New to ILAB! Speaking to Czech bookseller Daniel Morgan
The association was founded shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain and became affiliated to ILAB on the occasion of the 32nd ILAB Congress in Amsterdam in 1994. Since 1999, five national book fairs were held.
The association came back into the spotlight in November 2018, when online platform AbeBooks announced that it would no longer be possible to support sellers from countries such as the Czech Republic. A huge international campaign, organised by fellow booksellers across the world, reached the press and eventually resulted in reinstating booksellers’ accounts on AbeBooks who could then continue to sell their books online to an international clientele.
We recently met with new member, Daniel Morgan, expressing his gratitude to be a member of ILAB:
1. Mr Morgan, you were recently admitted to the Czech Antiquarian Booksellers Association Svaz Antikváru and are now also affiliated to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. What does this mean to your business?
ILAB affiliation means that I'll be able to take part in a number of antiquarian fairs that were previously inaccessible. I also hope it will expand my network of contacts and help me develop as a bookseller.
2. What do you specialize in?
Mainly rare Czech books of the First Republic and samizdat of the 1970s and 80s, though I'm always dabbling in other areas.
3. Fairs, catalogues, the internet or open shops - what is your focus?
Up till now I've been mainly sending out advanced offers to other dealers on my mailing list. I'd like to try a fair or two and see how that goes.
4. You are based in Prague, a city many of our readers and booksellers will want to visit at some point or have done in the past. Would you share a special place in Prague a booklover should not miss?
The book tower sculpture in the foyer of Prague's Municipal Library. If you lean in and look down, the illusion is of a booklover's leap down an infinite funnel of books.
The Czech Republic has a buoyant book culture. Internationally known authors and typographers represent the country and its proud intellectual heritage.
Book history goes back to the 9th century when first MSS were brought by missionaries promulgating the Church’s Latin rite.
During the Soviet occupation from 1945 – 1989, the second hand and antiquarian book market played a comparable role as in other Eastern European countries. Book production, publishing and distribution was centralized and came along with strong censorship. With the demise of communism, the market transformed and previously inaccessible literature was now published in Czech language. The first president after the fall of the Soviet regime, Vaclav Havel, was a highly respected, internationally translated author and playwright.
The historic city of Prague is a haven for booklovers. Antiquarian bookshops can be found (see link to all ILAB booksellers here) across the city or why not visit the famous Strahov Library in the Strahov Monastry, founded in 1140 with its collection of over 200,000 volumes, including over 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 first prints stored in a special depository.
To contact the Czech booksellers association, please follow this link.