The vast majority of ILAB booksellers sell through the Internet. This does not mean that they have given up selling through more traditional methods (paper catalogues, book fairs, open shops, direct offers to customers, etc.); selling through the Internet is just another means of working. Whereas the vast majority of ILAB booksellers would definitely refuse selling all their wares through a middleman at book fairs, through their catalogues, etc., they find it very natural to do so online. The question is why?
Open your browser, click on the OPAC catalogue of the Bavarian State Library (BSB) and search for: ILAB. The Bavarian State Library (BSB) as one of the largest research libraries in Europe administers a digital long-term archive in cooperation with the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre. This archive also stores websites of scientific relevance. Updates of the selected websites are added every six months, so users of the library will be able to see how the internet offers have changed, which content has been added over the years – and most of all: they will have the opportunity to get to know of the articles published in the internet which might otherwise be lost. The archive launched by the Bavarian State Library shows that websites and their content can be of permanent worth and become a part of scientific research. All archival copies will be permanently stored, indexed in the catalogue, and made available for open access. Further long-term preservation measures will be carried out if necessary, including, for example, format migration into newer formats.
The Centre for the Study of the Book at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, is now offering podcasts on book historical topics. The series is hosted by Adam Smyth. His interviews with Oxford and visiting researchers like Willi Noel and Tiffany Stern highlight the current research on the material history of the book. The first podcasts include:
My new computer is scheduled to arrive sometime next week. Maybe. Meanwhile I've been making do. The big screen in the illustration above is the monitor for my mortally ill computer, which can only run filemaker. So I catalog my books on that one, but slowly, or it'll freeze up. The little netbook is my Internet access – google, OCLC, ViaLibri and the like – also done slowly, since it's only got 2 megs of ram. (Just by way of comparison, my new machine will be delivered with 8 gigsof ram.) And the droid, of course, is for quick emails, texting, and other attempts to reach out from computer hell. - Greg Gibson about the tough technical life of an antiquarian bookseller.
I was recently asked to offer comments on the issue of algorithmic book pricing for the newsletter of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association. The issue where the comments appear has now just arrived in the mail. Since the ABA newsletter reaches only a limited audience and has no online version I thought I should reproduce the text here, in case it might be of interest to others. Comments from readers who have actually used these services will be eagerly received.
John Ledyard is a strange and fascinating American original. In 1772 he attended Eleazer Wheelock's Indian School, which would later become Dartmouth College. Unhappy there, he went off with the Indians. When spring rolled around he built himself an Indian-style dugout canoe, threw a bearskin around his shoulders, and sailed down the Connecticut River to his people in Hartford. Several adventures later he accompanied Captain Cook on this third voyage and was present when Cook was killed in the Sandwich Islands.
Disruption came to the world of book searching and the result, for the consumers at least, was a dramatic change for the better. What was once impossible became possible. What was once difficult became simple. What was once costly became cheap. And the vast availability of books online, coupled with new and powerful tools to search for them, enabled serious bibliophiles to pursue their interests in ways that were unimaginable two decades before.
Reference information is indispensable to antiquarian booksellers. Like many traditional booksellers, here at BTC we have many hundreds of bibliographies and reference works that we can quickly consult to help us in identifying and verifying different books, editions, and autographs. But with more and more information available on the Internet, it may seem that there is no longer a need for booksellers to have a large reference library. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is still a great deal of information, necessary to properly cataloging a book, that can only be obtained from print sources.
"There's hardcore porn and softcore porn, and then there's the Bauman Rare Books catalog, which lands on my doorstep several times a year. If your heart races at the contours of a first edition of 'The Great Gatsby', with the almost impossible to find dust jacket, or an autographed copy of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," then the Bauman catalog is the equivalent of Playboy, Penthouse and maybe the New York Review of Books all rolled into one."
Since the Neolithic age, humans have attempted to track lunar cycles and understand their relationship with natural phenomena like the changing tides. From these rudimentary attempts, the fields of astrology and astronomy were eventually born. The two disciplines evolved together, but our changing understanding of the universe has relegated astrology to the world of superstition and folklore. The world of rare books offers an interesting glimpse into these parallel studies.
The antiquarian book trade in Hungary is emerging. The young generation opens up to the international market and shows more and more that Budapest – like Vienna – is a European city full of cultural highlights, covering not only the history of arts, but the history of printing from its invention in the 15th century up to 20th century Avantgarde books. An interview with Zoltán Földvári (Budapest) and Norbert Donhofer (Vienna) about rare books in Hungary and the future of the antiquarian book trade.