"I didn't decide to become a bookseller; I fell into it by accident. In my early 20s I was determined to be an artist and that's what I was until I reached about 25. Then I started helping a friend with a stall outdoors on the Portobello Road on Saturdays and, after a while, I got my own pitch. I happened to do better with the stall than I was doing at painting and I enjoyed it more than painting to a point. Then I started having children and so needed money, and I realised that I was doing more bookselling and less painting and I was actually enjoying it. The day I realised that, I stopped painting and just started focusing on bookselling." - Shelf Fullfillment, the new blog of the ABA, starts with a very interesting series of interviews by Beatie Wolfe.
The Erya (or Erh Ya) - the name means "approaching what is correct, proper, refined," though it's sometimes translated as The Ready Guide - is the oldest dictionary of the Chinese language. The author is a mystery, and the traditional attribution to the Duke of Chou isn't taken seriously. The date, too, is a puzzler, though "scholars generally agree that it was written by Confucian scholars sometime between the Spring and Autumn period and early Han Dynasty (8th through 2nd centuries B.C.)" (Xue, p. 152). The third century BCE is a pretty good guess.
Adam Bosze, President of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Hungary (MAE), is a specialist in books and manuscripts on music from 15th to 20th century. His shop is located in Budapest, but he also exhibits at the major international antiquarian book fairs. Besides being an antiquarian bookseller, he is also a TV and radio journalist, who talks and writes about books and music in television, on the radio and in his blogs in the Internet. From the beginning of October onwards, every first and last Wednesdays of each month Adam Bosze will be talking about the books on music he finds interesting. The books he will talk about are from the shelves of his antiquarian book shop in Budapest. They may be boring or absolutely fascinating, depending on the audience's taste, but they will all be worth discussing.
The life of a journeyman major league book dealer (any one who makes his or her living in the trade as a hunter-gatherer, anyone not named Bill, Jim, Pom, Ed, or Don, or anyone not from the other side of the Atlantic whose shoes are worth more than most of your books)… this journeyman life, I say, is a simple one.
Tardily other countries followed the British example and, by the time the Second World War ended, there were associations in France, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Finland. Many of the countries concerned endured the rigours of enemy occupation; all had after war problems, not the least of which was the treatment of members who had collaborated with the enemy. But there were also problems of exchange control and the regulation of imports and exports, which were new to most European countries. In 1947, therefore, the Dutch association took the initiative by approaching the British, as the senior body, with the suggestion that an international conference should be called, that invitations should be extended to all those countries in which an Association of Antiquarian Booksellers existed, and that delegates should submit the many problems that beset them to a general discussion. The Dutch offered the conference a home in Amsterdam and, in September, 1947, the representatives of nine countries gathered, under the chairmanship of the British president, for the first international conference ever held by the antiquarian book trade. The delegates were unanimous in their desire for the formation of an international body and the British association – the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (International) – was entrusted with the task of calling together the presidents of the respective associations to draft a constitution.