Sometimes I think that the bookshop has; become a spectator sport for tourists in Edinburgh. Some visitors behave as if the shop is a museum. "Isn't it wonderful?" they say, "I could spend all day in here", and then promptly walk out. They like the look of the shop, but it would never occur to them to buy a book. Nowadays people turn to computers in the way that they would have turned to books for a lot of their needs. Quite apart from their effect on our trade, I believe that computers are actually changing the way in which people think. Everything is highly focused toward a specific goal, instead of reading around a subject and taking a more wide-ranging approach. We have to keep trying to get young people to look at books and aspire to own them. This is a role for book fairs and shops - just being there on the high street helps to remind people that books can be bought, and that we are not libraries or museums.
From the 25th of October until the 11th of November, I visited the antiquarian booksellers in the capitals of the Southern South American countries of Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. The first book published in the Americas was published in Mexico in the 16th century and thus Latin America has had a rich and long history of printing and publishing and therefore is an important part of the global history and culture of the book.
The stock market appeals to the gambler in me. The first thing I do in the morning is switch on my computer and check stock prices. Unlike the price of rare books, they change every day. My earnings as a book dealer have always been either supplemented, or often superseded by, my earnings from the stock market. I can see a time when the book trade will be reduced to a handful of big businesses in London. There are not enough books to go round, and the present hierarchy of dealers operating at different levels will ultimately disappear. The internet has made the business a level playing field.
Mark Twain was the first author to submit a typed manuscript in 1883. Since then authors have been devoted to their typewriters. For many of them it was a kind of love affair, a private room within the private house, or a refuge on travels in the anonymous settings of a hotel room. With notebook and iPad, this era comes to an end. The Guardian looks back on some of the iconic images of writer and their keyboards. A brilliant picture story featuring Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Francoise Sagan, William Faulkner, Brendan Behan, Agatha Christie.
At the end of September booksellers from all over the world met in Switzerland to hold their bi-annual conference and international antiquarian book fair. More than 70 affiliates attended the 40th Congress in the history of the League in Lucerne which was excellently organized by the Swiss Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (VEBUKU) and its current president Alain Moirandat. From 22nd to 26th September 2012 the ILAB affiliates became acquainted with Swiss culture, history and folklore. They visited magnificent libraries, museums and collections like the Rosengart Museum and the Werner Oechslin Library. They held a conference on a ship on Lake Lucerne, climbed mountains (by cogwheel train), improved their crossbow shooting skills in a cave behind waterfalls and showed their dancing talents at the farewell dinner in the Hotel Montana. Afterwards, 64 ILAB dealers from Europe and abroad presented beautiful books, manuscripts, prints, maps, autographs and first editions at the 24th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair in Zurich. Dieter Tausch, President of the Austrian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (VAO) was among the participants. His report makes definitely clear: All who did not attend the Congress and the Fair missed a great opportunity!
One of my most favorite Children's writers of all time was born on the 27th of January, 1832. Scratch that – one of my most favorite writers, period, was born on the 27th of January, 1832. Many critics of great literature have commented on the fact that one of the most lasting kinds of literature is the kind that speaks to both children AND adults – writers whose works you can read when you are both 5 and 75 and learn something equally important at both of these starkly different ages. It is my super humble (though really awesome) opinion that the writer we honor today, on what would be his 184th birthday, is one of those writers. It is perhaps also appropriate that we honor his memory, as in less than a month there will be an ABAA Fair in Pasadena named after some of his most well-known work.