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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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Rare Book Trade

The Worth of Rare Books - An Interview with ILAB President Arnoud Gerits in the Hong Kong Economic Times

Published on 28 Feb. 2011
The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers does not encourage collecting books for investment purposes. We can tell what the price of a book was in the past, how that price has developed, we can tell what it will cost now to own a copy, but we cannot predict what its future price will be. Our advice is always: buy what you like, what pleases you, what interests you, what fits within your areas of collecting or interest, buy the best copy available (and affordable to you) at the moment you want to buy the book. The reason for collecting is love and interest in the subject, the author, the period, what the book represents, the love and desire to own the original or best edition of a particular book. Books may have an added value through an important dedication or provenance, or because of an exceptional binding, or because it has the signature of an important previous owner. But while one man may think a 1.000 US$ for a particular book is very expensive, the collector who has been looking for that same book for a long time may feel the 1.000 US$ is a bargain, if it fills an important gap in his library or collection. If, and I say if, it is an investment, than it is a long-term investment, a savings account, and you use money that you're sure you won't be needing for a long, long time, and nobody guarantees you anything. If you're looking for a quick return on investment, forget it. The bottom-line is: don't buy them as an investment: it is the wrong angle to look at books. Buy them because you love books, you love a subject, a historical figure, a period. Build a collection and become the expert on the subject. ... It is the voyage that will give you incomparable pleasure, not the arrival at the destination. If you must invest, invest in yourself: enrich yourself: not your bank account.
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Rare Book Trade

The Oak Knoll Repricing Saga

Published on 16 Feb. 2011
The Internet has had a dramatic effect on the prices and availability of antiquarian books. This is great news for the consumer but has required some serious thinking by all of us "old-timers" in the business (I started selling books about books in 1976). What happens when you consistently sell David Randall's Dukedom Large Enough for $45 for a number of years (fine in dust jacket) but then go on-line today and find it being sold for $18 by other booksellers? This scenario was starting to happen often enough that I decided to sit down one night (November 2009) next to a shelf of my books and analyze how my prices compared to those of other dealers.
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Rare Book Trade

“Gelos” – Rare Book Auctions in Russia

Published on 03 Jan. 2011
Gelos was established in Moscow in 1988 and is renowned for being the leading Fine Art and Antiquities auctioneers throughout Russia, with offices throughout Europe in Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Prague, Riga, Warsaw and, recently opened, in London (Knightsbridge). It is the largest auction house in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The company carries out appraisals and makes expert examinations, holds auction sales, sells antiquities from its galleries and salons, forms private and corporate collections. Selling at auctions is generally practised and widely spread in the West. On the Russian market Gelos' activities are innovative. A report by Alena Lavrenova.
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Rare Book Trade

Collecting Literary Treasures - The Wall Street Journal about Book Collecting in Modern Times

Published on 10 Dec. 2010
"Collecting books is about passion, not words. "There is nothing at all like the frisson one gets opening a book catalog and paging through, looking for treasures," says Annette Campbell-White, a prominent book collector and venture capitalist from New Zealand." Snippets from an excellent article by Goran Mijuk in The Wall Street Journal, mentioning the ILAB site as one of the best places for book collecting in modern times.
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Rare Book Trade

What Future For Rare Books ?

Published on 22 Oct. 2010
The anticipated death of the book is not a new phenomena. We recall that the book published in 1967 by the Canadian Marshall MacLuhan under the title "The Gutenberg Galaxy" dealt with this matter. Over the years we have seen that the electronic revolution has not really had the effect it had been predicted to have. We may also recall the cover of a magazine which appeared in the '90s and which referred to the answer of Gutenberg to MacLuhan in the form of an arm gesture of extreme vulgarity. Desktop Publishing did not finally kill the published book. It simply vulgarised the publishing proces. For us who are interested in the book as such, we feel that the aesthetics of the book may have suffered but not its productions in terms of quantity.
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Rare Book Trade

Investing in Books – Rare Books as Investments?

Published on 20 Oct. 2010
„There are fields of collecting in which you hear stories of someone who spent $5 at a flea market on an item that turned out to be worth $5 million. Book collecting is not one of those fields. a multimillion dollar Shakespeare First Folio up for auction gets a lot of attention. But for most collectors, books represent a stable, long-term investment. It's a rarefied pursuit, one that can be financially rewarding if you have the necessary expertise, diligence, and patience. … Ask a dealer if books are a wise investment strategy and the short answer is no." John Moore has found more elaborate answers in his article "Investing In Books: Safe Returns Between the Covers". He has asked John Windle, Rebecca Rego Barry, Thomas Joyce and other dealers to determine the real value of a rare book.
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Rare Book Trade

Reflections on Scouting, Part II

Published on 29 March 2010
A few years ago I had a visit from Justin Schiller at my store and that visit initiated a lengthy period of meditation on an aspect of bookselling which, while largely unknown or of no interest to the public, is so central to bookselling that dealers constantly dwell on it.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Aldous Huxley and Anita Loos in Hollywood

Though best known as a British author, Aldous Huxley spent the last twenty-six years of his life living in the United States. When he and his wife, Maria, left England for the United States in 1937, they did not plan to stay, but with the war in Europe heating up and their son's acceptance to an American school, they decided to settle in Los Angeles. It was there that Huxley renewed his acquaintance with Anita Loos, the author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
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Article

Collecting Private Press Books - John Dieter Brinks: Von der Bedeutung des Pressendrucks

George Bernard Shaw once said: "Nothing on earth is more precious than a really beautiful book, With well established columns, in full black type, With exquisitely incorporated illustrations. However, nowadays people prefer to read books instead of looking at them." At the Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair 2015 book collector and John Dieter Brinks hold a remarkable speech about the beauty of the book - with regard to the history of the early 20th century private presses. In his speech he followed the traces of the excellent book artists of the Kelmscott and Doves Press in England and the Ernst-Ludwig-Presse and Cranach Presse in Germany. Some of the most outstanding examples - copies from the Barbara Achilles Stiftung Hamburg - were shown in an exhibition and are now documented in a catalogue published by the German Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (VDA). Thank you very much to John Dieter Brinks and the VDA for giving permission to publish his speech on the ILAB website:
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Article

25. ANTIQUARIA-Preis für Buchkultur 2019 - German Award for Book Culture announced

The prize, endowed with 10.000 Euro, donated by the association
Buchkultur e.V., the city of Ludwigsburg and Wiedeking
Stuttgart Foundation, will be awarded in 2019 to German philologist Klaus Völker.
German language.
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Article

UK's Times deputy literary editor, James Marriott, confesses "Bibliomania"

" Books, glorious books — confessions of a bibliomaniac"
As a Radio 4 documentary about book collectors airs, the Times deputy literary editor, James Marriott, who lives in a room full of volumes, admits to his problem.
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