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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

Books about Books: A History of Oak Knoll Press, Part 2: The Beginning (1978-1989)

Two years later, to my family's amazement, I was still in business! My goal had been to make Oak Knoll Books the one-stop shopping place for customers who sought "book about books," whether it was out-of-print or newly published. Stocking other publishers' books had great potential for financial disaster, as the 40% discount I received made for a very small profit margin and the inventory had to be turned over quickly. However, goodwill was generated as my customers appreciated the effort we put into keeping them informed of the newest books in their field. This made them think of us for the out-of-print titles they wanted.
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Congress

2012 - Switzerland

40th ILAB Congress in Lucerne - September 22nd - 26th 2012
The Swiss Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (VEBUKU/SLACES) and its president Alain Moirandat hosted the 40th ILAB Congress in Lucerne from September 22nd to 26th, 2012. From the beginning the Swiss antiquarian booksellers have been strongly affiliated to the League. The first ILAB President, William S. Kundig, came from Switzerland. The 5th ILAB Congress was held in Geneva in 1952, the 15th ILAB Congress took place in Basle in 1962, while the ILAB members enjoyed the 25th ILAB Congress and 8th International Antiquarian Book Fair in Zurich in 1978. 34 years later, the ILAB antiquarian booksellers from 32 countries all over the world returned to Switzerland for another important international conference with an exciting programme highlighting the variety of Swiss art, architecture and culture, folklore and industrial history. The 40th ILAB Congress was followed by the 24th International Antiquarian Book Fair at the Zurich Convention Centre next to the Lake Zurich and the Zurich Fine Art Fair which took place at the same time. Both events attracted lots of art lovers and bibliophiles. For one week they changed Zurich into the international market place for everything rare, extravagant and beautiful.
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Booksellers

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

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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Article

​The ABA apprenticeship scheme is changing

In contrast to an internship, which typically lasts for six weeks, the ABA scheme allows for a trainee bookseller to work for an ABA bookseller for two years. During that time, the trainee will gain valuable experience, while the ABA bookseller gets financial support from the Educational Trust. Trainees are paid for both their normal working hours and the time they spend training.
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Article

The Silver Squirrel Prize for the Hungarian Rare Bookseller Ádám Bősze

Ádám Bősze, President of the Hungarian Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MAE), was awarded the Silver Squirrel Prize bestowed by the National Association of Hungarian Journalists for his outstanding professional achievements and for promoting and bringing about the membership of the MAE in the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.
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Booksellers

The Art of Collecting – An Interview with David Mason

David Mason discovered his love of literature in a bathtub at age eleven, at fifteen he was expelled from school. For the next decade and a half, he worked odd jobs, bought books more often than food, and floated around Europe. He helped gild a volume in white morocco for Pope John XXIII. And then, at the age of 30, after returning home to Canada and apprenticing with Joseph Patrick Books, he found his calling. A few weeks ago Canadian author and rare book dealer David Mason published his memoirs The Pope's Bookbinder. In his brilliant book he tells the most exciting stories of his legendary international career. An interview with David Mason about his career and the art of collecting.
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