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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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Collectors’ Favorite Authors: Saul Bellow

"A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life." So spoke Saul Bellow, one of the greatest American authors of the twentieth century. Rare book collectors have consistently been interested in Bellow's works, and that interest will only grow as his books get more scarce over time.
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Booksellers

Interviewed by AbeBooks: "Sisters in antiquarian bookselling: meet Elisabeth and Sally Burdon"

Meet Elisabeth (left) and Sally Burdon. A pair of sisters involved in the antiquarian bookselling community and yet operating businesses thousands of miles apart. Elisabeth runs Old Imprints in Portland, Oregon, and is one of the most interesting sellers of ephemera that we know. Sally runs Asia Bookroom in Canberra, Australia, a business that specializes in Asian books, art, and ephemera. Both sell on AbeBooks and we’re thrilled that they partner with us. Sally is also President of ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers), so these are two booksellers with much to talk about. They were kind enough to answer our questions about their family, bookselling and much more.
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Booksellers

Heinrich Eisemann (1890-1972) – Antiquarian Booksellers in Exile –

He was one of the great antiquarian booksellers and widely known as “Mister Ten Per Cent”.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: John Kennedy Toole

Toole's story is well-known, but if you don't already know it, he killed himself in despair when he couldn't get A Confederacy of Dunces (1980) published. His mother haunted publishers until, with the help of Walker Percy, she managed to get LSU to publish the book, the first work of fiction from that publisher. To everyone's surprise, the book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981. The boards of the book seem to warp or splay pretty easily, but copies with just a little splaying probably shouldn't be rejected out of hand, unless you really want to be a stickler. The jacket is uncoated, and primarily black, so its hard to find copies that don't have at least some rubbing.
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Article

2018 ILAB Presidents' Meeting - Elections

At the Ordinary General Meeting on 4th February 2018 the presidents of ILAB’s national member associations voted for Sally Burdon (Australia) as new ILAB President. She succeeds Gonzalo F. Pontes who served as President from 2016 to 2018; and will be supported by ILAB Vice‐President Fabrizio Govi (Italy).
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AbeBooks Fills "Empty Bookcases" for South Sudan!

A generous donation started the ILAB Pop Up Book Fair week! Even before the ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs appear across the world on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day 2015, Richard Davies of AbeBooks announced that AbeBooks would make the generous donation of US$ 2000 towards ILAB's project to help fund UNESCO's vital literacy work in South Sudan. South Sudan, the world's newest state, is a troubled place indeed. Literacy is a way through some of the problems that beset the children in South Sudan and thanks to AbeBooks' generous gift, 190 sets of children's "Bouba and Zaza" books especially written and published for African children will be put into South Sudanese schools. "This generous donation by AbeBooks will make a real difference to the children in South Sudan". ILAB President Norbert Donhofer said yesterday. "In affluent countries it is so easy to take books and literacy for granted. However for those of us who work with books everyday of our lives, we realise that the debt we owe to those who taught us to read and to the early books we read from is incalcuable. We are indebted to AbeBooks for getting behind the ILAB booksellers and UNESCO in their work towards a more literate world."
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