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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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ALAI History

ALAI History 1947-2011

Published on 01 Dec. 2010
On an autumn day in 1947, a small group of book dealers met in Milan to give life to the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari. They were not many, but they were set on granting a cultural dignity to the trade of antiquarian bookselling, on fostering friendship and understanding with foreign colleagues, on cooperating with libraries and institutions for the conservation of cultural property, and on providing collectors with a code of ethics that guaranteed a fair and professional relationship between rare book dealers and their customers. In 1971, the members of the association had increased to a few dozen when the Circle became the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia. The history of the ALAI, the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, by:
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Deck the Halls – Adrian Harrington Rare Books in Tunbridge Wells

Always a matter of rejoicing to hear of a new bookshop opening, rather than yet another one closing. Not that Hall's Bookshop on Chapel Place in Royal Tunbridge Wells is strictly speaking a new bookshop. Reuben Hall first opened his doors for business in something like 1898 and Hall's has been a much-loved institution ever since – one of the proper old-fashioned country bookshops. Adrian Harrington, formerly of Chelsea and Kensington, president of the ABA in 2001-2003, president of ILAB in 2008-2009, and long one of the most influential figures in the trade, had taken the decision to close down his London shop and relocate – lock, stock and barrel – to Tunbridge. But not just to move his own very successful rare book business, Adrian was determined from the outset to keep Hall's alive as the traditional second-hand bookshop and focal point of the town it had always been.
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Article

Librai e lettori di tutto il mundo ... The World's Best Rare Books and Booksellers at Bologna

An interview with Umberto Pregliasco about the 39th ILAB Congress and 23rd International Antiquarian Book Fair in Bologna, September 20-26, 2010
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - La storia di un burattino at The Private Library

Susan A. Burgess, writing in Children's Books and Their Creators, penned a rather harsh assessment of this celebrated story's author. He was, she suggested, a hack journalist, an undecorated soldier, and a low-level government official whose best-known work is full of inconsistencies and contradictions, evidence of careless writing. An assessment, incidentally, with which the author's admirers profoundly disagree.
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Booksellers

A Gentle Way of Doing Business - Selling Rare Books in Edinburgh

Sometimes I think that the bookshop has; become a spectator sport for tourists in Edinburgh. Some visitors behave as if the shop is a museum. "Isn't it wonderful?" they say, "I could spend all day in here", and then promptly walk out. They like the look of the shop, but it would never occur to them to buy a book. Nowadays people turn to computers in the way that they would have turned to books for a lot of their needs. Quite apart from their effect on our trade, I believe that computers are actually changing the way in which people think. Everything is highly focused toward a specific goal, instead of reading around a subject and taking a more wide-ranging approach. We have to keep trying to get young people to look at books and aspire to own them. This is a role for book fairs and shops - just being there on the high street helps to remind people that books can be bought, and that we are not libraries or museums.
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Article

Bibliographies - Women Writers

Online: Woman Literature in Germany 1700 - 1900 - A Celebration of Women Writers - Women Writers Database
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Article

L'Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia - 1947-2011

On an autumn day in 1947, a small group of book dealers met in Milan to give life to the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari. They were not many, but they were set on granting a cultural dignity to the trade of antiquarian bookselling, on fostering friendship and understanding with foreign colleagues, on cooperating with libraries and institutions for the conservation of cultural property, and on providing collectors with a code of ethics that guaranteed a fair and professional relationship between rare book dealers and their customers. In 1971, the members of the association had increased to a few dozen when the Circle became the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia. The history of the ALAI, the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association.
[…] Read More
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