quite fast decline.

Together with the Danish and sometimes the Norwegian associations we alternate the Scandinavian book fairs.

We also together with the Danish and the Norwegian associations run the internet search engine,, which we for the present, with some difficulties, are trying to modernise. Also members of the Finnish association can take part in our search engine.

A search engine of our own is  - I think – one of the more important things to have in the future.

One of the main challenges - for at least the Swedish association - in the near future is the average age of our members. The present average age is near 65! That means that almost half of our association will be gone in the next 5-10 years.

We certainly need tools to attract the younger generations

ABAC (Canada)

Michael Park says that ABAC currently holds about 65 members. Two or three more applications are coming before them. Most of the membership is older, but they have attracted several younger members (35-45) which is positive and encouraging, and all are very harmonious in their relationships even though they are widely dispersed. The 6th Toronto book fair is taking place next month in a large and attractive building, with an extraordinary space, and it has proven to be successful. The market could improve, the major problem is that until a year or two ago, most institutions were cutting back or simply not buying. This has affected some of their members quite strongly, and they have attempted to develop new markets, trying to assemble collections on a subject with all sorts of documents, relating to prominent politicians, artists, and other known people, and presenting such collections to institutions and this has been positive. Recently, the institutions have started buying again. ABAC has some concern towards Abebooks, as they are feeling that they are not serving the interests of the Canadian booksellers, and their aims no longer seem to coincide with the booksellers. He is not sure what ABAC will do about it, but they will try to present a unified front in their negotiations with Abebooks who sponsors, however, the Toronto Fair. Otherwise, the association seems to be doing well and he is hopeful that membership will increase.


Michael (Oscar) Graves-Johnston reports:

As well as the United Kingdom, the ABA represents antiquarian booksellers in Argentina, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Portugal, Singapore and South Africa, a total of 274 members. 

The ABA has been successful over the past few years in increasing membership numbers using the mechanism of “Associate membership.”  This has halted the many years of membership decline and enabled the ABA to look forward to the future with confidence. 

The ABA Benevolent Fund continues to support the needs of distressed booksellers and is much appreciated by those who have to call upon its services.  Meanwhile the ABA Educational Trust arranges funding and support for apprentices in the book trade as well as supporting ventures such as the York Antiquarian Book Seminars (YABS) and the London rare Book School (LRBS.) 

The ABA continues to run the London Olympia bookfair and the Chelsea bookfair, both popular ILAB fairs; as well as exploring new locations and venues for possible future fairs.  We eagerly took part in the ILAB Pop-up bookfair project, a world-wide success story. 

Naturally the ABA continues to support the highest standards in the antiquarian bookselling world. 

VDA (Germany)

Christian Hesse reads the following report:

In the last two years, the VDA, together with other art dealer associations, has tried to avert an increase of the German VAT on collector’s items like fine arts or autographs. Unfortunately, to no avail. The VAT was raised from 7% to 19%, and the general marginal taxation was only introduced to a very small degree.

In September 2014 and 2015 the annual vocational training course of the VDA was held. The participants were invited to Konstanz, where Michael Trenkle, former treasurer of the VDA, had arranged a varied and interesting course on “600 years ecclesiastical council of Konstanz”. For the 50 participants, a visit at Herbert Tenschert’s “Bibermühle” was one of the highlights.

In December, leading librarians and the executive committee of the VDA met in Wolfenbüttel to discuss the ILAB database “Stolen Books”, provenance research and vocational training by the VDA. A set of rules and regulations, governing dealings between booksellers and libraries, which has been in place for 20 years, will be updated and simplified. These meetings will be continued, the next one is scheduled for September.

In January 2015 the 54th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair took place. The exhibition hall was fully booked by about 80 exhibitors from Germany and abroad. Apart from the successful fair, the VDA organised several events. The fair week was opened by an evening in Stuttgart’s Literaturhaus, under the motto “The Library of Unwritten Books”. During the fair, an exhibition of  fine printing (Pressendruck) by the brothers Christian and Friedrich Kleukens was shown. They belong to the Barbara-Achilles foundation in Hamburg; a publication on these books was made available to the public.

On the occasion of the fair, the new VDA handbook was published. It contains contact information of all German, Swiss and Austrian members of the ILAB and its national associations. Furthermore, there is an essay on the great bibliophiles associations in Germany. The cover and a chapter on modern book art was designed by students of the Hochschule für Gestaltung  (University for Design) in Halle/Giebichenstein.

In the last two years, the number of members in the VDA has remained constant. We see it as an important task to promote the principles of the VDA and the ILAB, and thus encourage young colleagues to join the organisation. A new, “passive” membership has been created, which gives older or no longer active colleagues the chance to keep in close contact with the VDA.

The VDA has managed to secure a framework agreement with the “Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst” (an organisation which represents contemporary artists). Those colleagues who deal in contemporary art will be given a discount on payment to that organisation.

As if the increase in VAT was not bad enough, we will now have to face new difficulties: The law for the protection of cultural goods has been revised by the Government. The law is now so strict that great difficulties are anticipated for German art and antiquarian bookdealers. German art dealer associations and the VDA have established a “Interessensgemeinschaft Kunsthandel” (Syndicate of Art Dealers). This syndicate will try to reduce the impact of this restrictive law, and will represent the art trade as a whole. Amongst other goals, the maximum value of incunabula and manuscripts should be revised and corrected, so that colleagues dealing in these materials will not be unduly disadvantaged.

VAO (Austria)

Michael Steinbach reports that he was elected last Spring so he has not had yet opportunities to act; Two pop up fairs took place during WRBD; He is trying to promote the trade in Austria, and is organizing a joint stand of sixteen booksellers in November at the Book Wien Fair for editors, publishers, etc. The exhibiting dealers will publish a joint catalogue, and he hopes this will give a push for the trade.


ABF (Denmark)

Maria Girsel reports that apart from loosing one of their most liked members, she has nothing specific to add. However, the Book Fair in Copenhagen was successful with nearly 40 exhibitors; the association’s participation to the WRBD saw a pop up fair in the National Library, and it was fun. Four new members have been admitted this year. All in all, it has been a pretty good year.

MAE (Hungary)

Adam Bosze reports that his association is one of the smallest. He remembers that when ILAB accepted the association’s application in 2010, there were 15 dealers, and he had promised that MAE would play an active role in ILAB. He was happy to invite the committee for a meeting in 2012; MAE took part in the pop up book fair event, and he is proud to organize the congress and book fair next year. The result of this success story is that now MAE counts 10 booksellers, but he nevertheless hopes to have a very good  and successful congress.

He is applauded.

CLAM (Belgium)

Marc Van de Wiele reports that the Belgian association is small, they are trying to find more members, especially younger, as most members are old. They are trying to organize a fair, they need to find a suitable location in Brussels so that next year it can be more important in order that more colleagues can be invited to participate. He hopes it will be successful.

NVvA (Netherlands)

Frank Rutten gives the following report:

On Monday September 29 the Dutch Association celebrated its 80th anniversary with a tour of the International Court of Justice, and a banquet dinner.

Membership is stable at ca 60 members.

Until last year we organized an annual book fair, the Amsterdam Antiquarian Book, Map and Print Fair. Due to dwindling sales, and a steadily diminishing number of visitors we have taken a year off for evaluation. But we are determined to make a fresh start next year: In the weekend after the Budapest Congress.

Yearly the NVvA issues a full-colour joint catalogue, in which ca. 2/3 of our members participate. The publication of this catalogue usually coincides with the fair. Circulation is 4000 copies worldwide.

Our participation in Unesco World Book and Copyright Day (Amsterdam, Antwerp, Groningen, Haarlem) was well noted.

Some explanatory remarks on the NVvA proposal for appointment of Security Officers and a Security liaison group:

After reading the Presidents Report I think an elaboration on our proposal almost superfluous.

What are the main assets of ILAB? Why do we want to adhere and why do we prefer doing business with ILAB-members?

1. Guarantee of authenticity. A merchandise is as described or can be returned.

2. Guarantee of provenance. We have to be sure merchandise is ‘clean’, and National Association Committees must be given all requested information by their members. ‘Guarantee of provenance’ means security. Norbert has mentioned the hopeful collaboration with IFLA on international level. Our proposal aims at:  firstly to further speedy communication between ILAB and national associations in this respect, and secondly to improve relations between National Associations and libraries, museums, other institutions and government in the respective countries.

Security sometimes means confidentiality (if only for legal matters). Therefore the Dutch Association proposes appointment of Security Officers and a Security liaison group.

It is my conviction that if we stress not only ‘Guarantee of Authenticity’ but also ‘Guarantee of Provenance’, we will help greatly the ‘War on Theft’. As a spin-off we will be more attractive as partners of the institutional world, more attractive for dealers to join, and more attractive for customers.


GAB (Russia)

Ekaterina Kuthko reads the following report:

Ladies and Gentlemen!

For the last year our Guild accepted several new members and we will discuss the entering of new one in the nearest future.

Last year the Guild participated with collective stand at Olympia book fair in London with kind help of ABA. After this very good start two Russian booksellers did three fairs in USA and Olympia in London in 2015. They appreciate all American and English colleagues for their help.

Two new on-road bookshops were opened, in Moscow and in Tbilisi (Georgia).

Another good news are two PhD papers prepared at Moscow State University of Printing Arts. Alena Lavrenova defended her paper about ILAB. We hope that she will published her paper in Russian and English languages soon. Another intern student, Valentina Rudnitskaya who participated in internship program in UK also defended her PhD. Two more PhD paper will come including paper of Ksenia Batueva who is writing about Spanish market for rare books.

Our University has more students for internship program now. The educational reform is nearly complete and University could now prepare students for bachelor and master degrees in antiquarian book trade.

The bad news is Estonian bookseller was sentenced to prison for three years for an attempt to break Russian law and take some old books away from Russia without any export license. There was a second edition of Sebastian Brandt’s The ship of fools among his books.

We had three new fairs for rare books in Moscow, privately and state organized previous season. The most important is the fair on the Red Square in the center of the city. The importance of that fair is possibility to meet absolutely new client and promote rare books among people from different parts of our country, who doesn’t go to special rare book fairs.

ALAI (Italy)

Umberto Pregliasco reports that the situation is very difficult because of the thefts and the new law that was passed early August, which makes it impossible to export books printed before 1965. The Bologna fair had last year 110 exhibitors, and it was cancelled this year. The Milan book fair had problems to put together 40 booths. Many dealers are closing down or retiring. ALAI will soon reach the record of the Hungarian association, he conveys his best wishes to Adam Bosze and thanks him for his efforts.

President Donhofer thanks each delegate for his/her contribution.


6. President’s Report

The following Report was sent to all Presidents before the meeting:

The last President’s Report in Paris, April 2014, happened to be a short one, as only six months had passed since the President’s Meeting in Siena in September 2013. I am afraid that this report will be much longer as 18 months have passed meanwhile and this committee has had to deal with various foreseeable as well as unforeseeable issues.

One of the most important issues that has kept us extremely busy was the transformation of ILAB’s book-keeping into a modern system, and I can report happily that our treasurer, Bob Fleck, had not only accepted to take on this enormous challenge, but also that he succeeded. With the help of our Executive Secretary and an outside book-keeper, he has successfully combined and balanced all of our accounts in London and Copenhagen and had placed them into one financial accounting system (QuickBooksOnline). The day-to-day accounting of ILAB is now done by the Executive Secretary, an added responsibility for that position. The work is reviewed by the treasurer and an outside book-keeper. The Treasurer’s office now has access to online banking with the HSBC (London) and Sydbank (Copenhagen) with the ability to transfer funds. It was absolutely necessary to do that as it is probable that the forthcoming ILAB Treasurers will change more often than in the past, and they will henceforth find a modern and easy system that will allow them to be operational immediately. The first change of Treasurer is right ahead of us. When Bob Fleck was elected he did not hesitate to tell us that he would not see himself as a lifelong Treasurer. His resignation, however, came sooner than expected. Bob Fleck is now the proud President of the Historical Society of New Castle, Delaware, and he feels that working for the Historical Society as well as ILAB, while trying to be a successful bookseller, would be impossible. The Committee has accepted his resignation and I am glad to announce that he has helped us find a new Treasurer within a relatively short time. Thank you, Bob, for all the work you have devoted to ILAB, and welcome to Rob Shepherd! Rob is also the Treasurer of the ABA, and he will work closely together with our Executive Secretary and Vincent Cole, a professional book-keeper based in London. The Committee believes this to be a good solution as our accounts are also based in London. As per our bylaws, the Committee was able to nominate Rob, and by approving my report, you will also be approving his nomination.

I am also happy to be able to report that the financial situation of ILAB is excellent, albeit our various and permanently increasing activities require more investments than in the past, but I can ensure you that this Committee is extremely careful when spending ILAB’s money. Bob Fleck will report about the budgets of ILAB and the ILAB-Breslauer Prize later in detail.

Another important issue that bothers us permanently is the ongoing reports and rumors about thefts and forgeries, and also the legal consequences of these criminal actions. It was only a short time after this Committee was elected that Italian authorities started to confiscate books suspected to have been stolen at the Girolamini Library in Naples, although the incriminated booksellers were able to clearly prove when, where, and from whom they had purchased these items. ILAB protested sharply, and as a consequence of our open letter to the Italian prosecutors I was invited to Naples where I tried, together with Fabrizio Govi, ALAI Past-President, and Dott. Francesco Salamone, the ALAI attorney, to convince the Italian authorities that their behavior was simply wrong. I again offered ILAB’s expertise in assisting them whenever our help would be needed but it seems clear that they will never ask for help. However, they seem to have understood my arguments, and there are no current news about the Girolamini affair. Nevertheless, it was annoying to find that Marino Massimo de Caro, the former director of this Library, although sentenced to seven years in prison, started to send emails to the Committee, to me personally, and to the ALAI Committee, stating that he was totally innocent. We asked the attorney of ALAI, Dott. Francesco Salamone, to protest and send a letter to the Italian authorities, and we haven’t heard from De Caro since.

We were able to puzzle together a list of the books which were withdrawn from auction at Zisska & Schauer, Munich and which were from the Girolamini Library. This list had been sent to all of our members. I do not hesitate to express my curiosity about the fact that the auction house of Zisska & Schauer – heavily involved in this case - was of little help. The reason why they had behaved so remains unknown.

I was invited to attend at a conference held at the British Library in June of 2015, on “The Written Heritage of Mankind in Peril: Theft, Retrieval, Sale and Restitution of rare books, maps and manuscripts”. This conference dealt mainly with the thefts in the Royal Libraries of Denmark and Sweden, and their legal consequences. We will discuss later “Ethics”, and I will report in more details about this conference at that point.

Arnoud Gerits attended a similar conference and gave a presentation for ILAB at the Hague in March 2015. In his presentation he stressed the need for more and closer collaboration and communication between institutional authorities, civil authorities and ILAB in a combined effort to prevent illegally obtained cultural goods (books in this particular case) from circulating in and being sold through the trade.

It was around the Paris Congress in 2014 that a new scandal was brought to light, although it had been long suspected that “Aristophil” had built up a sort of “Ponzi-Scheme”. French authorities have stated that it will take about three to five years to clear up this mess, and there is no wonder about that as we are talking about thousands of cheated investors, more than one hundred thousands of autograph letters and manuscripts, and an amount of some 800 million Euros. The owner/director of Aristophil, Gérard Lheritier, has been arrested meanwhile, and investigations have already started against some French booksellers. I am afraid that this case will keep us busy for many years.

Facing all these issues, facing also the fact that all of these problems were and still are damaging the reputation of ILAB, our profession, and the majority of our affiliates, who are trying daily to convince their customers, that it is us, ILAB-booksellers, whom they can trust. Our Spring Committee Meeting was set in Milan at the time of the Milan book fair instead of New York as scheduled, in support of our Italian colleagues, and also to be able to organize a round table about thefts and forgeries. Although none of the Italian prosecutors we had invited showed up, we did welcome some important persons: Giuseppe Calabi, attorney at law in Milan, Felix de Marens Oyens, former head of Christie’s and director of the Breslauer Foundation, Gianni Bertolino, the only Italian official who attended, as well as others. The results of this meeting, as well as of the London conference, might be the basis of ongoing discussions and workshops.

Fortunately, I can report about some other, much more pleasant activities. I had been invited to attend a conference about the Italian bookseller Giuseppe Martini in Lucca, Tuscany, in October 2014. Giuseppe Martini was born in Lucca, moved later on to New York, and retired in Lugano, Switzerland. He was among the first Italian booksellers who initiated the building up of Italian book collections in the US, and he was, by all fair means, a gifted antiquarian bookseller. Alas, I have to say that by modern standards, he would be considered today a criminal because none of the invaluable manuscripts and early printed books he exported from Italy had anything coming close to an export license, and/or details of a provenance. Times have changed!

Our “Far-East-Member”, the ABAJ, celebrated their 50th anniversary in December 2014. I had sent a congratulation note upon this occasion but the festivities did not end before March 2015. The ABAJ organized a more official celebration and an international book fair at the beginning of March, and I took the opportunity to attend the opening of the fair and address ILAB’s good wishes for their anniversary.

I do not want to bother you with the details of the many smaller matters we have dealt with, and will therefore simply list them: the Presidents of Honor have been added to the mailing list of the Committee; a photo album of the Paris Congress was done and distributed; a printed Newsletter was published and sent to the affiliates in November 2014; the new ILAB Directory was published in January 2015; I met with some antiquarian booksellers of Croatia in Zagreb last year to discuss the foundation of a Croatian Antiquarian Booksellers Association, but I cannot report about any further substantial results in this matter; we are keeping a close relationship with CINOA, and former Committee member Brigitta Laube keeps on attending the meetings of CINOA for us; Arnoud Gerits attended a CINOA meeting of a newly formed EU lobbying committee. Arnoud reported later that it was not really necessary to attend these meetings in the future, as their concerns are quite different from ours, and we specifically don’t want to be mixed with them as there might be a risk of our VAT rate being raised; the project on bibliophily has been stopped as the texts we had received so far were of different levels. The incoming articles will be published on the website; I have had some talks with Jean-Marc Chatelain, the executive secretary of the AIB (Association Internationale de Bibliophilie), and we have agreed to work closer together and to check dates of Congresses and Meetings to avoid clashes.

One of the results of the London conference was certainly that there is a need to work closer together with IFLA, the international association of librarians. I could feel the change in behavior among the librarians during the conference, and one of the most important librarians, Denis Bruckmann (Bibliothéque Nationale de France), expressed the change drastically: “I am fed up with hiding thefts that have occurred and are occurring in our libraries! That’s what we had been doing for decades. We have nothing to hide, and we have to go public! That’s the only chance to recover stolen items”. Subsequently, I have exchanged many emails with important librarians: Denis Bruckmann (BNF), Christian Jensen (British Library), Ivan Boserup (Royal Library, Copenhagen), Jerker Ryden and Greger Bergvall (Royal Library, Stockholm). I have also exchanged my thoughts with highly qualified attorneys, who had also attended this conference: Norman Palmer (London), Keun-Gwan Lee (Seoul), Giuseppe Calabi (Milan), Jutta von Falkenhausen (Berlin), Sibel Özel (Istanbul), and Gert-Jan van den Bergh (Amsterdam); and, of course, with distinguished persons from the trade: Meg Ford (Christie’s), Richard Aronowitz-Mercer (Sotheby’s), Monica Dugot (Christie’s) and Stephan Loewentheil (19th Century Bookshop). After having collected their ideas I sent a letter to the President of IFLA presenting the idea of creating a Committee consisting of three members of IFLA and ILAB each. This Committee should meet at least once a year, and, if needed, more often, to discuss recent problems. This letter was well received, and the answer was promising, but, unfortunately, the President of IFLA was an outgoing one and could not (or: didn’t want to) make any serious promises. I will keep on working on this idea.

Another idea following the London conference relates to the “Stolen Book Databases”. ILAB is running a quite successful database – the librarian of the BNF, Denis Bruckmann, expressed that in London, which was no wonder as our database helped within only two days to recover some valuable, but stolen, prints of his library. There is also “The Art Loss Register”, a professionally run but money costing database. The chairman of ALR, Julian Radcliffe, met with me in Vienna some weeks after the conference in London, and we have been talking about the possibility of a merger of the two databases. Julian Radcliffe has meanwhile sent a proposal to the Committee, and our Security Officer Gonzalo Pontes and Committee Member Stuart Bennett have checked this proposal carefully. Gonzalo and Stuart will explain the pros and cons in detail soon. 

You will remember that Udo Göllmann, representative of ABEbooks, gave a presentation during the Presidents Meeting in Paris. Past-President Tom Congalton, Barbara van Benthem, Jim Hinck and I had been negotiating with ABEbooks since 2013 about their offer to make ILAB-booksellers more visible on ABEbooks. They changed their first proposal several times, and Udo Göllmann’s presentation about an “ILAB landing-page” etc., made definite sense. However, the following discussion appeared to be quite controversial, and the voting was all but not unanimous. The Committee, however, has tried to follow the vote of the Presidents, encouraging us to further negotiations with ABEbooks. Soon after the first talks, rumors around Amazon, the owner of ABEbooks and ZVAB, started, and these unpleasant reports didn’t stop after some days or weeks but went on for months. Some Presidents expressed their rising concerns about our deal with ABEbooks, and in July of 2014 the Committee decided to postpone our talks with them. ABEbooks has meanwhile kept on talking to several of our members, and the ABAA has agreed to work closer together with them. The ABA und the VDA are in negotiation with ABEbooks, but this Committee has still the feeling that it is not the right time to restart our talks with them.

The internship program keeps on running, and another student from the Moscow State University of the Printing Arts will travel to the US soon to work for some weeks at “Between the Covers”. The Russian Association had informed me about another student seeking for an internship abroad. This student has excellent Korean language skills and I have therefore asked them to contact the President of the ABAK.

I had been wondering for quite some time about the fact that antiquarian booksellers did not participate in UNESCO’s “World Day of the Book and Copyright” which is annually celebrated in many countries on April 23rd. When I mentioned that during the Paris Congress it still seemed like a vague concept, but Committee Member Sally Burdon and our Web-Editor, Barbara van Benthem were thrilled. In the following months the two ladies created a concept allowing antiquarian booksellers to join this worldwide event. I do not have the slightest idea of how many emails were exchanged, and I was sometimes really astonished about the energy Sally and Barbara devoted to this new activity, but what is now clear to me is the fact that their enthusiasm excited many of our affiliates. The first edition of ILAB’s World Rare Book Day was a fabulous success and the 32 pop-up book fairs around the world attracted customers as well as media. During the 24 hours event hundreds of reports were sent to reporters and newspapers, thousands of images, videos and interviews were available, and an accompanying blog was well attended. Customers could also support literacy and fill empty bookcases, and people did not hesitate to do so. Finally we were able to wire the donations gathered by the pop-up exhibitors, for an amount of nearly 10.000 € to UNESCO, an amount that has been used by UNESCO to buy schoolbooks for South-Sudan. The preparations for the second edition of the WRBD are meanwhile on track, and we trust that on April 23, 2016, even more booksellers will participate.

Last but not least, I need to remind you all that what ILAB is today is the result of what your predecessor presidents decided during General Meetings since 1947. Our meetings continue to build upon the past to improve our future. But that does not mean that proposals adopted fifty years ago have become obsolete (For example the definition of what is an ILAB fair). 

I do not want to end my report without expressing my thanks to all my Committee members without whom none of these tasks could have been achieved, as well as to many of the Presidents of our member associations. We need your feedback and your input to keep on working for the benefit of the League.

 Jörn Harbeck moves to accept the Report, he is seconded by Anne Lamort.

No comments or questions are asked.


In favour: 21

Adopted unanimously.


7. Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Bob Fleck wonders if everyone has had the chance to print the 9 pages of his report, but just in case, the scrutineers distribute the printed pages to all.

He then reads the following report:

The financial health of ILAB and of the ILAB - Breslauer Prize for Bibliography is excellent. The Treasurer worked closely with our Executive Secretary and an outside book-keeper to successfully combine and balance all of our accounts in London and Copenhagen and place them into one financial accounting system (QuickBooksOnline). The day-to-day accounting of ILAB is now done by the Executive Secretary, an added responsibility for that position. And here I would like to take the opportunity to say that during my term as ILAB President, I had hired her in November 2004, and this was approved by the Presidents, and it was one of the best things I ever did for ILAB. (Applause). The work is reviewed by the Treasurer and a book-keeper. The Treasurer's office now has access to online banking at HSBC (London) and Sydbank (Copenhagen) and the ability to transfer funds.

The attached reports show the income statements and balance sheets of both ILAB and ILAB-Breslauer Prize.


Income (Table I) for ILAB was very close to our budgeted amount (164,452 Euros versus budgeted 166,116 Euros). Our expenses were less than budget (133,149 Euros versus budgeted 158,670 Euros) as we had one less meeting because of the timing of the Paris Congress in April rather than the usual September and less miscellaneous expenses that estimated. Thus we had an unusually large amount of cash added to our balance sheet.

The balance sheet (Table II) shows that we have 287,617 Euros including 131,347 Euros invested in shares and bonds in Denmark thanks to the work of our former Treasurer, Poul Poulsen. Please note that the balance sheet shows two loans that ILAB made to the ILAB-Breslauer Bibliographical Prize (2,301 Euros accounts receivable and 18,634 Euros as loan). These amounts were paid by ILAB for expenses incurred while awarding the last two ILAB-Breslauer Prizes as ILAB had extra dollars and it was important to pay out expenses in dollars for the Prizes without doing currency conversion. At some point the Committee will ask the Presidents to decide whether or not these loans should be paid back.

ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography

The income statement (Table III) for the Prize shows that we had a small loss as the shares and bonds went down in value more than the interest earned on those shares and bonds.

The balance sheet (Table IV) for the Prize shows that we have 102,580 Euros as assets. However, it is also noted that the Prize owes ILAB 2,301 + 18,634 for the loans made to pay out Prize money.

He adds that the report will be voted on at the same time as the budget.

No questions are asked.

President Donhofer reads out loud the excerpt of his report concerning the resignation of Bob Fleck and the appointment by the Committee of Rob Shepherd as new Treasurer. He asks the Meeting to approve his appointment.

Anne Lamort, presents the motion, seconded by Frank Rutten.


In favour: 21

Rob Shepherd is unanimously elected as ILAB Treasurer, he is warmly welcomed and applauded.

Bob Fleck adds that he doesn’t want the presidents to believe that he loves ILAB less because he has resigned. He explains that he had volunteered to straighten out the accounts as best as he could, he had warned that when the task was done, he would be comfortable to turn it over to a new Treasurer. The job is now through. He is warmly applauded.

President Donhofer thanks him, tells him that as he has served ILAB for so many years, it was not easy to find a token to thank him for his hard work, and gifts him with the ILAB medal, inscribed “In recognition of services rendered”. Bob Fleck is applauded again and gives a short speech of thanks, in which he also says that the best thing he ever did during his term as ILAB President was to hire an Executive Secretary. Both are applauded.


8. Security

A) Reports:

1. Security Officer

Gonzalo F. Pontes, Security Chair, reads the following report:

To start with, let me point out that since our last meeting in April 2014, the stolen books database has been uploaded with exactly thirty new reported alerts from our affiliates, which is less than two a month, which is a good result when compared within the historical statistics of the database.

The increasing concern in the antiquarian book trade has to do with the thefts in institutional libraries. Our president has explained in his report the latest news concerning the Girolamini affair.

Our first round table on stolen cultural property held in Milano was a good starting point beyond the regrettable fact that only one Italian, in charge of export licenses for one region attended this  meeting. None of the other officials who have links with the Girolamini inquiry or prosecution attended, nor any representative from the Italian State or Ministry of Culture. Which is a pity considering that we organized this meeting in their own country.

I feel that it is going to take a long time to convince the cultural representatives either in Italy or any other European country of the necessity to cooperate with the League.

The future definitely will go through an agreement between ILAB, as the embodiment of the most important collective of booksellers around the world, and IFLA. It is not going to be a bed of roses. We are a private organization facing an institutional backed organization but the proposal of creating a joint committee has been issued from our side so that sooner or later they will have to move ahead in one way or another.

The contact between the Art Loss Register and ILAB for a future cooperation is expressed in the proposal that we all have in our hands. Art Loss Register is a well established company with a long experience managing information on stolen antiquities and antiques with special focus in the WWII illegally seized items. ILAB  would simply gives free access to the stolen books database but ALR monetizes the information on a regular basis. We have to study in depth their proposal and find, if possible, the common ground for an agreement keeping in my in the best terms for the League.

ILAB needs visibility and a strong dose of PR to play a more important role with Libraries and cultural authorities worldwide. In this way, we, the committee members and the security chair will do their best either attending  or sponsoring meetings to spread our commitment for a transparent and fair book trade.

President Donhofer thanks Gonzalo F. Pontes. Jörn Harbeck asks what does monetize mean in this context: GFP explains that it means that ALR will harvest our database and will sell their information to their customers. President Donhofer says that we will be discussing ALR later in the meeting.


2. London Conference, IFLA & Art Loss Register


President Donhofer reports that former Committee member Brigitta Laube still attends CINOA meetings as the ILAB representative, and that the last meeting dealt mainly with the ivory ban in the USA, which is affecting not only the US market; that some States have also forbidden tortoise shell. The American CINOA member association is trying to prevent the implementation of further laws. The only good news within CINOA is that the SNA (Syndicat National des Antiquaires, France) has rejoined after having left the association for some ten years, and that CINOA is working on a new version of a Code of Conduct that will have to be approved at next year’s annual meeting.


He then asks Umberto Pregliasco to report on the most recent Italian problems.

First of all, Umberto P. says that the only official Italian participant to the Milan workshop organized in March by ILAB was Giuseppe Calabi. The situation within the Italian trade has become impossible and he asks ILAB to support ALAI by sending a letter to the Ministry and by communicating within ILAB that at this very moment, Italy can no longer export any book published before 1965. Everyone should know that for the next 6 months or more, no one will be able to buy books in Italy. The Ministry decided to centralize the power previously given to regions to deliver licences, but this supposedly new power has not yet been created. The other issue at hand is that the market was already affected by the Girolamini affair and even after a definitive sentence of 7 years, Mr. de Caro is only under house arrest and members of the committee know that he has the possibility to post letters on Facebook, that he tries to sell books through his mother and that he also offered himself as an expert to ILAB to help avoid thefts in public libraries. The situation is hopeless. The most important cultural patrimony in the world will disappear from the market. He adds that President Donhofer spent an incredible amount of time and money to go to Naples for a meeting with officials, but that he hit a wall.

President Donhofer thanks him. He comments that the newly invented law in Italy is certainly the last step to kill the trade. The committee will send a letter to both ALAI and the Italian authorities and request more information. As to De Caro, he ironizes that he did not really dislike his polite emails, but at a certain stage he got fed up, and wrote a letter to both ALAI and their lawyer who sent a note of protest to the Italian authorities, and it led to a month suspension of the internet for De Caro.


One of the outcomes of the London conference he attended at the end of June was that he had a strong feeling, along with librarians, that we need better communication and cooperation with IFLA. Shortly afterwards, he sent a letter to IFLA’s General Secretary, Jennefer Nicolson, explaining the situation and suggesting that both associations should form a committee consisting of 3 members of each, who should meet once a year at either congresses, in order to discuss recent problem concerning security issues and thefts. On July 13, he received a positive response from her. However, IFLA held new elections at the end of August, and some two days ago, he received a letter in which he was told that the newly elected committee thought that communication between the two associations would be beneficial, but that they did not see a concrete need at this state to create a liaison committee. He adds that IFLA is a huge association, consisting of about five thousand librarians worldwide, and it takes time until decisions are made; He will continue to exchange with IFLA but will also choose a second route, which is to open discussions with CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries). It is a more specialised association than IFLA, as its members consist of the chief librarians and curators. He met a few of them in London, it might possibly be easier to build a relationship with them, and maybe even meet with them once or twice a year.

Another outcome of the conference was that some librarians and the moderators Norman Palmer (Barrister, expert adviser to the Spoliation Advisory Panel and Chair of the Treasure Valuation Committee between 2001 and 2011) and Kristen Jensen (Head of Collections and Curation at the British Library), had asked why so many stolen databases exist, rather than one, explaining that when someone wants to check the status of a book, they have to run through several databases. They asked whether it was not possible to merge all of them, which he agreed would be a good idea.


So, two weeks after the conference, he had a meeting in Vienna with the CEO of the Art Loss Register where they discussed in detail the situation. He received shortly after a proposal where,  in short, the ALR would harvest our database, but as the ALR is a commercial venture, everyone including our dealers would have to pay to check it (although they would give our affiliates a rebate). At the Committee Meeting the day before, it was decided not to follow that route.

Stuart Bennett says that this issue is appropriate to be raised in this Meeting, as the ALR is making a commercial proposal to ILAB, thus showing that our database is of value to them; however, they would be offering a simple discount for our affiliates to check the ALR, and he asks whether this creates a situation which we might as well accept or do we go back to them and say that if we allow them to have our information then surely it is only fair as a quid pro quo that they make their entire database accessible to ILAB members. What is the correct approach? President Donhofer explains that the ALR wants all the hidden information, not only the once accessible to all on the stolen book website.

Tom Congalton says it occurs to him that they don’t want to make the data accessible to all our affiliates but perhaps they could make it available to one person in each association.

Tom Goldwasser asks whether their database, which is often checked by the auction houses, is also regularly checked for accuracy? Do they have content that would be useful to us?

Gonzalo F. Pontes replies that basically the ALR contains mostly thefts reports on antiquities and antiques. The data they provide is that they receive over three hundred thousands searches a year. As a collector of antiquities, he had the contact with ALR indirectly through the dealers from whom he purchased antiquities. He shows a certificate delivered by the ALR concerning an Egyptian antique vase that he  bought. It certifies that this item to the best of the ALR knowledge is not in their database nor had a claimant who claimed it between 1933 and 1945. He adds that the ALR need to harvest our database because their database antiquarian books is weak. Even with only one contact (a bookseller) in one country providing information about stolen books, the ALR would be able to use our database as an argument to sell the searches of their database to potential  customers.

They need indeed supplementary material on books as their contacts and searches come from institutions. The certificates they issue are used mainly  as passports for auctions houses.

Anne Lamort asks whether it is not one of ILAB’s strengths to have this database and whether to give it for free would not be contrary to our interests? What would we gain by doing so?

President Donhofer replies that she is probably right but he also believes that the idea would make it easier, not only for auction houses and museums and institutions but also for booksellers. The more databases would be joined together, the better for the image of the trade. The committee will continue the discussions with the ALR, but is not going to sign a contract upon these terms.

Tom Goldwasser says we could ask them how many enquiries turn up an object that was stolen? What is the number of recovered objects?

Gonzalo F. Pontes replies no more than fifty or seventy a year.

Matts Petersson asks whether we know if libraries have put their stolen books in the ALR?

President Donhofer replies that now they do so.

Michael Graves-Johnston says that data is a valuable commodity, so why shouldn’t they pay for it?

President Donhofer says we are all agreed that the present proposal from ARL is not acceptable by ILAB, and asks for permission to continue his talks with the ALR. The Assembly approves the continuation of talks with the Art Loss Register.

London Conference

President Donhofer says he was invited to participate in the London Conference held at the British Library on  June 26, 2015: “The Written Heritage of Mankind in Peril: Theft, Retrieval, Sale and Restitution of rare books, maps and manuscripts.” It was co-organized by the Art Law Commission of the UIA, the British Library and the Institute of Art and Law. (See Annex, taken from

He adds that it was mistitled as the Conference dealt mostly with two issues: the legal issues of title when selling stolen property and the thefts that happened in the Royal Library of Stockholm between 1996 and 2004. Margaret Lane-Ford, International Head of Books and Manuscripts at Christies New York, reported how, thanks to intensive provenance research, she was able to determine that a copy brought for sale originated from there. Richard Aronowitz-Mercer, Head of Restitution Europe at Sotheby’s, reported how much time and energy they are devoting to provenance research. Steven Loewentheil, owner of 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop in Baltimore reported about some successful provenance researches proving that items bought at auction or from other dealers were stolen. Fortunately enough for us, thanks to our database and alert system, Denis Bruckmann, Director of Collections at the BNF, reported about a case that happened right before the conference: some valuable prints were detected to have been stolen and for first time he immediately notified our Security officer, who immediately spread the news; 2 days later, they had a track to the stolen items, and all were finally recovered. 

Everything, however, was shadowed by the various reports about the thefts in the Royal Library of Stokcholm. Between 1996 and 2004, a librarian at the Royal Library had stolen 62-64 very valuable books. All of them were auctioned by ILAB affiliate Ketterer Kunst in Germany. The librarian had showed up with a false name “Karl Fields”, and Ketterer did not ask for a proof of identity. Furthermore, Ketterer had always paid him in cash, so there was no money transfer which could prove the real identity of the seller. In 2004, the thefts were detected because the Library started to make a new inventory and the librarian knew that the thefts would be detected, so he started to confess and the police started the investigation. The thief was however released from custody and he committed suicide in his home, which lead to a closing of the investigation. The Swedish authorities then asked the German police for assistance and Ketterer Kunst was investigated. Mr. Calaminus in charge of rare books at Ketterer stated at first that he had received 3 or 4 book from “Karl Fields”, and after opening his files, it turned out that all stolen books had been auctioned by Ketterer. At some point the German authorities stopped their investigation because they could not pursue due to paragraph 932 of German civil code which stipulates that a person in good faith can acquire any object, even if it does not belong to seller. Ketterer Kunst however provided the list of the books sold by “Karl Fields” as well as the name of buyers, but there was no chance of suing them because of paragraph 932. The Royal Library then contacted the dealers who had bought these items. The majority of them were ILAB affiliates, they had purchased a total of 37 or 38 items. Only one of these dealers cooperated totally with the Royal Library and gave back the books he had acquired at auction. Two other ILAB booksellers gave back each one book, but they had purchased more. From a legal point of view, it is more or less clear that this case is dead and buried although there is no question about the fact that Ketterer misbehaved. It did not take into account the code of ethics of the German association, nor even its own internal regulations. For ILAB, and from a moral point of view, the case is not closed. He adds that he has brought for the President of the ABA, the ABAA, the VDA and the NVvA closed envelopes in which each one will find written the names of the dealers involved, the list of books bought and when the books were purchased.  It is up to them to find out what action they can take.

Ketterer Kunst had offered as a compensation a large amount of money to the Royal Library who turned it down, because they want their books back. This is a very complicated case and the ILAB committee has discussed this issue at length yesterday. From its point of view, it can do no more than giving out the envelopes: the Committee is not trying to shrink from its responsibility, but in the end it is the presidents who can take action.

Michael Park asks if Ketterer Kunst is still a member of the VDA and if so, what steps will the VDA take?

Christian Hesse replies that in the German Association, the members are the persons, not the firms. At this moment therefore, nothing can be done.

Arnoud Gerits reminds that it would be a good idea to note that individual booksellers are not members of ILAB. The members are the national associations. We therefore bring the matters to the attention of the national association.

Matts Petersson asks whether the Royal Library has been in contact with the German association?

Chrtsitan Hesse replies that two years ago there was a last contact on another matter, he has otherwise never received any request from them.

Matts Petersson says that before the meeting, the Royal Library asked him what would ILAB do? He told the librarians that they should contact the VDA.

President Donhofer replies that since the Conference, he has been in permanent contact with the head Librarian at the Royal Library.

Michael Graves-Jonhston says that the case is not closed, and that there is no statute of limitations in the USA or the UK. As Stephen Weissman (Ximenes Rare Books) wrote to the ABA: “It may be true that by the vagaries of German Law, [a] customer does have title to [a stolen book]. But the situation is not the same in the US, where the FBI has the power to seize stolen goods of any kind imported into the country, even if acquired in good faith. There appears to be no statute of limitations in these situations. This is why the only books recovered so far have been those which were purchased by American buyers.” What can be done about this?

President Donhofer replies that although the thefts were detected in 2004 and that the investigation started in 2004, it took many years for the Library to spread out the information. In fact, June 2015 was the first time when the whole case went public! He agrees with Michael Graves-Johnston and others that from a moral point of view the case is not over.

Michael Graves-Johnston reminds that there is going to be another conference next year in New York, so this matter will come up again, and there will be more bad publicity for ILAB.

Frank Rutten says the problem is that the suspicion that books are stolen has repercussions between dealers and customers. The International trade of stolen books is impossible, and the only way for us to convince our affiliates is to tell them that these books are no longer saleable.

President Donhofer adds that dealers buy at auction, in good faith, hoping that the auctioneer has fulfilled his duties. It is clear that US or UK dealers will hardly know paragraph 932 of the German code, but the German booksellers who bought these items should have known better.

Tom Goldwasser asks why the VDA cannot hold their members responsible?

Ulrich Hobbeling replies that at the time he was President of the VDA, but that the first time he has heard of this case was 6 weeks ago.

President Donhofer adds that he is not going to blame anyone, but in 2004, librarians were keen not to advertise thefts. In the meantime, they are beginning to think differently. He reminds the importance for the associations to tell their members to stick to the code of ethics! Dealers have to check the provenance of books. They have to ask for the identity of a seller when buying books.

Michel Bouvier notes that in 2005, Ketterer Kunst knew of the thefts and did not warn anyone.

Stuart Bennett raises one issue that might be pertinent, it appears that Ketterer Kunst made an initial compensation offer to the Library of a large sum of money and was declined, they are therefore in the happy position of not paying anything, retaining their commission, and not being blamed by the authorities. Perhaps the VDA could tell them they have a moral obligation to refund the buyers so that they can return the books to Sweden. It is the minimal thing the VDA could do. This could be a reasonable condition for the VDA to put to allow Ketterer to retain his membership. But ILAB cannot impose such a solution on the VDA.

President Donhofer asks the presidents of the incriminated associations to come back to him with the results of their talks with the dealers whose names are in the envelopes. The VDA knows it has to talk to Ketterer again. Michael Graves-Johnston is correct, the case will come up at the next conference in New York, also because there is a group of well educated experienced lawyers in the Institute of Art and Law, and they are keen to follow such cases, in order to make money. In their most recent history, they found out that during the Armenian holocaust by the Turks, 8 pages with manuscript paintings from a 1750 year old manuscript were cut. After some research, these pages were found a few years ago at the Getty. After many negotiations with this Institute of Art and Law, Getty agreed to pay a huge sum of money to Armenia.  This happened a hundred years after the theft took place! Another point that also came out during the Conference, is that 95% at least of library thefts are inside jobs done by librarians, but of course, this is no excuse for dealers to buy them.

Bob Fleck concludes that the Presidents in the room want to have a specific report back by the VDA concerning this matter and asks the German President if he will promise to issue such a report. The President of the VDA agrees that he will discuss this matter again with Ketterer Kunst and the VDA and report back to the Presidents with the result of that discussion.

B) Proposal from the NVvA

President Donhofer reads:

Considering the rise in theft of antiquarian books and maps throughout the world, and the active role ILAB has to play – in coordination with authorities, libraries and museums – in fighting this criminal practice, our proposal consists that all National Committees appoint one of their National Committee members  as ‘security officer’, and to form an ILAB – security liaison group with those security officers. The Coordination of this group to be placed in the hands of the ILAB Security officer.

Tom Goldwasser seconds the proposal.

Frank Rutten explains: This is a natural follow up of the past hour of discussion; This meeting cannot force associations to appoint an officer. It is just a suggestion. The ILAB guarantees authenticity and provenance of books and documents. We have to sell our customers clear title of property. He agrees with the sprit of the British amendment. He says that President Donhofer has mentioned a possible collaboration with IFLA. The NVvA’s proposal is to speed up information between associations, as this will help to fight theft.

President Donhofer replies that the committee discussed this proposal yesterday. First of all, he adds, if the motion goes through, we will need a new Security Chair. He gives the floor to Gonzalo F. Pontes to explain why.

Gonzalo F. Pontes explains that in his opinion such a liaison group will not be realistic, as some associations of smaller countries are not going to appoint a security officer considering that in those associations it is the president who does all the work. We can keep the existing channel of communication. The ABAA has a security committee but to oblige all the associations to create a security chair and a security meeting every year or twice a year will be very difficult to carry out. He is willing to remain as Security officer and to keep channels open to any president.

President Donhofer points out that larger associations already have security officers or a security committee. Gonzalo points out that it is going to be hard for an association of ten members to ask one of them to take on this further task. Now, we already have a good way of communication and whenever there is a problem, the security officer is advised.

Frank Rutten explains that he does not want meetings organized, but a formalized structure via email discussion. A dedicated email list for this purpose would be needed.

Gonzalo F. Pontes suggests to leave it to the presidents to find out what they want, and that an email list can be created before Xmas if they find it is a good idea.

President Donhofer asks whether to vote now, or to send a note to the presidents, present or absent, telling them that we are going to establish such an email list before Xmas, asking them to please appoint a recipient for this list.

Peter Bichsel asks what would be the purpose of a second email list? as in most cases it will be the association’s president dealing with it?

Anne Lamort replies that it would be symbolic.


In favour: 17


Abstention: CLAM (the President of the Association has absented himself for a short while)




9. Prize for Bibliography

NM reads the following report, sent by Fabrizio Govi, Prize Secretary:


The 17th ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography will be awarded in 2018 to the reference work that the jury will judge as the most significant among all those that will have been submitted by then to its attention. We have, to date, received ten books. They are written in three different languages (English, French and Danish) and deal with a wide variety of subjects, from the Stationers’ Company and the London Printers in the first half of the 16th century to the inventory of woodcuts in Dutch incunabula, from the catalogue of the editions of the Giunta and Plantin press to the lavish catalogue of books on horses that form the Bibliotheca Hippologica Johan Dejager. We are collaborating with many of the most important scientific publishing houses in the world: Brill - Hes & De Graaf, Cambridge University Press, Harvard University Press, Oak Knoll Press, etc. In the next years we certainly will continue to urge these and other companies to send us their new publications.


President Donhofer reminds everyone to spread the word.


10. World Copyright Book Day 2015 Report & 2016 Project

A video is shown on screen summarizing the WRBD of 2015. It is welcomed with a round of applause.

This following report has been sent to all:

ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs on UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day 2015 and 2016

In April 2014 when ILAB President Norbert Donhofer came up with the idea to celebrate UNESCO’s World Book & Copyright Day within the ILAB community nobody would have imagined that it would become such a great success.

On 23 April 2015 ILAB affiliates organized 32 ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs in 12 countries across the world. Hundreds, if not thousands of booksellers and members of the public were involved. ILAB’s worldwide celebrations received a significant amount of media interest, including an article in The Guardian which created a special site where pictures of the Pop Up Fairs were uploaded. Visitor numbers on the ILAB website and on the specially created ILAB Pop Up Blog were more than doubled, the echo in the social media was immense, and most of all, we are proud to report that ILAB booksellers across the world raised at least Euros 10,528.01 for UNESCO’s South Sudan literacy project. In addition more money has been donated via the donate button that UNESCO set up on their official website. Unfortunately we do not have a record of this amount.

Like a Mexican Wave of Pop Up Book Fairs: UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day 2015 opened at the Library of New South Wales in Sydney (Australia), with a progression of events through Asia (Tokyo), South Africa (Cape Town), Russia (Moscow), the major European capitals and then across the United States up to the Pacific North West Coast where the day ended with two fairs one in Seattle and the other in Portland, Oregon. The creativity shown by the ILAB affiliates who organised all these fairs was inspiring and unexpected. If you have in mind static fairs where middle aged and older booksellers showed their wares to similarly aged book buyers think again - you definitely need to look at the blog which Barbara van Benthem spent the entire 24 hours putting together live.

On April 23rd ILAB affiliates brought books to the people, giving children, students and a very broad cross section of the general public access to rare books, many for the first time ever. The fairs popped up in the most unexpected places, for example: a barge on a canal in Amsterdam, a woolshed in the Australian bush, a library in an underprivileged section of Antwerp, an elegant historic business man’s club in Munich, a bookshop in central Tokyo, the new Museum of Literature in Vienna, Haarlem Central Station, the Grolier Club in New York, the Istituto Cervantes in Budapest, a skyscraper in Chicago, a brew pub in Portland, a whole street in Groningen - there was even a travelling pop up fair in England with “Celeste the Rare Book Campervan” visiting primary schools on the road from Salisbury to Oxford.

Publicity: The ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs 2015 generated a so far unseen amount of publicity, all of it positive, about ILAB and the antiquarian book trade. ILAB sent out press releases to the international press, while the organisers of the Pop Ups got into contact with their local press using and modifying the press templates provided by ILAB. Thus ILAB affiliates across the globe launched a worldwide campaign to draw attention to rare books and the positive role our trade plays in the world. ILAB booksellers were featured in The Guardian, the Sunday Times, Antiques Trade Gazette, Charta; the campaign was mentioned in Der Standard, Börsenblatt Online, Radio Lombardia, Focus Groningen, Oregon Live, in local newspapers from Dunkeld, Country Victoria in Australia to Portland, Oregon, also in a radio interview in Cape Town (South Africa) in which ABA member Paul Mills described the benefits of ILAB. As the ILAB Pop Ups were included in the official UNESCO press release ILAB was even mentioned in Kultura or the Manila Bulletin.

Coverage on the Internet was particularly strong. ILAB sent out several newsletters, and as the day came closer, more articles were posted on the ILAB website, on the ILAB Pop Up Blog, on Facebook and Twitter. All the national associations promoted the ILAB Pop Ups on their websites. Sheppard’s Confidential dedicated a series of six articles to the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs, one per week before the event took place, and numerous book blogs like The Bookhunter on Safari, Book Patrol, My Sentimental Library, The Literary Tourist, Fine Books & Collections and iBookcollector published articles, some of them several times. AbeBooks supported ILAB’s worldwide campaign not only with a donation of US$2000 to the South Sudan project, they also made its entire home page a promotion of ILAB's celebrations on 23 April, blogged about the day on several websites and in several languages and sent representatives to the ILAB Pop Ups in Tokyo and in Portland.

The number of visitors to the ILAB website doubled on 22 and 23 April. In addition, ILAB attracted an impressive 2500 visitors to the new ILAB Pop Up Blog on that day, and there were hundreds of posts and tweets in the social media. Such a campaign, launched worldwide in a joint effort by ILAB affiliates, had never been seen before. A graphic demonstration of the power of working together.

A Role Model: ILAB’s inaugural involvement with WBCD was an outstanding success, capturing the imagination of the book trade, librarians and academic institutions, as well as the general public. With their smaller more informal format the ILAB Pop Up Fairs turned out to be a nimble, interesting and exciting way of presenting antiquarian bookselling in the 21st century, attracting people far beyond the usual book fair visitors to people who haven’t previously been aware of the fascination of old and rare books. The Pop Ups are an amazing means to attract younger people, and they are a proof that antiquarian booksellers want to work together. A large proportion of the comments we have received from booksellers who took part stated that, apart from the fact that up to six figure sales were made, working with colleagues across the world united by the clear purpose of promoting the rare book trade, while raising money for literacy, was an important attraction for them. This is a shining example that ILAB’s motto is still alive: Amor librorum nos unit.

Help Us To Make the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs 2016 Even Better!

Plans are beginning to take shape for World Book & Copyright Day in 2016 and following the Presidents’ Meeting in Seville planning will begin in earnest.

UNESCO: 2015 was the first year in which ILAB and UNESCO cooperated on World Book & Copyright Day. The ability to use the UNESCO brand gives credence to ILAB, in a wider context and to a wider publicity far beyond the bookish horizon. In 2015 the ILAB Pop Ups were prominently promoted on the UNESCO website, all the individual Pop Up Fairs were mentioned on the UNESCO World Map, and the events were included in the official press release. As an immediate result of ILAB’s success in organizing such an impressive series of events UNESCO offered ILAB the opportunity to become an official partner. ILAB Committee Member Michel Bouvier is now negotiating with the UNESCO representatives Vincent Defourny and Ian Denison in Paris about the details of such a partnership.

Charity: “Fill the Book Case – Support Literacy” was the successful overall slogan for the ILAB Pop Up campaign in 2015. The charity initiative is a very positive project to be involved in and assists in gaining a wider media publicity, especially in connection with UNESCO. In 2016 we will again appeal to the people to fill the “Empty Book Cases”, this time not only in English, but with an explanation of the “Empty Book Case” concept in the languages of all organising countries. More details on our plans for 2016 will be available when our budget for this campaign is finalised.

500 Years of Cervantes and Shakespeare – The Shakespeare and Cervantes Virtual Book Case: 2016 will be a special year as April 23rd is the 500th anniversary of the deaths of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. Both authors are of significance to book people. As children we read about “Don Quixote” and at school we learn about Macbeth and other Shakespearean heroes. These two great men of literature continue to live on in the modern world through the innumerable editions of their works from Shakespeare’s First Folio and the rare first “Quixote” to translations and adaptations in various languages to children’s books, pocket books, comics and film.

In 2016 ILAB will launch the ILAB Pop Up Book Fair campaign in early January by setting up a Shakespeare and Cervantes Virtual Book Case on the ILAB Pop Up Blog. Colleagues, collectors and anyone who is interested will be asked to send pictures of their favourite Shakespeare and Cervantes editions and to send us short statements what both poets mean to them. All this will be posted on the ILAB Blog and the social media in the weeks leading up to 23 April 2016 and the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs where very likely many more rare and fine Shakespeare and Cervantes editions will be on display. This initiative will allow ILAB to launch the ILAB Pop Up Book Fair campaign very early in 2016 thus raising the tension and gaining as much media coverage and public attention as possible.

Patronage: We are also working on the idea of finding well known figures across the world to act as patrons of the fairs. The ILAB Pop Up Book Fair in Munich 2016, for example, will officially be opened with a lecture held by Klaus G. Saur, German book collector, author and publisher for decades. We are also thinking about involving the ILAB Patrons of Honour. There is still much work to be done on these ideas and we would welcome input.

Media: The ILAB celebration of World Book & Copyright Day benefits affiliates everywhere. The more publicity we can get the more influential the celebrations will be. In 2016 we will improve our coverage through the traditional media channels, especially the local media. The ideal situation is for local booksellers or their national associations to contact, with support from ILAB, the media within their own country. Targeting the media effectively requires detailed local knowledge of which media organization and which person within the media organization to contact and this is something ILAB is not in a position to know. Therefore we need your help. To help you in turn to contact the local press and to do more PR before the events, we will provide the organisers with press templates, advertising artwork, double sided bookmarks (in English and the organising languages), posters and, if possible, more PR material. Tell us what you will need. We will do what we can to help the local organisers. In addition, ILAB will coordinate the international press work, the virtual PR campaign via the ILAB website, the ILAB Pop Up Blog and the social media using adverts, articles, interviews, picture galleries and videos such as the one presented here at the Presidents’ Meeting.

Join us in 2016!

The first events are already booked: The Mexican Wave of Pop Up Fairs 2016 will start again at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney. In Munich ILAB booksellers will pop up at the Kaufmann’s Casino. Sunday Steinkircher is already looking for an exciting venue in New York. We very much hope that every national association will join their colleagues across the world in celebrating World Book & Copyright Day on April 23, 2016. Please, talk to your members now and get plans underway without delay. The sooner we know your plans the better we can promote the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs worldwide. We really want to help in whatever way we can. Join us, talk to us, and be a part of it!

>>> The ILAB Pop Up Blog:

Barbara van Benthem and Sally Burdon

Co-conveners ILAB World Book and Copyright Day Celebrations

Sally Burdon goes on to say:

What is the purpose of WBCD and what did it achieve?

The purpose of ILAB’s involvement was to promote rare books and most particularly the availability of rare books to the public throughout the world. As there are fewer and fewer open antiquarian bookshops in the world the opportunities for prospective new collectors or even “lapsed” collectors to handle and purchase books have become considerably fewer.

Additionally, while promoting rare books themselves, working together as a trade to promote money for literacy has helped a great deal with PR as well as the undoubted “feel good” feeling of doing something not absolutely directly for ourselves or our trade.

Promotion of booksellers and their books has never been more important

Anecdotally it is beginning to appear that the digital native generation are interested in books and other “real “ things. We need to be visible to engage them!

Librarians need to think of ILAB associates first  when spending their budgets – visibility through the media and involvement in literacy support helps with this.

The very poor publicity that has been generated by the criminal behaviour which has afflicted the trade in recent years,  has meant that it is vital our trade are active in a positive way.

We need to tell a different story. We need to tell the true full story. The story of booksellers across the world who are knowledgeable and generous. Booksellers who care for more than just their business. Booksellers for whom money is not the be all and end all. Booksellers who would like to share their enthusiasm for the preservation of our joint cultural heritage and would like to make books available to all. In a nutshell the raising of funds for literacy and the partnership with UNESCO is an important part of showing who the vast majority of ILAB associates really are.

Working together on a single project has proved to have the important side benefit of raising awareness of ILAB and the world community of booksellers within the ranks of our affiliates. More than one dealer who took part in a Pop Up this year has told us that the idea of working together across the world to raise money for literacy was a significant appeal to them and on this basis alone they would like to take part again. In fact it could be argued that the act of working together across the world is a 21st  century demonstration that the purpose for which ILAB was formed is still relevant, and vitally, is still of great importance to our affiliates. The taking relationships within the book trade back to what our forefathers in ILAB had in mind  will we believe only strengthen our trade.

Another unexpected side effect has been the trial of the idea of smaller pop up fairs across the world which is a model which might be used at other times by National Associations. These fairs are not designed to take the place of the larger traditional fairs, but rather, to be something quite different. These Pop Ups are an alternative giving dealers the opportunity to participate in cheap quick fairs. Fairs which need a great deal less infrastructure and might suit some places and/or affiliates better than the larger ones and we believe are being considered in some places now as an interesting alterative in cities where traditional fairs, for one reason or another are proving difficult to successfully organize.

Should we do it again?

She then gives the floor to Barbara.

Barbara goes on to thank all the booksellers who took part in this project; never before had she received as many photos. It was the most successful PR campaign ILAB has ever been involved in. It is an exceedingly powerful way of spreading the word about books and bookselling. For all of the reasons just mentioned above they believe that it is important to do it again. She then reads the following:

What do we propose for next year?

For the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs in 2016 we will intensify our PR efforts in various ways.

The ILAB Website, the ILAB Blog, the ILAB Newsletter, and the Social Media are the pillars on which ILABs PR campaign are built. Immediately after the Presidents’ Meeting we will appeal to all ILAB affiliates to take part in WBCD 2016. The campaign will start with the video we have presented today and continue with regular posts featuring the Pop Up organizers who are joining us,  the exciting Pop Up locations, the UNESCO / ILAB fundraising campaign, special accompanying events, patrons and popular supporters of ILABs WBCD celebrations. All Pop Up organizers, their concepts and their locations will be presented on the ILAB website and on the ILAB blog. All recent news will immediately be spread on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ using hashtags like #ILABWBCD, #ILABLiteracy, #ILABUNESCO, #ILABPopUp, #ILABFairs, #ILABRarebooks, #ILABFundraising.  ILAB Newsletters will be sent out regularly to keep customers and affiliates up to date. The nearer 23 April 2016 we come, we will intensify this virtual PR campaign with even more posts and news up to the great day.

ILAB Live Blog 2016:  As in 2015 the campaign will culminate in a 24 hours live blog to show the people everywhere in the world that, whereever they pop up, ILAB booksellers are part of a truly global event to promote rare books and literacy in a joint effort covering all continents.

500 Years of Cervantes and Shakespeare – The Shakespeare and Cervantes Virtual Book Case:  2016 will be a special year as April 23rd is the 500th anniversary of the deaths of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. Both authors are of significance to book people. They live on in the modern world through innumerable editions from the famous First Folio and the rare first “Quixote” to translations and adaptations in various languages to children’s books, pocket books, comics and film. In early January we will set up a Shakespeare and Cervantes Virtual Book Case on the ILAB Pop Up Blog. Anyone who is interested will be asked to send pictures of their favourite Shakespeare and Cervantes editions and to send us short statements what both poets mean to them. All this will be posted on the Blog and in the social media in the weeks leading up to 23 April 2016 when very likely many more Shakespeare and Cervantes editions will be on display at the ILAB Pop Up Fairs. This initiative will allow ILAB to launch the campaign very early in 2016 thus raising the tension and gaining as much media coverage and public attention as possible.

Targeted Advertising: At the same time we will start targeted advertising in book-related magazines.  Last time the numerous announcements in bookish blogs and magazines were extremely helpful. Richard Joseph of Sheppard’s Confidential has already promised to support our campaign with a series of articles as he did in 2015. 

Patronage: We are also working on the idea of finding well known figures across the world to act as patrons. The ILAB Pop Up Book Fair in Munich 2016, for example, will officially be opened by Klaus G. Saur, German book collector, author and publisher for decades. We are also thinking about involving the ILAB Patrons of Honour. Your input and ideas are very welcome.

Charity: “Fill the Book Case – Support Literacy” was the successful overall slogan for the ILAB Pop Up campaign in 2015, and it was the decisive door opener to attract a wider attention in the media. In 2016 we will again appeal to the people to fill the “Empty Book Cases”, this time not only in English, but with an appeal to donate in the languages of all organizing countries.

UNESCO Website and UNESCO World Map: All ILAB Pop Ups will again be included in the UNESCO website and the UNESCO World Map. As it is very likely that ILAB and UNESCO will become official partners, we hope for more PR from UNESCO in 2016. Michel Bouvier is in direct contact with UNESCO in Paris in order to get the contract signed.

Press releases: ILAB sends out press releases to the international press, while the Pop Up organizers address the local press. I have set up an Excel file with worldwide press contacts. For their local press work ILAB will provide the organizers with press templates.

Book Marks – Posters – Adverts:  To support the local press work, we will provide the organizers with advertising artwork, posters, and double sided bookmarks (in English and the organizing languages). 

Please let us know if you have any press contacts to add to our list, any special ideas or wishes which we could use to make the press releases as interesting as possible.

Tell us what you will need. We will do what we can to help the local organizers.

Promotion on the National Association and individual booksellers’ websites:  ILAB will coordinate the international press work and the virtual PR campaign, we will provide you with lots of attractive content, press releases, adverts, videos,  and other PR material. Help us to spread the news as wide as possible. Republish ILABs articles, post the Pop Up adverts on the websites of the national associations and the ILAB affiliates, include them in your newsletters, share it in the social media and put the posters onto the walls of your bookshops. Help us make the 2016 ILAB Pop Up celebrations really big!

We have already spoken with last year’s participants, and there will definitely be one in Munich, Denmark, Viena, New York, Madrid, Barcelona, and we hope anywhere else in the world.

Sally Burdon and Barbara van Benthem are again greatly applauded. Sally adds that Barbara has been amazing to work with.

Michel Bouvier says that he is doing the “boring” part with UNESCO, meaning that UNESCO has drafted a contract, but there were a few sentences that we did not agree with, and he was hoping that he would arrive at the meeting with the contract signed, but UNESCO are very slow, in spite of being nice people and having been impressed with our press release and articles. Perhaps we can also develop partnerships on other subjects with UNESCO as well. He wants to congratulate Sally and Barbara for the fresh air this project has brought.

Sally Burdon asks Eberhard Köstler to talk about the advantages of having organized the Munich Fair, which he does.

To conclude, Sally Burdon thanks all the booksellers and associations involved, with a special mention to the Dutch association. She goes on to say that she will need more funds to organize a better WRBD next year. These funds will be spent carefully. She also thanks President Donhofer for having had the initial idea. They have prepared a special photo book album for Norbert, and one for the ILAB archives. She then proceeds to pass them round to be shown.

Bob Fleck reminds that they had budgeted last year 6000 Euros for the event but that only 4500 Euros had been spent,  it is not even certain that they will spend all the 10000 Euros allotted in the budget.

President Donhofer asks if there are any questions or comments?

Frank Rutten replies says that the team’s enthusiasm was very contagious and the NVvA had to go all the way and  help them.


11. Internet

Barbara van Benthem has sent the following report:

Statistics: The ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs on UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day (WBCD) were promoted on the ILAB website, on the new ILAB blog, in the social media and through various press releases. The campaign started several months before 23 April 2015 and culminated in a live report over 24 hours presenting pictures, interviews and all information about what was happening worldwide on that day. The overall responses – press, social media, statistics – show very clearly the positive effects of such big campaigns. Normally, the ILAB website has up to 1200 visitors a day. On 22 April, there were 2234 visitors, on 23 April another 2212 visitors, plus an impressive number of over 2500 visitors on both days on the new ILAB Pop Up Blog (, and an amazing number of reactions in the social media. ILAB had seen this never before. A detailed overview with press links is posted on the ILAB website and on the blog.

Over 2 million people with over 7,5 million page views since 2010: Back to our normal numbers which have been remaining on a good constant level with 33.000 to 38.000 visitors and around 120.000 to 140.000 page views per month. The highest numbers ever were reached in February and April 2015 with 39,184 and 39,650 website visitors, a considerable increase to the 16,000 visitors per month we registered when we started with the statistics in the year 2010. Since then the ILAB website has so far attracted all in all over 2 million people with over 7,5 million page views, with an average session duration of 3:29 minutes and an average viewing of 3.75 pages per session. 35 % are new, 65 % are returning visitors, many of them are regular guests (“30 active day users”) who browse the ILAB website thoroughly. In short: people actually use the information, they get the message ILAB communicates.

Visitor Origin: Over 60 % are English speaking, followed by French, the other European languages and Japanese. Website visitors come from all continents, mainly from North America and Europe, but also from Australia, Japan, Russia, even India, Singapore and Korea. Around 60 % of all website traffic comes from Google and other search engines, the other 40 % are generated through direct traffic, referring websites and the social media. Most important are Facebook and Twitter, Vialibri and, Google News, the national association websites (ABA, SLAM, ALAI, VDA, ABAC, ABAJ, ABAA etc.), The Guardian (with 627 visits alone on World Book & Copyright Day),, the ILAB Newsletter, the ILAB Pop Up Blog, Fine Books Magazine, and, for the first time in 2015, UNESCO.

New Server: In May / June 2015 the statistics went down because of a malware attack. Neteor reacted very quickly, nevertheless, the site was blocked by Google for several days. In summer 2015 was offline again for some days due to server problems. As a consequence, Vincent Couchouron has set up a new server so that the ILAB website is perfectly up and running again. In the meantime Vincent Couchouron has restructured the company Neteor which now works under the name 1Genei. Also, the re-design and re-programming of the ILAB website has been nearly finished.

The Social Media responses have been increasing rapidly. ILAB’s Facebook group has over 2.100 members, ILAB’s Twitter account gathers over 3.013 followers (compared to: 261 Facebook members in 2010 and 1.200 in 2014; 218 Twitter followers in 2010 and 1,800 in 2014). The new ILAB Pop Up Blog, for the first time used to promote the ILAB Pop Up Fairs on World Book and Copyright Day, will be used in the future for similar campaigns and events such as the Pop Ups 2016 or the Budapest Congress 2016. It counted a total of 10,045 views in its first three months of existence. Besides, the ILAB Newsletter becomes increasingly known to collectors, colleagues and the press with now 3.356 subscribers.

Articles – interviews – catalogues: The ILAB website, updated every day, lays now even more focus on ILAB fairs, lectures, seminars, exhibitions and any other book-related events. It is filled with approximately 1500 articles and interviews, around 1.800 catalogues uploaded by ILAB dealers and lots of further information about ILAB, the national associations and its affiliates. Most attractive are, according to the statistics, the ILAB Metasearch followed by the catalogue page, the Calendar of Events and the ILAB Library. Very well received were Bettina Führer’s interview with Norbert Donhofer (“My highest priority is to build up confidence in the professional antiquarian book trade”), the interview with T. J. Kim about “Antiquarian Booksellers in the Republic of Korea”, an interview with J. & J. Lubrano Music Antiquarians, Norbert Donhofer’s article “Why ILAB” along with his speech at the London conference “The Written Heritage of Mankind in Peril”, and, of course, all articles and pictures about the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs on WBCD 2015.

Further plans: Here we see again, how very important campaigns like the Pop Up Fairs are: A website like generates a considerable number of traffic out of itself and most of all out of its ever improving content, another important factor, however, is networking: targeted advertising, worldwide campaigns like WBCD 2015, social media campaigns using hashtags like #ILABrarebooks, #ILABfairs, #ILABbooksellers, #ILABPopUps etc., the ILAB Blog and more video clips which we are, for example, going to use for WBCD 2016. All this generates more referring traffic, is good for Google, leads more people to, and most of all: it attracts attention to what ILAB and its affiliates represent – virtually and in reality. Some further plans to widen the ILAB network are for example: (1) promoting the  ILAB Metasearch in articles and the social media, (2) low-budget advertising in book-related blogs and magazines - I have been designing adverts which have already been very well received in the social media, (3) social media activities on Instagram, and (4) a series of interviews with women booksellers:

Women in the Trade: Worldwide, not more than 10 per cent of around 2000 ILAB affiliates are women. According to the ILAB directory, Austria and Denmark have 3 female antiquarian booksellers, there are 4 in the Netherlands, 6 in Belgium, 8 in Switzerland, 11 in Australia, 26 in Great Britain, 37 in France, 48 in the US.  Since 1947, ILAB has had 24 presidents, one of them being female. It’s time to portray some of our women booksellers like Susanne Schulz-Falster, Nina Musinsky, Barbara Grigor-Taylor, Brigitta Laube, Anne Lamort, Charlotte Du Rietz, Jeanette Ray, Kay Craddock or Sally Burdon on the ILAB website.

ILAB booksellers listed in the 2016 Collector’s Resource Guide Dictionary: And finally, another field where ILAB receives increasing interest and public awareness. Kimberly Draper of Fine Books & Collections has informed us that the listings in the new Collector’s Resource Guide Dictionary ( will not only include the ABAA and IOBA logos, but also the ILAB logo.  The logo will be placed next to the names of each ILAB affiliate. This is the first time that Fine Books & Collections offers this opportunity to ILAB booksellers:  good PR for ILAB and its affiliates.

Barbara van Benthem says that as the Presidents they have all received the report, she will only mention two things: the advertising next year and the promotion of the ILAB metasearch. She is also planning on doing articles and interviews on Women booksellers.

Umberto Pregliasco says that when Barbara introduced the idea at the Committee Meeting the day before, he had another idea: our job is getting old and obsolete and we need to do odd things, to PR and to interest young people. So, after listening to Barbara’s idea, he wondered why should we not develop a real event on women? Women booksellers and women in books. He contacted Brigitta Laube about engravings, women engravers, portraits of women by famous artists, he has himself a collection of books on women, any woman bookseller can add books to the list; starting on the 8th March (the international day of the woman) an exhibition of books and engravings by women and about women and with as many women booksellers as possible can be organized, interviews can be gathered, the memory of some great women booksellers of the past can be celebrated: Fiametta Olschki, Carla Mazzoli, Maria Bloch, Diana Parikian, Winnie Myers… If the Committee gives him the permission to organize something and present the project within a month. He will kindly ask Tom Goldwasser whether there would be a chance of moving the exhibition on 8th April to the Armory at the time of the Fair? Tom Goldwasser replies that it might be negotiable. Stuart Bennett adds that he found and used an illustration of what is supposed to be the first western bookseller selling used books, from the 13th Century, and the bookseller depicted is a woman.

President Donhofer asks the presidents to go back to their countries with this idea, talk to their committee, it is an excellent idea, it could attract the press, the Committee will send a reminder very soon.

No other questions are asked.


12. Education

A) Internships

This program runs more or less automatically, President Donhofer happily reports that another student from Moscow will shortly go to Between the Covers in the US. He also takes this opportunity to thank all the booksellers who have given internships. Relations have been built up, with special thanks to the ABA who gave a shared stand to the Russian association during the Olympia Book Fair, it is quite a support.

B) ILAB Sponsored Educational opportunities

Sally Burdon goes on to read the following report:

The ILAB Internship Programme, initiated in the year 2011, is an important step to further the training of young booksellers worldwide. Seven interns have so far worked with internationally renowned ILAB booksellers in Australia, United States, UK, Spain, Netherlands, Hungary, Germany and Austria. The following initiatives are meant to deepen ILAB’s efforts to support young booksellers to start their career, to become involved in the international trade and to gain as much knowledge and expertise as possible.

1- ILAB Young Bookseller Scholarship  for Promoting Excellence in Bookselling

2- International Home Based Mentoring Programme

ILAB Next Generation Scholarship/s for Promoting Excellence in Bookselling

Proposal: ILAB offers an annual scholarship to pay the fees of a young and promising talent in the rare book trade to attend one of the antiquarian book seminars held and supported worldwide by ILAB affiliates and ILAB’s member associations.


ILAB’s strength and that of each national association lies in the quality and ethics of its affiliate booksellers. Young dealers are the future of our trade. ILAB should enable these beginners to achieve as much knowledge and expertise as possible by helping them to attend one of the antiquarian book seminars held worldwide.

New Model of Learning the Trade Required: The old model of learning the trade, apprentice style, under the guiding hand of an older bookseller is now a privilege available to very few. It can be argued however that the need for the solid grounding that working up in the trade offered has never been greater. As an individual bookseller’s reach is now not uncommonly global so their influence, for good or not so good, is great. Under these ever changing circumstances education and training for young booksellers is imperative and antiquarian book seminars and rare book schools worldwide need ILAB’s support.

Good PR for ILAB: ILAB stands for excellence and expertise in the rare book trade. Promoting bookseller education is an important part of this. It is the long-term support of values that will gain ILAB the most respect.

Strengthen Relationships with the Associations and Affiliates:   The ILAB Next Generation Scholarship would strengthen the relationship between ILAB, the National Associations and the affiliates. It would provide those running book schools with support and recognition and it would motivate other national associations to think about establishing rare book schools in their countries as well.


ILAB pays the tuition fees of a young bookseller to attend one of the book schools recognized to be of merit by ILAB.


Written applications would be invited from any bookseller under 45 whether or not they are ILAB affiliates. Non-ILAB applicants would be required to submit a letter of support from an ILAB affiliate with their application.

The scholarship applications would be reviewed and a decision of the best applicant for the funds would be based on a variety of factors including demonstrated financial need and importantly those  most likely to play a leadership role within the bookselling community in the future or in some way give to the trade.

On return from the book school the successful applicant would be required to write or video a report for the ILAB website and to as far as possible spread the word of the value of this type of education within their national association.

Funds Required

Up to 1500 Euro would be an ideal figure to make available for a scholarship. This amount would pay for tuition and possibly offer an amount towards travel expenses. However a lower sum could equally be offered which would cover tuition only.  Please see current tuition fees for book schools below.

For example, the costs in 2015 of tuition at each of the following schools are:

Annual Antiquarian Book Seminar, held by the VDA  240 €

Australian and New Zealand  Rare Books School AU$800

Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar   US$1250

Institut d’histoire du livre 500 €

London Rare Book School £600

Rare Book School $1295

The Montefiascone Project £425

York Antiquarian Book Seminar  £425

Some Proposed Methods for Raising the Required Funds

ILAB does not have the money available to fund a scholarship,  we will therefore need to think creatively about how this money might be provided.

Listed below are some possible suggestions for raising this money.

(i) ILAB could call for donations from the bookselling community to raise money for the scholarship using a crowd funding model.

(ii) ILAB could invite a partnership for this scholarship from booksellers and collectors. A scholarship would be set up in the name of the person or business for example The Bruin-Jones ILAB Scholarship for Rare Book Sellers.  This fund could be run by ILAB alone or ILAB could set up together with a library who has the structure to administer this.

(iii) If an ILAB mentorship programme, see proposal below, were set up in which experienced booksellers would mentor newer booksellers in aspects of the trade. Those being mentored could be required to pay a relatively small fee of $400 or similar sum per annum which would fund the ILAB Next Generation Scholarship. For more details of this programme please read the attached document.

International Home Based Mentoring Programme

Aim: To offer support and mentoring to young or relatively inexperienced booksellers within the ILAB community as well as to those currently outside who would like to join the ILAB community by becoming a member of a National Association. 

Reaching across the globe in this way underlines the global nature of bookselling today.

The Mentors

Experienced booksellers with the requisite people skills would be sought from within the ranks of the ILAB affiliates. The mentors would be entirely voluntary. The aim would be to build a bank of mentors with differing skills, languages and personalities who would be matched with applicants. ILAB and the National Associations would work together to identify suitable mentors, as well as those wishing to be mentored.




Delivery of the mentoring would be in a manner best suited to the mentor and mentoree which could include Skype (or similar Internet communication facility); telephone or in person, depending on the geographical location and individual circumstances of those involved.


This would need to be investigated but an hour a month for a year might be a good starting point.

Good PR for ILAB

 This mentoring program would be unique in the rare book world, and it would be a real step forward in bringing education for antiquarian booksellers both into the public sphere and outside the rare book schools, thereby further underlining its importance. Together with the ILAB internships the ILAB mentoring program would provide another decisive step to welcome young booksellers in the ILAB community and to enable them to become one of the world’s leading experts. While the ILAB internships provide young booksellers with an excellent start and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn as much as they can within two months from an ILAB expert, the ILAB mentoring program would help them to do the next decisive step to become an independent book expert by setting up a company, a bookshop, of their own.

The mentoring program would be excellent PR for ILAB and would help to show ILAB is acting very positively to promote ethics and expertise among the ranks of its booksellers. ILAB would publicly announce the mentorships on the ILAB website. The ILAB website would prominently display the board of mentors (names, pictures, specialties), leading experts in their chosen fields, who would through this gain good publicity themselves.  Further each mentoring project, once under way, would be accompanied by an interview and a report.


The costs of setting up and running this programme lie largely in the mainly volunteer time spent both in the organisation of the programme and in its delivery.  We do not anticipate the requirement for any printing, stationary or equipment.

Funds Generated

The opportunity to be mentored would be made available for a relatively low fee (200 - 400 Euros for example) to make sure that the booksellers fortunate enough to be mentored would not only be able to afford it but would also value it. The funds raised from this mentorship programme would go directly to funding of the book school scholarships. If a surplus were generated it would be possible to offer more than one scholarship that year. If money was found for book school scholarships from another source we suggest that the mentoring be offered without charge.


We propose that this model be investigated to see if it is feasible. This investigation would include approaching possible mentors to see if enough booksellers would volunteer their time. If the ILAB Committee and Presidents agree mentoring has merit we suggest that the model is investigated with the possibility of launching the mentoring programme in mid to late 2016.

Barbara van Benthem and Sally Burdon

President Donhofer thanks Sally, he says we will not discuss this subject now, the presidents will receive shortly a report about it, and he encourages the president’s feedback after that.

Tom Congalton says briefly that he was for a while part of the Colorado Book Seminar, and that each year they had about 40/50 pupils, and these people have provided the newer generation of booksellers. So by bringing this idea to other nations, their membership might see a rise.



13. Congresses and Meetings

A) Budapest update

President Donhofer reads a text in Hungarian for Adam Bosze’s attention.

“Kedves Barátaim! Szeretettel meghivlak titeket a következö ILAB Konferenciara, amelynek Magyarorszag fövárosa, Budapest ad otthont. Remélem, a barátunk, Bösze Adam által összeaállitott program meggyöz benneteket, és elfogadjátok a meghivasomat. Köszönöm!”

Adam Bosze then goes on to present his programme on screen and ends with a video he has prepared. He adds that he would like to add two invitations for the congress including accommodation for two young booksellers from various associations.

He is applauded and thanked by the President who adds that it is a very attractive programme, that the committee had a meeting a few years ago in Budapest, and that it is an unbelievable city with a rich history, the treasures that will be shown are worth going there. The fees are modest and should attract many dealers.

B) Appeal for candidacies, 2017 and 2018

In the meantime, President Donhofer says that we have no invitations for the future, whether for congresses or presidents’ meeting.

Maria Girsel says that she spoke to her committee and will be happy to host a Presidents’ meeting in Copenhagen in 2017. She is thanked.

Michael Graves-Johnston says the ABA will think about it, he will speak to his council and treasurer.

NM reminds the assembly that ILAB voted in 2010 to give associations hosting Presidents’ Meeting  a sum of 6,000 Euros.


14. Internal Regulations

A) Officer allowances

To be replaced by reimbursement of expenses case by case

Bob Fleck explains that this is very simple: we used to give officers an annual allowance to help with their expenses. This is no longer necessary, the expenses will be reimbursed as necessary.

No comments or questions are asked.

Anne Lamort and Christian Hesse second the motion.


In favour: 21


B) Presidents of Honor

To pay a small fee when attending Presidents’ Meetings, just as accompanying persons. Only the two immediate past presidents of honour will attend committee meetings, except if specifically invited.

President Donhofer explains that this came up because of the number of presidents of honour who are now more numerous than committee members and this can cause high costs.


In favour: 21



15. Budget 2015-2016

The budget is shown in table V of the report. Bob Fleck reads:

Budget for 2016

The Budget for the upcoming year of July 1st, 2015 to June 30th, 2016 is shown in Table V. Our income is budgeted to drop from 164,451 Euros to 146,733 Euros. We will not be issuing a Directory this year (every two years) which decreases our income but this is partially offset by the increase in Book Fair Levy. Table VI shows the estimates of subscriptions and book fair levy. Book Fair Levy needs to studied by the Committee to make sure that all countries are collecting the Levy properly. Expenses are budgeted to increase over the 2015 levels as we are budgeted to have two meetings (Presidents and Committee) but this increase is partially offset as we won't have the expenses of a Directory. The Committee is recommending an increase in the Advertising and PR budget for the Book Day as requested by that committee. In summary we are budgeting a small loss for the year (3137 Euros).

Anne Lamort seconds the approval of the Treasurer’s Report and the Budget.

She then says that she heard during the reports by the national associations that the ABA had more members then SLAM, and how come does the SLAM pay more subscription dues than the ABA?

NM replies that the ABA is also counting the number of individuals within a same firm, not only the number of firms that are member. Michael Graves-Johnston agrees.

A question is asked about the budgeted increase in the book fair levy, it is explained that the Olympia Levy came in twice because it takes place at the end of May. The Treasurer is told that there won’t be a book fair in Japan next year, so the projected income needs to be taken out of the budget.


In favour: 21



16.  Ethics

A) Progress on Code of Conduct for Booksellers and Librarians

Further to the workshop organized by ILAB in Milan last March, an email was sent out on the Presidents List on 8th April 2015, encouraging the associations to follow the example set by the ABA in establishing a code of conduct in case of theft for both Booksellers and Librarians. The Committee would like to hear on the progress made in this regard by the national associations.

President Donhofer reads the above proposal.

Tom Goldwasser states that as he mentioned in his report, the ABAA is forming a joint task force with the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is a division of the American Library Association, to develop a policy on the subject.

In view of the absence of comments, other than the ABAA’s, President Donhofer says that the ABA has set the pace on the matter, but that it is obvious nobody has read the Directives the ABA has adopted, so we need to move to point B.

B) A Proposal from the ABA

The adoption of the principles by the national associations of the document of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association entitled: ‘Theft of Books and Manuscripts from Libraries: an Advisory Code of Conduct for Booksellers and Librarians’ as discussed at the Milan meeting of ILAB in March 2015. 

Stuart Bennett says the committee understands that the ABA made a formal proposal so that the presidents would vote whether to adopt the principles of the document. He asks the President of the ABA to give a summary of those principles to allow the presidents to vote.

Jörn Harbeck reports on what ANZAAB is doing. Their Committee has read the ABA guidelines, and their upcoming conference on security next year will allow them to develop specific guidelines for themselves.

Michael Graves-Johnston reads excerpts of the document.

Tom Goldwasser says we are asked to accept two principles: the right to the duty of owners to protect their property and the right of legitimate buyers to benefit from the sale.

President Donhofer remarks that only few presidents have read this document, so that a  discussion at this stage does not make much sense. Can we postpone the vote on this point but request that the presidents read it thoroughly this time?

Michael Graves-Jonston asks if there is a great deal to understand?

Bob Fleck asks him if he would agree to table the proposal until 30th October 2015. Jörn Harbeck seconds this motion.

The document will be sent again on the presidents’ email list on 15th October, discussed electronically, and voted on before 30th  October.

Vote on amended motion to table until 30th October

In favour: 18.

Against: VDA -

Abstention: VEBUKU



C) Proposal from SLAM

That the Code of Ethics, whenever the verb “should” is used, be rephrased with a verb showing an obligation, otherwise dealers can reply, when notified, that the Code is not compulsory.

Anne Lamort says she would like to be more precise: she was asking that the investment scheme clause be altered, not all the Code of Ethics… She believes that the present Code should be divided into two parts: one that concerns commercial practices and another concerning ethics. The SLAM is working on revising their Code in such a way.

President Donhofer asks her to table this proposal for next year’s meeting. She agrees, and therefore withdraws the proposal. In December, she will have the draft of the SLAM’s new Code ready and will share it with the Committee and Presidents.


D) Proposals from the Committee

D1. That a letter be drafted by the Committee, then translated into the language of each national association,  co-signed by both the ILAB President and the President of the national association, and sent snail mail to each affiliate: the text of this letter would notify the affiliates that provenance has to be properly determined whenever buying a book, even at auction, and that henceforth, the associations will take a much stricter attitude towards dealers who contravene the code of ethics or have not shown due diligence when acquiring books that turn out to have been stolen.

Norbert announces that the committee decided yesterday to withdraw this proposal because it does not want to complicate matters further. In fact, it is all about reminding booksellers to follow our Code, stick with the rules. He asks once more the Presidents to keep that in mind.

D2. That whenever possible, the associations add to their bylaws exclusion clauses for not abiding to the Code of Ethics.

Proposal withdrawn.


17. Other Business

Partnership programme (used to be Sponsorship programme)

Michel Bouvier explains that book fairs are a very important moment for the trade, and ILAB federates all the book fairs. He goes on about a short history of the SLAM’s Grand Palais book fair, and of the sponsoring bank for the first three years. We could find partners for all the fairs, the role of ILAB would be to find a partner who could be a bank, a champagne maker, a watch maker, etc. each country has its specialties. He has been trying with French firms and has found out that it is very difficult to find one willing to give money for our fairs, the fact that we can propose a global contract for all our fairs can be a convincing factor. This is why a leaflet was printed, it was given out during the Paris meeting, but he will distribute it again, along with a template letter showing what can be said to promote ILAB fairs. In his experience, one must not try to contact the president of a company, the man to convince is the man in charge of communication within a firm.

President Donhofer thanks Michel Bouvier and asks the presidents, should they have any result, to report back to Michel.


NM talks about the forthcoming directory advertising campaign. She will attend to that effect the Stuttgart, New York, Paris and London book fairs.

There is no further business for the Ordinary General Meeting, it is closed at 4:15 pm and the Extraordinary General Meeting is declared open.





1. Establishment of Quorum

The quorum is two-thirds of 21, i.e. 14


2. Proposal from the ABA

First paragraph of Article 8 of the Bylaws now reads:

The national associations are independent in their own internal affairs. In matters of law, those of each country take precedence over the League. However, 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.

The ABA proposes to change it to:

The national associations are independent in their own internal affairs.  In matters of law, those of each country take precedence over the League.  However in matters of both principle and practice involving the ethics of the book trade, the rules of the League must be adhered to by all ILAB booksellers.

The ILAB Committee can submit a formal request to any National Association to review the membership status of any affiliated bookseller who appears to have contravened those rules; the Committee may then issue a note of censure to that National Association if the matter is not subsequently settled to the Committee's satisfaction.

President Donhofer reads the proposal above, and asks for a seconder.

Tom Goldwasser seconds the proposal.


President Donhofer asks if the President of the ABA wants to add anything; Michael Graves-Johnston replies that it’s an innocent enough proposal and cannot see what anyone could say against it.

Tom Goldwasser asks s it necessary to keep “in matters of both principle and practice involving the ethics of the book trade”?

Anne Lamort says that she has not quite understood: is the ABA suggesting that ILAB would be in a better position than the National Associations to enforce the Code? She stresses that the Association should know better, as it is the association that takes on new members, knows their files, not mentioning the specificities of national laws. The ILAB code of ethics should be the smallest common denominator between countries, not the greatest.

Frank Rutten adds that as he said earlier, the spirit of the motion is perfect but it would create a new ILAB structure. The NVvA encourages more active attitudes but the consequence of this motion is making the affiliate an ILAB member and he disagrees.

Maria Girsel agrees, this is why it is the associations that are the ILAB members and not the dealers, it does not make sense.

Michael Graves-Johnston says that as the ILAB committee is the servant of the national presidents, therefore it is the presidents who will instruct the ILAB committee to make a formal request to any national association.

Arnoud Gerits says that if Michael means that the committee can only be instructed by the presidents, then the wording of the motion must be different. What is the purpose of this motion as it is? If a national association refuses to look into the matter or to expel a member, what then?

Peter Bichsel says that the envelopes handed out this morning might be a way the committee could act. He is not sure about the note of censure.

Jörn Harbeck says he has looked up what a note of censure is. It means that the association would have to act on it. The proposal does not actually reflect that. Potentially, ILAB could then reject one of the associations or can instruct an association who would be obliged to follow. That changes the structure of the League

President Donhofer says that the committee just wants to point out its own position, to stay neutral in this question but reminding the presidents that they would part with some of their own authority and rights if this proposal goes through. The Committee sees this more as a moral tool. He is asked to read the proposal once again, and the vote is proceeded with.


In favour: 3


Abstention: AILA



Norbert concludes wit a speech in Spanish addressed to our host, AILA, in the person of Gonzalo F. Pontes:

“Apreciados Señoras y Señores presidentes, presidentes de honor, asociados de honor, estimados amigos del AILA y especialmente estimado y apreciado Gonzalo, os doy las gracias en el nombre de mi comité por vuestra participación en este Presidents’ Meeting en Sevilla y sobre todo por vuestras numerosas e importantes aportaciones durante nuestras discusiones que han demostrado que ILAB es una organización internacional, viva, y moderna.

A ti, muy estimado Gonzalo, doy las gracias en el nombre de todos los participantes por la organización de esta reunión en esta ciudad incomparable. Gracias!”

He thanks all the presidents and assembled persons for their presence, thanks his committee for the hard team work of the past 18 months.

The meeting closes at 4:35 pm.

Keith Fletcher adds that he wants to congratulate the presidents assembled here for having elected such a president of ILAB who has done such a fantastic job. A round of applause is given.





Result of the Electronic vote of the ABA Proposal


Votes (see the attached PDF for results)






14 yes

8 no









Theft of Books and Manuscripts from Libraries: an advisory code of conduct for booksellers and librarians


Theft of Books and Manuscripts from Libraries: An Advisory Code of Conduct for Booksellers and Librarians

This Code has been developed by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) to provide their respective members (and others) with guidelines on the issues which arise when library or ex-library books and manuscripts appear in the trade, either as a result of legitimate sale or theft.

1  Introduction

This code is based upon two principles:

owners have a responsibility to take all reasonable measures to protect their property purchasers have a right to benefit from the sale of property legitimately acquired.

In developing the Code, the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) have taken account of a number of relevant publications, listed in Appendix B.

It is hoped that both Associations will accept it as an appropriate Code of Practice, and, in particular, that librarians will draw it to the attention of their governing bodies or committees.

ABA and CILIP believe that this Code, developed by mutual agreement, will be beneficial to all parties.

2  Security in Libraries

2.1 Libraries have a responsibility to maintain secure areas for the storage and use of rare books, manuscripts and other special materials. It should be normal practice to:

store such materials so that they are not directly accessible to the public, whether readers or visitors ensure that such materials are read under supervision in a place provided for the purpose control the issue and return of such materials to and from individuals ensure that adequate security measures are taken if such materials are loaned to other institutions ensure that secure routines are developed and enforced when such materials are removed from their normal location for such purposes as conservation, binding or photography devise procedures that will minimise the opportunities of theft by library staff or others contracted to provide services to the library

2.2 Libraries have a responsibility to make unique and (if possible) indelible marks of ownership (eg: blind-stamping or selective page marking) on rare books, manuscripts and other special materials whenever this is possible and is consistent with their proper care and conservation.

2.3 Libraries have a responsibility to ensure that their property is adequately insured against theft, where appropriate and practicable.

2.4 Libraries have a responsibility to catalogue, calendar, or otherwise record their rare books, manuscripts and other special materials. Such records should whenever possible, include copy specific information which may assist in the identification of a particular copy of a printed book, and, in some cases photographic evidence.

2.5 Libraries need to be aware of new means of buying and selling books across the internet including services such as eBay.


3  Disposal of materials by libraries

3.1 Libraries may, from time to time, dispose of books, manuscripts and other materials by way of trade or otherwise.

3.2 When disposing of books libraries should indelibly cancel their identifying marks of ownership.

3.3 Libraries should maintain a proper record of the disposal, including the first destination of the item, and sufficient information to enable subsequent identification of a particular copy of a printed book.

3.4 Libraries should take account of any national guidelines which may be developed on the disposal of materials.


4  Acquisition of ex-library materials by booksellers

4.1 Booksellers have a responsibility to satisfy themselves that books offered to them for purchase are the legitimate property of the seller. The seller should provide documentary evidence of an item’s provenance before any sale.

4.2 Booksellers have a responsibility when buying a book with one or more library marks of ownership, to satisfy themselves that the offer of sale is made by an authorised person.

4.3 Booksellers who have concerns about the legitimacy of the proposed sale should consult the register of stolen books (see below, para. 5.3), and, if necessary, contact the library whose property they are, apparently, being offered.


5  Reporting of theft

5.1 It is essential that both librarians and booksellers report thefts of books as soon as such thefts are discovered.

5.2 Thefts should always be immediately and fully reported to the governing body of the library, the Police, and to any insurance company which may be involved.

5.3 Thefts should also be reported to:

the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA - phone: 020 7421 4681; The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) maintains an online list of stolen books, which members of all the affiliated national associations consult if they are suspicious about books offered to them. Both the ABA and the ILAB also issue immediate alerts to their members of books known to have been stolen. In general, all books valued at more than about £100 should be reported to the ABA, which will both alert its own members and forward details on to the ILAB for worldwide dissemination; the Art Loss Register (Phone: 020 7841 5780; Fax: 020 7841 5781; for items valued at £300 or more. Many insurers insist on a report to the ALR as a condition of cover for such items

5.4 When thefts are reported, sufficient information (including photographs where available) should always be provided to ensure accurate identificationof the property if and when it is recovered. Basic bibliographical details and the date of the discovery of the loss are essential.

5.5 It is emphasised that the reporting of theft is important even if the theft is not discovered for some time after it appears to have taken place. Books may appear in the trade many years after they are stolen.

6  Recovery of stolen goods

6.1 The legal position, in English law, is discussed in Appendix A.

6.2 Within the trade, there is a recommendation that when a bookseller purchases, in good faith, a book stolen from another bookseller, the books should normally be returned with each party bearing 50 percent of the costs. This informal agreement may, in some circumstances, be overridden by the requirements of the law. When a librarian discovers that a bookseller has purchased, in good faith, a book stolen from the library, the library may wish to consider a similar arrangement, subject to negotiation and agreement.

6.3 When a book has been purchased in good faith by a bookseller in the United Kingdom, having been stolen from a library in the United Kingdom, and the bookseller and the library are unable to reach an agreement on its return, they may, by common consent, submit to binding arbitration by a Panel established for the purpose by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association and CILIP’s Rare Books and Special Collections Group. This Panel will normally consist of two nominees of each body, who will elect a Chair from among their own number at each meeting.

© CILIP. This document may be copied in whole or in part without the prior permission being sought from the copyright holder, provided due acknowledgement is given. Registered Charity Number 313014


The following summary of the position in English law is offered without prejudice. Parties should always take professional advice on legal issues.

An item remains the property of its original owner unless:

the owner sells that title in a legitimate contract of sale. Under English law, anyone purchasing a stolen item while under the impression that they are buying the legal title, will not aquire a clear legal title unless the vendor can prove they hold the legal title. Purchasers should always require proof of title. the owner abandons it. This requires an unequivocal statement of their intention to abandon it. Neither negligence in storage, nor the length of time since the theft are sufficient to amount to abandonment. Misleading statements from members of library staff do not affect this position, although they may affect the library's case in civil law to sue for return of the book rather than for damages. the item is purchased from a legitimate dealer, in good faith, in a country where English law does not apply

Possession of stolen items

Criminal law
Liability for handing stolen goods under the criminal law requires the knowledge or recklessness as to whether the goods are stolen. Recklessness may include not making sufficient enquiry if goods are offered in suspicious circumstances.

Civil law
Anyone buying or selling property without the permission of the original legal owner is liable to the original owner for the tort (civil wrong) of 'conversion'. This is a tort of strict liability ie. the knowledge or belief of the purchaser is irrelevant. Purchasers, including those who purchase in good faith from a legitimate dealer, may be sued in English law at the County Court for damages by the original owner, even if they have sold the property to someone else. The County Court may also issue an order requiring disclosure or records to trace the present owner of the property. Purchasers are advised not to buy unless the seller is available to be sued in turn for any loss the purchaser suffers from being sued by an original owner.


A current list of relevant websites and publications is maintained by the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL). Select and follow the links for ‘Collaboration’, then ‘CERL Security Working Group’.






Email received from the Italian Association on October 31st 2015:

Messieurs les Présidents, associés LILA

En réponse à une série de communications circulé ces derniers temps, et à certains articles de journaux avec des titres alarmants, le Conseil de l'ALAI tiens à rassurer les collègues et les collectionneurs qui en Italie il n'y a aucune volonté politique visant à empêcher les exportations de livres anciens.

Du 20 Octobre, après une période de vide juridique où il n'a pas été possible d'obtenir des licences d'exportation, le Ministère de la Culture a confié la tâche de délivrer des permis aux Soprintendenze Belle Arti à travers le pays, qui ont immédiatement montré une volonté de lancer des processus.

Ce sont des procédures qui doivent encore être rodées, mais en dépit de la crainte d'attendre plus longtemps que la normale, nous attendons à une normalisation rapide de la situation. Pendant ce temps l'ALAI continue à maintenir des contacts institutionnels presque quotidiennement, dans lesquels cherche de dialoguer sur les moyens d'établir des paramètres plus réalistes pour le commerce de livres anciens.

Le président et le conseil de l’ALAI tient à remercier ses collègues et associés LILA pour l'attention et la compréhension fournies dans ce moment délicat, et renouveler l'invitation à participer, ou venir nous rendre visite lors de la prochaine exposition à Milan, Libri Antichi e di Pregio a Milano”, 11- 13 Mars, 2016,  pour laquelle ils travaillent avec le plus grand engagement.


Dear Presidents, ILAB members,

In response to a series of communications circulated in recent times, with some alarming newspaper headlines, the Board of ALAI want to reassure colleagues and collectors that in Italy there is no political will to prevent exports of antiquarian books.

Since October 20, after a period of legal vacuum where it was not possible to obtain export licenses, the Ministry of Culture has assigned the task of issuing permits to the Soprintendenze Belle Arti scattered throughout the territory, who have immediately shown a willingness to initiate processes.

these are procedures that have yet to be finalized but, despite the fear of waiting longer than normal, we look forward to arapid normalization of the situation. Meanwhile the ALAI continues to entertain institutional contacts almost daily in which seeks to dialogue on methods to establish more realistic parameters for the trade of ancient books.

The President and the Board would like to thank colleagues and associates ILAB for attention and comprehension provided in this delicate moment and renew the invitation to participate, or come and visit us at the next bookfair in Milan, “Libri Antichi e di Pregio a Milano” , March, 11- 13, 2016, for which we are working with maximum effort.


Cari Presidenti, associati, 

In risposta a una serie di comunicazioni circolate in questi ultimi tempi, a ad alcuni titoli dai toni allarmanti, il Consiglio direttivo dell’ALAI vuole rassicurare i colleghi e i collezionisti che in Italia non esiste alcuna volontà politica di impedire le esportazioni dei libri.

Dal 20 ottobre scorso, dopo un periodo di vuoto giuridico in cui non è stato possibile ottenere le licenze di esportazione, il Ministero dei Beni Culturali ha affidato il compito di emettere i permessi alle Soprintendenze Belle Arti sparse sul territorio, che si sono subito dimostrate disponibili ad avviare le pratiche. Si tratta di procedure che devono ancora essere rodate ma, nonostante il timore che si prospettino attese più lunghe del normale, confidiamo in una rapida normalizzazione di questa situazione.

Nel frattempo l’ALAI continua a intrattenere contatti istituzionali pressoché quotidiani nei quali cerca di dialogare sui metodi per stabilire parametri più realistici per il commercio dei libri antichi.

Il Presidente e il consiglio direttivo ringraziano i colleghi associati e l’ILAB per l’attenzione e la comprensione fornita in questo momento delicato e rinnovano l’invito a partecipare, o venirci a visitare, alla prossima mostra di Milano,” Libri Antichi e di Pregio a Milano”, 11- 13 marzo, 2016, per l’organizzazione della quale stanno lavorando con il massimo impegno.   


Marco Cicolini (Presidente A.L.A.I.) along with the Alai board - Le Conseil ALAI





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