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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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Booksellers Anecdotes

The True Story of Migraine and Book Buying

Published on 17 July 2013
Several years ago I had a customer who occasionally bought an expensive book. He was not a regular, but sometimes came by to buy something, I think to reward himself for business deals that had gone well. He drove a flashy car, a Porsche that he was very proud of. He usually sprang out of it, wearing an Armani suit, an open white shirt and a gold chain around his fleshy, tanned neck. One day he arrived unannounced - looking distraught.
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Booksellers Anecdotes

The House Call

Published on 16 July 2013
It’s a thrilling experience, a rite of passage into the trade. A member of the public thinks so highly of your skills as a book maven, (or your status as a cash cow), that they invite you into their private space to examine, and make an offer on, their books. You get to walk around pronouncing on the current state of the market, on what’s hot and what’s not, all the while maintaining an ingratiating stream of patter that, you hope, will convince the owner that you’re a sage and trustworthy expert.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Book Collecting Basics: Pirated Editions

In July 2007, JK Rowling fans around the world anxiously awaited the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in Rowling's beloved Harry Potterseries. The official release of the English-language version was scheduled to take place on July 21, 2007. But readers in China got their hands on the novel a full ten days earlier, when the book unexpectedly popped up in book stores. Thousands bought the early editions...unaware that the copies in their hands had virtually nothing in common with the authorized edition actually written by JK Rowling.This new pirated edition was certainly not the first unauthorized Harry Potter book published in China. On the contrary, the popular series had fostered an entire cottage industry of book piracy. In some cases, people would scan and republish exact replicas of the authorized editions. In others, they would mimic the genuine article. One pirated edition, for instance, was called Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Relative Prince. People also would write their own titles, which had little or no connection to Rowling's books. For years, one could easily find titles like Harry Potter and the Hiking Dragon or Harry Potter and the Big Funnel. Rowling's publisher waged a war against those responsible for the pirated editions, a difficult task given that even large Chinese publishers partook in the practice--then denied any knowledge of it.
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Article

Is It More Than “Old Book Smell”?

We all know that aroma. Perhaps it evokes trips to the library as a child, or the cozy ambience of a grandfather's study. It's the distinctive scent of old books. Scientists say that "old book smell" is more than just mustiness; it contains hints of grass and vanilla. That's because all the compounds used to make the book release distinctive odors as they break down. For example, lignin, which is present in all wood-based paper, is closely related to vanillin. As it breaks down, the lignin grants old books that faint vanilla scent.
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Article

International League Conference - London 1956

Once more "dear old London" proved to be the best place to buy books. The delegates from the United States, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Italy followed an invitation of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association in September 1956. During the 9th Congress held in the history of the League they were overwhelmed by British hospitality, the "inconceivably rich stocks" of British rare book dealers like Quaritch, Edwards, Joseph or Maggs, a reception at Sotheby's, an evening at the opera house and a gala dinner worth to remember with acrobatic dancers and cabaret singers. A look into the archives of the ABA and ILAB.
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Booksellers

If there is a heaven for rare books, it's like Serendipity Books - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard

"There are rare books all the way up to the ceiling, so absurdly far up (like 27 feet or something) that they are almost guaranteed to never come down. In addition to the shelves, both fixed and (apparently) movable, there are piles of books. Everywhere. There are paper bags and paper bags and paper bags filled with books, on the floor and in the aisles, and there are cabinets filled with prints and folios and ephemera and beetles and god knows what else..." "This is the single most amazing place I have ever been! When I dream about getting lost in a maze of forgotten books... this is what it looks like."
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Article

A FORETASTE - ILAB CONGRESS & INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR, BUDAPEST 2016

"In just over a month, Budapest will welcome you in beautiful summerly autumn colors. The bridges over the Danube will glow in darker but vividly warm colors, walks in the Castle District, on the cobbled streets of Buda are the most pleasant at the end of September. The still warmish evenings in the uniquely restored but still romantically dilapidated ruin pub, Ankert, guarantees merriment. The autumn delicacies and delicate horses can give you a kind of entertainment in the Lázár Equestrian Park that you have never experienced before. And finally, cruising on the waves of the our treasure-river, the Danube, will soothe all turbulences of the soul while good company and the pleasures of the table will make you feel at home in Budapest."
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Booksellers

A Working Life: The Rare-Book Dealer - Ed Maggs

"For someone who loves old and rare books, buys and sells them, Ed Maggs hardly comes across as bookish, more of an energetic sporting type. But then, Maggs, 51, had ambitions of becoming a reggae superstar – not quite what his parents had in mind after an expensive private education at Westminster. Maggs played in a band called Talkover, worked as a DJ in various minor clubs and in department store stockrooms and other undemanding jobs, before fetching up like a prodigal son in the family business he initially wanted to avoid."
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