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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Norman Mailer

Mailer has enjoyed great public esteem, exceeded perhaps only his own opinion of himself, ever since his first book The Naked and The Dead was published in (1948). The book is notorious for the cheapness of the materials employed in its construction, and don't be surprised when you have to pay a chilling premium for a truly fine copy. However, just because a dealer says its a truly fine copy, don't accept it at face value. Among its usual flaws are extensive rubbing to the bottoms of the boards (which seems to have a thinner skin than George W. Bush at a Mensa meeting), and tanning to the white lettering on the spine.
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The ABAA and ILAB, Part 1 and 2

Before I address the costs and benefits, a short review of just what ILAB is, how it is governed, and how each member nation is represented seems in order. I apologize in advance (and once again), for what might seem needlessly technical, but it is necessary to understand the functioning of ILAB and the ABAA's relationship to it.
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"There will never be another antiquarian bookseller like Peter Howard" - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard, Part 1

It wasn't long before I determined to pay Serendipity Books a visit. In those days the store was located on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. In the company of my wife, I paid the first of many visits to Mr. Howard's antiquarian book shop and, in short order, became familiar with the controlled chaos which is the hallmark of this remarkable destination. My first impression of Mr. Howard was that of a keenly focused, and earnest individual who, when engaged by someone in matters pertaining to rare books would speak directly to the issue, often imparting some insight or acerbic observation. He could also be dismissive if so inclined. Before introducing myself, I took ample time to study this tall, self assured person who was clearly the nexus of authority in the establishment. This tentative approach has served me best in all my dealings with Peter over the ensuing years.
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