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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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Booksellers Worldwide

Poul Jan Poulsen, Honorary Member of the Danish Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABF)

Published on 26 Nov. 2010
Congratuliations! For his outstanding efforts and commitment to the antiquarian book trade, Poul Jan Poulsen - ILAB Treasurer for more than two decades - has been elected honorary member of the Danish Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABF), as the only still active bookseller ever, and as the third in the entire history of ABF, which was founded in 1920. During the 90 years that ABF has been in existence, Poul has done more for the association than any other member. For many, many years, he has formed the back-bone of ABF, which would hardly be imaginable without him.
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Keith Fletcher

Published on 23 Nov. 2010
I am a bookseller – a third generation bookseller and brought up on all kinds of old-fashioned ideas of Town and Gown, Gentlemen and Players, Society and Trade. Many years ago when we visited America regularly my father was invited to join that august New York Club, the Grolier. He declined on the grounds that it was not the right place for a tradesman. Consequently I feel that it is my duty tonight to present to you my credentials as a collector.
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Cornstalk Bookshop Celebrates 30 Years

Published on 28 Oct. 2010
Congratulations! Cornstalk Bookshop celebrates its 30th anniversary. Paul Feain, ILAB General Secretary and owner of Cornstalk looks back to the beginnings: "Over the years I have been supported by many wonderful staff members, some of whom have gone on to operate their own rare bookshops. Some are professors and academics, some have had their books published. I owe a great debt to everyone on my staff and former staff members. These people are my friends and often I have drawn on their wisdom and the business would not have survived without their enthusiasm and support."
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Antiquarian Books Do Have a Future! - An Interview with Alain Marchiset

Published on 22 Oct. 2010
Our trade has known in recent years very deep changes. We are hearing more and more often of the e-book, and it is not difficult to understand that in a few years the paper book will no longer be the cultural reference. I had also anticipated that fact in 2002 in another article "What future for rare books", in which I explained that rare and antiquarian books would probably be safe from the breakdown of the new book market, because rare books will remain collectibles. As I said then, "as the gap widens between books for consumer purposes and rare books, there will be greater distinction between them, and that such books will acquire greater value for collection purposes ". There will therefore always be demanding amateurs for fine leather bindings, beautifully illustrated books on fine paper, original manuscripts, etc… Can one really compare these beautiful artefacts to an e-book? Antiquarian books do have a future!
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A Working Life: The Rare-Book Dealer - Ed Maggs

Published on 13 Oct. 2010
"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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"He knows rare books. He knows how to sell rare books" - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard, Part 5

Published on 09 Sept. 2010
It was 1967 and I was just three months an employee of Jake Zeitlin's "Big Red Barn" bookstore, Zeitlin and Ver Brugge, and knew nothing. I guess that we received a list or catalogue offering rare books for sale (computers and the internet hadn't been thought of, at least not in the book business) and I had ordered (for all of $40 if memory serves correctly) an Advance Proof Copy of Bertrand Russell's Satan in the Suburbs. I was just beginning to collect Russell and, of course, had no idea what an Advance Proof Copy of anything looked like! It turned out to be not unlike an ordinary small paperback, but it was an Advance Proof Copy, and it impressed me beyond measure!
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"The best bookstore has one copy of everything in it" - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard, Part 4

Published on 09 Sept. 2010
The first time I met Peter Howard, he was being guided to my booth at the Boston Book Fair by Harvey Tucker. His mission was to get possession of a rare book I had brought: H. L. Mencken's first book, Ventures Into Verse. Yes, there was some patter but there was also a kind of bravado, even macho; you could see it in the attitude of his hat and in the sudden way that the patter stopped and Peter got down to business. The old world gentility simply was not his style. It was refreshing even if a bit intimidating at times. Peter was not shy about his intent. The best antiquarian bookstore in the world, he let us know long ago, has one copy of everything in it. And our responsibility as booksellers on the road is to look at every rare book. It all sounds quite Faustian now. But Peter's great curiosity, his own willingness to share and to learn has never been lost on me or anyone close to him. There is always something possible about the most seemingly impossible task. To deny it is to throw down the gauntlet. And you really do not want to find yourself in that position with Peter.
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Like "the library labyrinthe in Eco’s “The Name of the Rose" - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard, Part 3

Published on 09 Sept. 2010
Peter B. Howard bears a remarkable resemblance to the crotchety old bookseller in Michael Ende's The Never Ending Story - "Your books, are safe, my books are real" - and his premises are probably the closest I've seen to those in the library labyrinthe in the filmed version of Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose," although I have yet to encounter any arsenic-laced incunabula except, perhaps, from the tongue of the proprietor. And Serendipity is the operative word for both the premises; in their vast inventories and ever changing denizens. The minotaur himself and his long suffering assistant, Nancy Kosenka, are the only two constants in this ever evolving and serendipitous landscape. And those premises are a bit like the various lands of Oz, although not nearly as neatly ordered and likely full of a lot more surprises.
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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

Published on 09 Sept. 2010
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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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

ILAB POP UP BOOK FAIRS ALL AROUND THE WORLD ON UNESCO WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY, APRIL 23, 2016

After a successful launch in 2015, AntiquarianAuctions.com, the online rare book auction platform based in Cape Town, South Africa, will participate once again in the international 24 hour event. In association with publishing house Penguin Random House, AntiquarianAuctions.com will host a talk with Susan Buchanan, the author of the recently published "Burchell's Travels: The Life, Art and Journeys of William John Burchell", and other experts in the field. Local collectors and botanists, local historians and the general public are invited and asked to make a donation on the day. All proceeds from the event will go to charity.
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Article

Rubens in Stuttgart

There are many books with a Rubens design. Even in books from the 19th century we find frontispieces copied from a Rubens design which was often simply reproduced and thus many editions were adorned with a Rubens.
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Article

When Kerouac Met Dostoyevsky

Sometime during March-April, 1949, John-not-yet-Jack Kerouac, 27 years old and living with his parents as "The Wizard of Ozone Park" (Queens, NYC), as his Beat friends referred to him, bought a cheap reprint edition of short stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. He annotated the book, and entered his ownership signature. Dostoyevsky was an important influence on Kerouac; his novel,The Subterraneans, was consciously modeled on Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground, one of his favorite books, and there are many references to the Russian author in Kerouac's novels and letters.
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Article

Field of Booksellers

"This time in 2006, I had been a book dealer for only two years. I had come to bookselling, not exactly by accident (I had been worked in bookstores off and on for the better part of ten years), but rather as a way to fill some time while I stayed at home with my then-four-year-old daughter. The business (such as it was) was very much a part-time venture. I had about 1000 books that I'd managed to scare up from library fundraisers, thrift stores, Craigslist, and garage and estate sales. I kept them in banker's boxes crammed into several closets around the house. I didn't really know any other booksellers and had little in way of a reference library. I sold only online. Most of my books were either modern firsts or university press titles, and every day or so one or two sold via ABE or Amazon. I dutifully packed up in salvaged boxes or homemade ad-hoc packages. I made a little spending money, no more really." "Cultivating the trade for future generations" - Brian Cassidy explains why Rare Book Schools or the Colorade Antiquarian Book Seminar are inevitable for young booksellers.
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Article

Why First Editions

A first edition is the first printing of a book. It's true that a first edition may have one or more printings and that a second edition will normally be noted only if there are actual changes, usually major, in the text. But for a collector, a first printing is the only true first edition.
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Article

Into the South Sea – The first “Bibliophile Evening” held at Dr. Paul Kainbacher Rare Books in Baden (Vienna)

On Saturday, November 8th, the Austrian antiquarian bookseller Dr. Paul Kainbacher had invited collectors and colleagues to his antiquarian bookshop in Baden (next to Vienna), Elisabethstrasse 33. The shop was the perfect location for the "Bibliophile Evening" which was dedicated to The Exploration of the South Sea. The bookshop welcomed numerous guests, among them collectors and book lovers from Germany, Austria and Finland as well as scientists and explorers from various university departments. They all had come to see the most beautiful books and to listen to highly interesting lectures by European experts of the South Sea such as Prof. Hermann Mückler (Vienna University) and Ms. Anke Oberlies (German James Cook Society). See the pictures!
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