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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

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2010: The Fiftieth Anniversary of the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Book fairs have become such staple fodder for booksellers that it's hard to imagine a time when they didn't exist. But the "First Antiquarian Book Fair," as it was called, took place in New York from April 4-9, 1960, fifty years almost to the day before our scheduled gala event at the Park Avenue Armory from April 8-11, 2010.
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Article

ILAB POP UP FAIRS ON UNESCO WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY - 23 APRIL 2016

On UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day 2015 ILAB booksellers brought the books to the people. They popped up at the most unexpected places, in schools, at train stations, restaurants, pubs, schools, museums, libraries, woolsheds, business clubs, in the streets, on boats, on skyscrapers. For 24 hours they were part of a great chain of books spanning across the world, raising over 10,000 Euros to support literacy worldwide and showing the most beautiful bookish items to people many of whom had never seen or touched such treasures before. It was an amazing experience. See the video on Youtube!
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Article

Jimi Hendrix’s Delinquent Bar Tab – 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, 6-8 February 2015

The world's preeminent celebration of the written and printed word returns to Northern California at a new venue in downtown Oakland. The 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair will run from Friday, February 6 through Sunday, February 8, 2015 at the Oakland Marriott City Center. Sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), the three-day event is the world's largest antiquarian book fair with 200 booksellers from the United States and around the globe. The annual fair features a rich selection of books, manuscripts, maps and other printed materials, including incunabula, literature from all centuries and nationalities, fine bindings, children's and illustrated books, ephemera, and antiquarian books on dozens of topics – from Jimi Hendrix's delinquent bar tab to the first English-Language Sex Manual, a 19th Century 3-D children's book, a lock of Franz Liszt's hair from 1884 and handwritten letters by Charles Bukowski.
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Pictures from Italy - ILAB President's Meeting in Siena, September 2013

"Siena is like a bit of Venice, without the water", Charles Dickens wrote in his "Pictures from Italy" (1846). Indeed, there are not enough words to describe the beauty of Siena in Tuscany, whose medieval centre has rightly been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Siena is famous for its art and culture, libraries and museums, the medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year on the Piazza del Campo, and most of all: for its magnificent atmosphere. The four days in Siena from 26th to 29th September, 2013, brought together 18 presidents of the League's 22 member associations. They came along together with their spouses from the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Russia, Hungary, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. Fabrizio Govi, president of the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ALAI), was the perfect host and organizer. He did not spare any effort to make the stay of the ILAB delegates as comfortable as possible and went to great lengths to prepare a very enticing programme. It provided the ideal background for a President's Meeting that gave interesting insights into recent developments of the rare book business along with fruitful and controversial discussions about the future of the trade.
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25. ANTIQUARIA-Preis für Buchkultur 2019 - German Award for Book Culture announced

The prize, endowed with 10.000 Euro, donated by the association
Buchkultur e.V., the city of Ludwigsburg and Wiedeking
Stuttgart Foundation, will be awarded in 2019 to German philologist Klaus Völker.
German language.
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