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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Collecting

David A. Williamson II

Published on 10 Sept. 2014
Part two of our interview with David A. Williamson, one of the largest Stephen King collectors in the world. In 2009, he bought Betts Books and one of his greatest joys is helping other King collectors find that “special” collectible for their own collections. He lives in Fairfield, CT, is married and has three children.
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Collecting

David A. Williamson

Published on 10 Sept. 2014
David A. Williamson began collecting Stephen King novels and memorabilia in the 1980s and has amassed a collection that ranks as one of the largest in the world. In 2009, he bought Betts Books and one of his greatest joys is helping other King collectors find that “special” collectible for their own collections. He lives in Fairfield, CT, is married and has three children. He has generously shared his collecting experience and expertise with Books Tell You Why in the following interview.
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Sheila Markham's Conversations

Born (Again) in the USA

Published on 13 Jan. 2011
"The challenge for the book trade is to introduce young people to rare books and foster an appreciation of the importance of books as cultural artefacts. We can show them what a difference they can make to the world by what they choose to collect and treasure, to write about and share with friends. Chris and I are thinking of publishing our next ventures as apps for the iPad. If we continue to embrace technology, the future for the rare book trade is unlimited. Terry Belanger once pointed out that the less utilitarian horses became, the more highly they were valued and treasured. I'm betting the same is true of books and I hope to be selling them for many years to come." Sheila Markham in conversation with John Windle
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Sheila Markham's Conversations

John Windle

Published on 13 Jan. 2011
The idea that I wanted to surround myself with books seemed ridiculous to my adopted parents. They wanted me, an unwanted war baby with an unknown American father, to go into the Army, be a good soldier, kill some people and make a man of myself.
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Sheila Markham's Conversations

Speculating on the Book Trade - Rare Books as Investments?

Published on 02 Aug. 2010
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.
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Sheila Markham's Conversations

Between a Rock Cake and a Stone Wall – Rare Books and Manuscripts in Devon

Published on 28 July 2010
After I had been in Cornwall for about a year, I rang a colleague who said that he thought I was dead. Obviously I would have to improve my visibility; and so, in addition to exhibiting at book fairs, I make a point of coming to London regularly. Liskeard has a railway station, and it takes three and a half hours to Paddington. I receive about a dozen visitors a year, who come down because my books are not on the internet and you never know what you might find. I am like a magpie in my buying instincts. I like my books to have something unique about them. Although they are probably not talking about it, many dealers are taking this approach.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

BUDAPEST SCHOLARSHIP FOR YOUNG ANTIQUARIANS - AND THE WINNERS ARE ...

The Hungarian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association has the honour and pleasure to announce the three winners of the YOUNG ANTIQUARIAN SCHOLARSHIP. The winners will participate in the 42nd ILAB Congress in Budapest, 21-23 September, 2016. Congress fees and accommodation of the scholarship winners will be funded entirely by the Hungarian association, but as all young antiquarians are very welcome to the event, the Hungarian association has offered to provide all other scholarship applicants with a 50% discount on their registration fee.
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Article

Thanks, Bruce McKinney!

Every once in a while we encounter events that we know will be benchmarks in our careers as antiquarian book dealers. The first shop, with its smell of fresh cut pine shelving, the first big buy, the first book fair, the biggest book fair, the biggest buy, the luckiest find, the first whale (dealer slang for a big buyer) … all these things will be chapter titles in the book of our days in the trade, written out as memoirs, or only recollected as memories. To their number must be added appraisals (for those of us who engage in such shenanigans) – the first one, the biggest one, the one that was challenged by heirs or IRS. The best one. I spent last week on a new chapter in my book of memories. It will filed in my memory bank as "Appraisals, Best."
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Short Story and The Private Library (Part I)

Given the tremendous demands on one's time in modern industrialized societies, we have always thought it interesting that more book collectors do not have a number of collections of short stories on their bookshelves. This literary form, born of oral storytelling traditions, is less complex, with fewer characters and plot devices, and appears far better suited to the pace of modern life, than its wordier cousins, novels and novellas. Short stories are just the right length for consumption during a subway ride, or a break during a hectic day, or the hour before dawn when one's household (hopefully) is still abed.
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Booksellers

Barbara Grigor-Taylor

“The only difficulty I've ever had in my life is keeping up with myself.” Barbara Grigor-Taylor is a trans-oceanic sailor, mountaineer and travel bookseller of inter Continental experience. She is no armchair traveller, and little has fallen into her lap. It has been a hard but exhilarating career with some daunting ups and downs which Barbara has negotiated with the agility of a mountaineer. “If someone puts a brick wall in front of me, I'll go over it.”
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Article

Dealers slam proposed new licence regulations

From The Art Newspaper, June Issue 2018: Revising import controls on cultural goods could impact negatively on trade, dealer organisations say
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Article

Booksellers in the Press - London's Heywood Hill in Vanity Fair

London bookdealers Heywood Hill recently celebrated their 80th anniversary, now run by Nicky Dunne, son in law of Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish, who inherited the business along with the dukedom and the Derbyshire estate on his father's death, in 2004."In an age of mega-stores and Kindle and Amazon, a bookshop in the chandeliered sitting room of a town house—with no sales or discounts—looks like a suicidal business model, and all the more so when the shop doesn't deign to stock many blockbusters. You're more likely to find a collection of African short stories than 'Fifty Shades of Grey', or a secondhand memoir by a forgotten English traveler from the 1930s than the best-selling adult coloring book 'The Enchanted Forest'."
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