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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Booksellers

Cataloguing Rare Books – Sh*t Explosion

Published on 06 Nov. 2013
Still too gimpy to drive across the state, so I was skipping the Albany Book Fair that weekend. But Dan Gaeta, who was doing the show, called to tell me about an interesting item he'd found. It's nice to have friends! (Dan operates John Bale Book Co., a café and book shop in Waterbury, CT. Talk about a simple but effective website, check ou t John Bale Books) Anyway, since I've been home all week, grumpily compiling my next catalog, and since I don't have a book fair to report on, I thought I'd talk a little about my catalogs.
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Booksellers

Selling and Collecting Books – Nigel Beale in Conversation with Antiquarian Book Dealer William Reese

Published on 23 Oct. 2013
"Perhaps America's most important booksellers. He won't say it, but I will", Michael Ginsberg says about William Reese. With a catalogued inventory of over 40.000 items, and a general inventory of over 65.000 William Reese Company is among the leading specialists in the fields of Americana and world travel, and maintains a large and eclectic inventory of literary first editions and antiquarian books of the 18th through 21st centuries. The firm was established in 1975 by William Reese who issues frequent catalogues in his fields of interest, publishes works related to Americana bibliography and is author of many articles on book collecting and the rare book trade. Moreover he has been active with the Yale University Library for many years, funding a number of fellowships in the Beinecke Library, and being a member of the committee to raise funds for the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library. William Reese gave Yale major collections of 20th century writers such as Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon. Listen to Nigel Beale's audio interview with William Reese about book selling, book collecting, and cutting old pies in new ways.
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Booksellers

The Rare Book Trade - Fresh Carpets

Published on 22 Oct. 2013
Recently, on the Internet discussion lists of the two biggest bookselling trade groups - IOBA and ABAA - I've been reading disheartening reports. Sales are down. Postage is up. And the big listing sites like AMAZON, ABE and Alibris are raising fees, reducing service and enforcing increasingly byzantine procedures aimed at making it easier and more profitable for them rather than the book dealers who patronize them. Sounds like the way gun nuts talk about their Second Amendment rights. Python coils, and all that. Louis Collins, however, is doing just fine.
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Booksellers

PRPH Books – A New Bookshop and Gallery in New York City

Published on 14 Oct. 2013
Two internationally renowned antiquarian booksellers join forces to start a grand new enterprise in New York City. On 23rd October, 2013, PRPH Books, established by Umberto Pregliasco and Filippo Rotundo, will be officially opened in New York's Upper East Side with a vernissage and an inaugural address by Umberto Eco and Arturo Pregliasco.
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Booksellers

Book Scouting - Adventures in Kentucky

Published on 19 Sept. 2013
It all started because my wife Millie wanted to visit her old homestead in Flat Lick, Kentucky, a tiny community founded before 1784 in the southeastern part of the state. She hadn't been back for many years, so how could I refuse the request? However, being a true bookman, I immediately started thinking about how I could combine book adventures with family visiting.
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Booksellers

The Pope’s Bookbinder – David Mason’s Brilliant Memoirs of an Antiquarian Bookseller

Published on 10 May 2013
Over the course of what is now a legendary international career, Mason shows unerring instincts for the logic of the trade. He makes good money from Canadian editions, both legitimate and pirated (turns out Canadian piracies so incensed Mark Twain that he moved to Montreal for six months to gain copyright protection). He outfoxes the cousins of L.M. Montgomery at auction and blackmails the head of the Royal Ontario Museum. He excoriates the bureaucratic pettiness that obstructs public acquisitions, he trumpets the ingenuity of collectors and scouts, and in archives around the world he appraises history in its unsifted and most moving forms. And above all: David Mason boldly campaigns for what he feels is the moral duty of the antiquarian trade: to preserve the history and traditions of all nations, and to assert without compromise that such histories have value.
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Booksellers

ABA Members on Postage Stamps (No. 1 in a very short series)

Published on 16 April 2013
"Peter J. Kroger, of Ruislip, was not an ABA member for very long: the minutes of the General Committee say no more than '(October 1960) (Removed from membership April 1961)'. He and his wife Helen ran a modest catalogue business from their bungalow, 45 Cranley Drive, between 1954 and 7 January 1961, when a visit from Superintendent George `Moonraker' Smith, of Scotland Yard, put an abrupt end to their bookselling - and other - activities." The spy who loved books - An amazing story told by Angus O'Neill as "no. 1 in a very short series".
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Booksellers

Rare Booksellers in the Press - A Tribute to Madhava Rao, One of those Antiquarian Booksellers Who Preferred no Publicity

Published on 12 April 2013
Bangalore's most famous antiquarian bookseller, Madhava Rao, died on March 3, 2013, at the age of 78. Throughout his life, he preferred to have NO publicity, although he ran one of the most beautiful – and typical – rare book stores worldwide. Now Pradeep Sebastian has portrayed this amazing bookseller, his shop, and his legacy in The Hindu.
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Booksellers

Peter Murray Hill

Published on 26 Feb. 2013
Peter Auriol Murray Hill, who served as ABA president in 1956-1957, was born on 20th April 1908 at Bushey in Hertfordshire, the son of George Murray Hill, a solicitor, and his second wife Ida Stogdon, who had married in 1907 ... His introduction to the presidency of the ABA was overshadowed by the furore surrounding the auction-ring which had carved up the Lowther Castle library in late 1955. The ABA was attacked in the House of Commons (see the comment and link below from Adrian Seville) and publicly humiliated in the press. The Times led off with a Saturday leader headed "This Shabby Business" and, following a reply from the ABA, followed up with "Only a Little Crooked". The second leader began, "For a body concerned with the written word the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association is singularly inept in its public statements".
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Golden Cockerel Private Press

Ninety years ago in Great Britain a private press was started that the world had never seen before. The name - Golden Cockerel and the books were 'British Hand-Made Limited Editions'.
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Article

In the Media - ATG UK: Proposed EU cultural goods bill ‘unworkable’ say trade bodies

Article in Antiques Trade Gazette (UK), 17th April 2018:
Book dealers seek change to 250-years-old clause in proposed import licensing law.
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Article

Computers, or: the tough life of an antiquarian bookseller, part 1 and 2

My new computer is scheduled to arrive sometime next week. Maybe. Meanwhile I've been making do. The big screen in the illustration above is the monitor for my mortally ill computer, which can only run filemaker. So I catalog my books on that one, but slowly, or it'll freeze up. The little netbook is my Internet access – google, OCLC, ViaLibri and the like – also done slowly, since it's only got 2 megs of ram. (Just by way of comparison, my new machine will be delivered with 8 gigsof ram.) And the droid, of course, is for quick emails, texting, and other attempts to reach out from computer hell. - Greg Gibson about the tough technical life of an antiquarian bookseller.
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Article

Bookselling in Hard Times: “Will work for rare books”

Priding myself, as I do, on a majestic ignorance of bookselling history, I regret that I am unlikely to be able to provide you today with much of an historic overview of bookselling in hard times, beyond my own very personal experiences and observations. In early 1987, I cast all fate to the wind and declared myself a fulltime bookseller, after many years as a relatively low-level book collector and book scout. With the foresight and intuition for which I've now become famous, I did this pretty much immediately before the infamous Black Monday stock market crash of that October, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly a third of its value in the course of a single week.
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Article

51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair opens today!

Recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, this eagerly anticipated bi-annual fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs and more.
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