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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Collecting

A New Edition of A Gentle Madness - Catching up with Nick Basbanes

Published on 08 June 2012
Ask any book collector about his favorite classic of collecting, and Nick Basbanes' Gentle Madness, first published in 1995, is undoubtedly at the top of the list. Now an updated edition of this book about the "Eternal Passion for Books" has been published. Rebecca Rego Barry asked Nick Basbanes about the book, how it affected his career, and what he's currently working on. Some snippets:
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - OenoLit and The Private Library

Published on 24 May 2012
Given that the first book printed from moveable type in Western Europe, the Gutenberg Bible, contains numerous references to wine, and given that the technology for printing that first book may itself have been modeled upon the screw press used to extract wine from grapes, this writer has always found it puzzling that the cultivation, processing, distribution and consumption of wine is rarely a major thematic element in works of fiction.
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books - and Ephemera: Dandruff Piles

Published on 02 April 2012
Books sit squarely on shelves. They are discrete, replicable units. They have titles, authors, and places and dates of publication. They organize nicely into classes – "fiction" and "non-fiction," for example. There is agreed-upon language to describe condition, and there are bibliographical references that talk about the history and physical makeup of a book.
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Collecting

Open The Pod Bay Doors, Hal!

Published on 02 April 2012
If there's one thing you can guarantee it's that the minute you think you're being smart is the minute before you meet someone much smarter. One of the reasons I love my job so very, very much is that my minutes of being smart never last long enough to knock my self image out of whack. If I'm not meeting a customer whose breadth of knowledge and devotion has the least admirable parts of me reaching for a pitchfork and a torch then it's one of my colleagues who is making me wish I could eat their head and consume their wisdom entire.
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Collecting

Why You Collect? Why I Collect. Why I Oughta… A Day With Comic Art Collector Warren Bernard

Published on 13 Oct. 2011
I'm curious to hear from readers about how, or whether, the concept of 'rarity' entered your lives, and how it has expressed itself. Have you become, like Warren, a passionate collector of some obscure and wonderful class of object? Or, like me, become a dealer - that is, someone with all of the instincts, but none of the patience, of a collector? Or were you that guy out in the Best Buy parking lot at 3 in the morning? And how have other circumstances in your life - relative wealth or poverty; marriage and children; career, religion, race, politics, sexual orientation - how do you reckon these have informed your collecting (or non-collecting) habits?
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Collecting

Book Collecting 101 at The Private Library

Published on 15 Sept. 2011
Anyone who has spent much time exploring Internet sites devoted to book collecting can be excused for coming away with the feeling that such collecting is too expensive and/or too complicated for the average person. The focus at too many such sites continues to be on great rarities, or on well-heeled collectors, or on events that the average working stiff can't possibly take time off from work to attend. Here at The Private Library, though, we contend that anyone can collect the printed book!
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Collecting

The Literature of Collecting by Richard Wendorf

Published on 16 June 2011
Explorations into the world of books, libraries and the visual arts: Richard Wendorf, Stanford Calderwood Director and Librarian of the Boston Athenæum, provides a groundbreaking investigation of the relationship between the theoretical texts devoted to collecting and the fictional texts that also take collecting as their focus: not just John Fowles's "The Collector", but also Susan Sontag's "The Volcano Lover", Evan Connell's "The Connoisseur", Tibor Fischer's "The Collector Collector", Bruce Chatwin's "Utz", and Ian McEwan's early short story "Solid Geometry." Wendorf shows how the critical arguments posed by Benjamin, Baudrillard, Muensterberger and others play out in these modern literary texts and how, in turn, these fictional works complicate the ways in which we think about what it means to be a collector.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

43d California Book Fair Coda: Happy Trails

A mysterious stranger appears at the 43d California International Antiquarian Book Fair and blesses exhibitors left and right by spending over one million dollars on Bibles. Astonishing, a marvel indeed, but not a supernatural event. Or was it?
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Article

A CELEBRATION OF THE PRINTED WORD – 46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair from 15th to 17th February 2013

Thousands of rare books and manuscripts from hundreds of booksellers, plus seminars and events for book lovers: The 46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair from 15th to 17th February 2013 is the largest antiquarian book fair in the world and will offer something exciting for every book lover and collector. Among the exhibited materials of over 200 American and international dealers, you can peruse and purchase rare items from medieval manuscripts to collectible editions of authors into the 21st century. There will be unusual books on travel and exploration (including maps), literature, the arts, science and medicine, children's books, law and commerce, Americana, and history in all eras and geographical areas. First, signed, and limited editions of many important authors will be present, plus collections of original photographs, prints by renowned artists from the 16th to the 21st century, and remarkable examples of book making, binding, and typography from throughout the world.
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Article

Toronto Fair News - The Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair moves to Baillie Court!

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada is very pleased to announce that the 2013 Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair (TIABF) will run from Friday, November 8th through Sunday, November 10th, 2013.
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Article

La Bibliophilie in France - Part 1 of 3 & The ILAB Breslauer Prize For Bibliography

In time with the Paris International Antiquarian Book Fair 2018, we would like to present some outstanding French publications that were submitted for the 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography 2018.
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Article

Audio Interview with John Randle on the Whittington Press

"Born in the mind of John Randle at the age of 14 when he first entered his school's press room, the Whittington Press started life in a disused gardener's cottage in 1971. Its first book, Richard Kennedy's A Boy at the Hogarth Press, was printed on weekends during 1971-1972 on an 1848 Columbian." An audio interview by Nigel Beale
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