The rare book trade lost one of its most active members earlier this year. Besides his achievements as a remarkable bookseller of Americana material and the respect he gained in the bookselling community, William Reese is also remembered for his series of essays on the rare book market and Americana which were published in 2018. In a tribute to Mr Reese, ILAB will publish two chapters of his book over the next few weeks on this website with the permission of William Reese & Co.
The opportunity to travel to distant lands opens up new worlds for anyone. I am no exception. This particular adventure to attend the International League of Antiquarian Bookseller's Congress in Budapest was so much more meaningful to me on a larger scale.
The differences between paper and digital catalogs are obvious, but some of the results of those differences continue to surprise me. For example, in the old days orders from my paper catalogs would dribble in over a period of weeks. I used to mail them all first class, in three staggered mailings, hoping to achieve some kind of evenness in delivery, but customers were always complaining that their catalogs arrived late, and demanding exclusive previews. Others, more laid back, would wait for moments of leisure to read their catalogs, and some overworked acquisitions librarians required days or weeks to claw through the pile of incoming mail to discover where my list of treasures was buried. Digital catalogs, on the other hand, play out in an eyeblink. Everyone gets their catalog announcement via a Mail Chimp email blast within the same hour or so. Those who are highly motivated know that they must read it and respond immediately. Consequently, most of the orders arrive by email within the first few hours of the catalog's life. Maritime List 238 was posted Sunday night. By Wednesday even the laid back orders had arrived.
Hard to believe, for me anyway, but we've just shot past the sixth anniversary of Bookman's Log. Yes, I should have written this entry after the fifth anniversary, and I don't know why I didn't. The post dated June 8, 2015 is about my dimwitted attempt to sell rare maritime books through an eBay store. (Results for the 6 months I tried it were one sale and two offers, both for less that 50% of what I had listed the book for.)
Moved by this conference in Lucca, I had the chance of dealing with some incunabula belonging to Martini, whose library is considered one of the richest private collections of Italian literature in the world. Reconsidering them one year after Norbert's presentation at Lucca, invites me to consider how our profession has been changing. As there has been enough talking of stolen books, forgeries, laws and export licenses, I would like to reflect on the evolution of the booksellers' job along the 20th century.
A "Fair-Less" Year: For the last ten years, this catalogue was issued on the occasion of the Antiquarian Book Fair at the Passenger Terminal in Amsterdam. Members of the Dutch Antiquarian Booksellers Association presented their treasures through the catalogue but also referred to the Fair, where one could view and touch books and prints in tangible form.
Imagine - you live in an area where no flooding has taken place for 38 years and your stock is held in a professional storage area surrounded by some 200 other units. Sounds a good bet? . . . Read on. Here is one dealer's first-hand experience. Bon Summers was hit by a flash flood and it took her 20 day's solid hard work in temperatures exceeding 90°F with high humidity to recover the remaining stock. This is her account.
The wise and great bookseller Louis Weinstein of The Heritage Book Shop once opined that antiquarian bookselling wasn't a business so much as it was a lifestyle choice. Book fairs are for many of us a large part of that lifestyle: frequent and often amusing travel, the thrill of discovery, and most of all the pleasure of our colleagues. I'm lucky to be a bookseller.
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.
The 56th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair, organised by the German association Verband der Antiquare and under the auspices of ILAB, is the 2nd oldest antiquarian fair in Europe.It is the most important event for antiquarians, autograph and print dealers in Germany and the first major event in the new year for the international antiquarian book trade and book collector.
"What do Skype, a film star, literacy problems in South Sudan, and two women dealing in rare books and manuscripts have in common? They are the driving force behind a chain of worldwide events to create a more literate world. This April the booksellers of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) will again celebrate UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day with a chain of events one after another around the world. Organising a chain of worldwide events is not easy as Australian Sally Burdon and German Barbara van Benthem, both members of ILAB, have found, particularly as they live 16,285 kilometres apart and all the organisation was done by Skype and email. Not easy, but it can be done!"
A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women, will be held in the Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, New York, on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th of July, current; commencing at 10 o'clock A.M. During the first day the meeting will be exclusively for women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public generally are invited to be present on the second day, when Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gentlemen, will address the convention.The women's suffrage movement that was launched at the Seneca Falls Convention did not occur in a vacuum. Suffrage (the right to vote) had been extended to women in various places and at various times throughout history. In fact, women's suffrage often preceeded universal suffrage, the effect being that only women of certain classes or races sometimes won the right to vote.
In 2010, online literary magazine The Fiction Circus hosted a seance for Fitzgerald at New York City's KGB Bar. A writer and artist known as Xerxes Vedammt offered his body to be inhabited by Fitzgerald. Once the departed writer made his, um, appearance, participants called out questions. One person asked what books Fitzgerald had read. The response: "I don't have a lot of time to read. But I enjoyed Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. I wish I had written The Talented Mr. Ripley."