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From the Vault

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British Library to buy oldest original-bound book from Jesuits

"Durham Cathedral was not given an opportunity to buy the St Cuthbert Gospel, which is regarded by Durham Cathedral as a sacred relic. The Jesuits, who have owned the manuscript for nearly 250 years, are instead selling it to the British Library (BL) for £9m. Dating from the 7th century, it was discovered in the saint's coffin in the cathedral and is the world's oldest surviving book in its original binding."
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Article

The Art of Book Cataloguing - British Bottoms

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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Booksellers

Living With - And From - Books, Part 3

I worked as a book dealer for 30 years, while my father takes pride in his 60 years-long experience; it's a long time but doubtless a time well spent. During all these years we've been honoured meeting so many extraordinary people: bibliophiles, librarians and, above all, colleagues with whom we shared ideas, insights and of course culture. The exchange of views with fellow book dealers from all over the world has been an irreplaceable resource in doing our job, and doing it with the most passionate attitude. Besides the economic incentive, we cannot help but consider the intellectual profile involved in the book dealing as a truly gratifying reward.
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Article

BROADWAY AND ALL THAT: 12th ILAB CONGRESS IN NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 20 - 25, 1959

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) was founded in 1949. In the same year Laurence Gomme, the first ABAA President, attended the 2nd ILAB Congress in London as an observer, and a year later the American Association was officially welcomed as a new member of the League during the 3rd Congress in Paris. It took only a few more years until the ILAB affiliates were invited to the United States: to New York in 1955, and again in 1959. The 12th ILAB Congress was held in New York from 20th to 25th September, 1959. And it was bigger than ever before.
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Article

Bibliotour

The last couple of weeks have seen me in Germany and America, visiting book fairs, customers, and libraries. I have always enjoyed the international nature of the book trade. As regular readers of this blog will know, I have a particular interest in the cultural history of France, Germany, and Russia, especially in how these cultures interact with the anglophone world. So it was a pleasant surprise to find the following, two weeks ago, in Frankfurt ...
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