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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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Booksellers Worldwide

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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Booksellers Worldwide

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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Booksellers Worldwide

"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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Booksellers Worldwide

"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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Booksellers Worldwide

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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Booksellers Worldwide

"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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Booksellers Worldwide

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

Published on 09 Sept. 2010
"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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46 - 54 / 62

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

ILAB History

Perspectives

In 2008, the ILAB Prize for Bibliography changed its name into ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography to honour a very generous gift granted by the Breslauer Foundation. The Foundation was set up by Dr. Bernard H. Breslauer (1918-2004), an ILAB dealer who had a life-long passion for bibliography. Years of work by the ILAB Committee, and especially by Bob Fleck, resulted into the best of all solutions. The contact with Felix de Marez Oyens, consultant and President of the Breslauer Foundation, provided the final key to the funding problem: a gift of $108,000 allows this special prize for Bibliography to exist in perpetuity.
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Article

JOIN ILAB’S WORLD WIDE POP UP BOOK FAIRS ON UNESCO WORLD BOOK AND COPYRIGHT DAY, APRIL 23, 2015

Let's put the R A R E in the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day! On April 23, 2015, ILAB booksellers will pop-up across the world! The UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated all over the world with a series of amazing events promoting the essence of reading and the culture of the book. Next year, on April 23, 2015, this day will also be a special day for ILAB. In cooperation with UNESCO a series of ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs will be held across the world. Starting the day in Australia, the fairs will open one after another from Australia to Asia to Europe to the United States. They will be located in any place where ILAB affiliates decide to join us in organizing this amazing event. For 24 hours the worldwide Pop Up Book Fairs will be followed up with pictures, videos and reports in the media and, of course, on the ILAB website.
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Article

The Leaning Tower of Photography Books

One of the joys of dealing in modern literary first editions is the neat and nearly uniform size of the vast majority of one's inventory. Your basic octavo volume, when packed for a book fair, nestled convivially amongst its fellows, will fit neatly in a standard document storage box. After having done a few hundred fairs, one can pack up quickly and neatly, leaving no space in a box for the books to shuffle about, with the resultant deterioration in condition that loosely packed books usually suffer. I particularly recommend books of poetry and drama for this purpose – usually slim volumes that, when inserted between other books, tighten one's box load to a satisfying solidity.
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Article

BUDAPEST 2016 - ILAB CONGRESS & INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR

Before the first International ILAB Congress and Fair in Budapest in September, we would like you to have a glimpse into its programme. First of all, we have prepared a brief series on the most prestigious libraries and sights of Budapest, continuing with the Lázár Equestrian Park.
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Article

BREXIT IMPORT / EXPORT - Update

Message from the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, UK upon leaving the European Union
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Article

Covent-Garden Ladies - Harris's List & the Linen-Lifting Tribe

It's a common enough problem: you're a young buck newly arrived in the big city, you're eager to find a prostitute, but you don't know where to start — you don't want to be ripped off and you don't want to come down with a disease. Enter Jack Harris, the "Pimp General of All England," with his eminently useful reference book: a guide to London's strumpets, their specialties, and their fees. Even though prostitution was illegal, both the author and the users would have taken comfort in the fact that there was no organized law enforcement to do anything about it.
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