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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
William Reese: Collectors, Booksellers and Libraries
Rare Book Trade

Collectors, Booksellers and Libraries: Essays on Americanists and the Rare Book Market by the late William Reese

Published on 17 Sept. 2018
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.
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Rare Book Trade

The Art of Book Cataloguing - British Bottoms

Published on 05 Aug. 2016
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.
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Rare Book Trade

Blogging and the Trade - War and… Peace

Published on 29 June 2016
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.)
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Rare Book Trade

The times they are a-changin' in the rare book trade

Published on 21 Oct. 2015
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.
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Rare Book Trade

Joint Catalogue – 80th Anniversary of the Dutch Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (NVvA)

Published on 20 Oct. 2015
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.
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Rare Book Trade

Every Dealer’s Nightmare - A Flooded Bookstore

Published on 19 Oct. 2015
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.
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Rare Book Trade

Buying Antiquarian Books in Oslo, Norway

Published on 08 Oct. 2015
If you find yourself in Oslo and are thinking about looking for antiquarian books, we can point you in the right directions. Norway isn't home to the largest remaining selection of antiquarian bookstores in Scandinavia (shops in Denmark and Sweden seem to have fared better than others), but there are still quite a few in which visitors can spend many hours scanning shelves and boxes.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Bookriot presents: Libraries of the Rich and Famous

Bookriot shows the Libraries of the rich and famous. Have a glance at the book shelves of Karl Lagerfeld, Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, Keith Richards, William Randolph Hearst, Sting, Julia Child, Richard A. Macksey, Mark Badgley and James Mischka. The latter is "only" the library in the weekend house. Look at them all, and you will become envious.
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Article

Cathy Henderson and Richard Oram on the history and collecting of books published by Alfred A. Knopf

The Harry Ransom Center holds the Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. archive, which includes books published under the Borzoi imprint and books from Alfred A. and Blanche Knopf's personal library. Nigel Beale interviews the Associate Directors for Exhibitions Cathy Henderson and Richard Oram, co-authors of "The House of Knopf", a book that contains collected documents from the Knopf, Inc. archive and is part of the Dictionary of Literary Biography series.
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Article

It’s a Book - Not an App

"Have you ever tried to explain book collecting to someone who's not a collector? This has never been an easy thing to do, but it seems to be much more difficult now than it was just a few years ago. The problem is not that books are unfamiliar objects, or that collecting is seen as an unusual pursuit. Despite increased competition, books can still be found everywhere, and collectors of all kinds are featured on more television shows than ever before. What makes an explanation of book collecting more difficult now is that the main purposes books have served for more than two thousand years - the storage and provision of information - can be achieved today in many other, and often much less expensive, ways...
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Article

Paul Foster Books. First Catalogue 1993

Yesterday I received several boxes, from my Printer, containing my latest Catalogue. It is always an exciting time for a bookseller. Months of hard work, buying, researching and cataloguing the books, not to mention proof reading and checking photo images, have gone into this one little volume, and it is as near to publishing as most book dealers ever get. This latest catalogue is a selection of the more interesting items I have bought recently, listing 190 books over 48 text pages and with a sixteen page colour section full of photographs in the middle, the whole lot wrapped in colour printed, gloss finished, covers. It is a modest little booklet by some standards, but when I compare it to the catalogues I was producing back in the 1990's it seems a world away. My business, and my catalogues, have seen remarkable advances in technology over the last 20 years.
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Article

Books about Books: A History of Oak Knoll Press, Part 12: Marketing Experiments

Another example of this synergy between the publishing and antiquarian businesses was brought about by an interesting request for bookbinding titles that we received from Marianne Tidcombe, noted English author (though American-born). Marianne told me that she was working on a project to honor Bernard Middleton, the pre-imminent English bookbinder. Important bookbinders around the world would be asked to contribute a gold-tooled binding on a copy of Middleton's memoirs that had been printed by hand by Henry Morris at his Bird & Bull Press. Twenty-five binders would be chosen and they would be paid for their work when (or if) the collection of bindings would be sold. I was asked to help find the binders, plan an Oak Knoll Press title describing this project which would be accompanied by full color plates of the bindings produced, and then sell the collection as a whole if possible, or piecemeal if it could not be sold as a collection. What a combination of antiquarian, new book, and publishing goals!
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