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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Booksellers

110 Degrees of Archer City

Published on 17 July 2018
As the roaming gangs of reporters, videographers, bloggers, and other media mavens have already made abundantly clear, Larry McMurtry held a two-day book auction – maybe more accurately, he held an event – in order to clear three of the four buildings in Archer City, Texas that he has packed full of the carefully selected better used and medium rare books that he has amassed in over a half century of bookscouting.
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Booksellers

The Best Lack All Conviction. Part 1

Published on 17 July 2018
For some reason (and this is what I'm thinking about, not how people don't understand me and I must run off and play some Smiths), people are happy, ecstatic even to buy a car, or a watch, or a vase or a pair of shoes for enough money to feed me for six months … but when they look at a book; they don't see it. It doesn't say "You want me. I'm your treasure." It doesn't make them not want to eat for six months so they can own it ... Apart from feeling like I'd failed slightly, as if I'd somehow let down my vocation by not being able to represent it properly (a recurring theme), it occurred to me that my world is an arrogant one in many respects. Rare book people can often be like teenagers in love, they'll burn the world down for the objects of their desire. Which made me ask; why? Why are we like this?
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

The Smell of Books - "Experimental Historic Preservation"

Back in 2009 we reported about a project and group of scientists who tried to prove that one can determine the age and condition of a book by its smell. Now eight years later, the New York Times has just released an article about "The Smell of Books" and the "experimental historic preservation" class at Columbia University around professor Jorge Otero-Pailos. What keeps us fascinated by the smell of a library? Does the smell of old books let us travel in time or can it bring back memories? New York's Morgan Library opened for this experiment. Do we need to preserve the smell of books in our digital age?
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Article

„Im Herzen Afrikas“ - An Exceptional Catalogue From Antiquariat Dr. Paul Kainbacher

It does not happen all that often that an old antiquarian bookseller sees a catalogue and thinks, a little enviously: "I wish that was one of mine." Paul Kainbacher's latest catalogue "Im Herzen Afrikas" is one of those. The presentation is generous, in a large quarto format. Nearly every item is illustrated in colour. The numbering, which often makes a catalogue lifeless, has been omitted. The text is set in single or double columns, which does not make reading hectic, rather it adds a component of surprise and dynamics. Well, these are externals, it is the content that counts. But still, a mood is set, the reader is curious and elated ...
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Booksellers

Speculating on the Book Trade - Rare Books as Investments?

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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Booksellers

Keith Fletcher

I am a bookseller – a third generation bookseller and brought up on all kinds of old-fashioned ideas of Town and Gown, Gentlemen and Players, Society and Trade. Many years ago when we visited America regularly my father was invited to join that august New York Club, the Grolier. He declined on the grounds that it was not the right place for a tradesman. Consequently I feel that it is my duty tonight to present to you my credentials as a collector.
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Article

Analyzing Literature by Words and Numbers

How often do words like "God," "love," "work," "science" or "industrial" appear in British book titles from the French Revolution in 1789 to the beginning of World War I in 1914? Thousands? Millions? What do you guess? Dan Cohen and Fred Gibbs, historians at George Manson University, try to find the exact answer by means of statistic analysis.
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