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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Collecting

Collecting Robert Graves

Published on 07 Sept. 2015
In wider society, many today consider the Classics irrelevant, and very few children encounter them even in translations now, let alone in the original languages. This then is a far cry from the relentless Classical education Graves himself received, and it is in part at least his own doing. By knocking them off their pedestal, along with the moral authority of Christianity, Graves and his contemporaries simultaneously ensured a future interest in the Classics, and killed off their serious study, except from a historical perspective. In my opinion, if any trace of Greek and Roman literature survives 1000 years from now, it won't be Tacitus' Annals being read, but Robert Graves' novels.
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - On m’accuse?

Published on 06 July 2015
If you've been following my blog for a while, you will know that I am interested in the reception of Anglophone literature abroad, and of foreign literature in the English-speaking world. One figure in this area who cannot be ignored is Henry Vizetelly (1820–1894), publisher, journalist, and editor, whose defiance of censorship and policy of issuing cheap reprints exerted a considerable influence on British publishing, not least the demise of the three-decker.
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Collecting

Collecting - A Private Library in the Netherlands

Published on 01 July 2015
I've never been in the States, so I may be wrong, but I can't imagine collecting old and rare books over there the way I collect them here in the Netherlands. First of all, there probably is a big difference in the way we search for collectibles. Of course, I use the Internet (I even bought some books from the States that way), but the right stuff for me (and I imagine for others as well) is snooping around in beautiful little bookshops such as still abound here in the Netherlands, especially around me here in Amsterdam.
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Collecting

Book Collecting Basics - How to Identify First Editions by Grosset & Dunlap

Published on 03 March 2015
Although publishers Grosset & Dunlap focused primarily on reprints, they did produce first editions. For book collectors, first edition identification is a vital skill. More often than not, conventions for distinguishing first editions vary from publishing house to publishing house. Take a moment to learn more about the history of Grosset & Dunlap and find out how to identify their first editions.
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Collecting

Book Collecting Basics - A History of the Bastard Title

Published on 10 Feb. 2015
At last, it is time to read your new book. It is a crisp evening and you have made a cup of your favorite tea. You splurged and even made a fire. You sink into your chair and look at the book's cover, tracing the title with your fingertip. You sip your tea and open to the first page. Blank. You turn the page. Nearly blank, except for the title - again. With some impatience, you turn to the next page. Here the title is presented a third time but with the welcome addition of the author and publisher. Your tea nearly finished, you quickly flip past the table of contents, list of illustrations, author's note, preface, introduction, and dedication. As your fire burns out, you reach page one. As any reader knows, a book can offer a vast amount of information before the "first" page. But why, one wonders, do some books display the title no less than three times in succession? None will dispute the cover: printing the title there seems obvious and right. Even the title page, listing the title, author, and publisher, passes with little argument. But why this in-between page, this unneeded repetition between the two? Why, in the words of old-fashioned bookbinders, this bastard title?
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Collecting

„The Heart of Africa“ - Early Adventures and Expeditions. Second "Bibliophile Evening" at Dr. Paul Kainbacher Rare Books

Published on 09 Feb. 2015
Baden (Vienna), 14th March, 2015 - a must for book collectors who are interested in rare and fine books on travel and expedition. Dr. Paul Kainbacher, Austrian bookseller and specialist on rare travel accounts, natural history and early photographies from exotic places, invites customers and colleague to a Bibliophile Evening dedicated to the history and exploration of the "heart of Africa".
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Collecting

being a reader, again and still

Published on 07 Jan. 2015
There's a story my parents used to tell of me as a child and how much I loved to read. Reading was what my family did in the evenings; we sat in the room we referred to as the study and read. One evening I was so deeply engrossed in my book that I had no idea they were talking to me; this was entertaining enough that they were both watching me to see how long it would be before I responded. It was long enough that it became a tale they told, part of how they understood who I was.
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Collecting

David A. Williamson II

Published on 10 Sept. 2014
Part two of our interview with David A. Williamson, one of the largest Stephen King collectors in the world. In 2009, he bought Betts Books and one of his greatest joys is helping other King collectors find that “special” collectible for their own collections. He lives in Fairfield, CT, is married and has three children.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Booksellers

"There's enough beauty in the world to keep me here” - David Spode (1936-2013)

A couple of weeks before he died I asked David why he was so determined to hang on as long as he could. After all, we shared trenchant, dour, views of the universe, of human existence. He replied, "There's enough beauty in the world to keep me here." That didn't make me pause for thought; what did was the realisation that he was so good at sharing beauty. If I begin to count up all the things that I treasure that I learnt from David either directly or indirectly - by following leads given by him down paths of my own making - then I find myself with a tangle of debt that can't and doesn't need to be unpicked.
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Congress

1951 - Brussels

Before the conference took place in Brussels in 1951, the work on the first ILAB Directory had finally been done. The design for the emblem had been chosen, and the finances were balanced. The most important item on the agenda was the election of a new member association.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Gourmets, Drunks & a (Short) History of Cookery Books

Tavistock Books' recent acquisitions contain a large focus on Cookery titles. Not only have we recently had in stock the cookbook with the 1st English Language recipe for tacos, but also The Cook's Oracle, the first cookery book published out of Stockton, California (a more exciting purchase than you might think, which generated enthusiasm from around the country). The influx of interest in the food genre persuaded us to write this short, slightly perverse and tongue-in-cheek history of Cookery Books.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon's first three books are by far his most collectible. His first, V. (1963) shows up with some frequency, but is usually either spine-faded, or price-clipped (the price is placed well into the front flap, so clipping it leaves an even more than usually unsightly loss), or both. There also exists an Advance Reading Copy in wrappers that seems to wear easily - we look for copies that are relatively square, as it seems to cock or slant very easily.
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Article

The Book Trade in Austria and the First World War

In 2014 numerous books and articles were written, numerous TV documentations were broadcasted about the First World War and its impact on cultural, political, social and economic history. Besides the groundbreaking historical changes, there were manifold changes in every day life, and also the book trade was affected. How did the trade react to the circumstances caused by the war? Soldiers wished to read, but during the war it became more and more difficult for the printers to publish the books. Paper shortage and the fact that most employees had to fight as soldiers were only to decisive problems. Professer Murray G. Hall, ILAB Patron of Honour, describes the situation of the book trade in Austria during the First World War and the difficult conditions publishers and booksellers had to overcome.
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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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