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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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Jen Campbell: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

"I love working in book shops", Jen Campbell says. "They attract especially strange comments and requests." Over the years she has written down all these strange questions customers ask when they drop in. The best of them have recently been published by Constable & Robinson with wonderful illustrations by The Brothers McLeod. An awesome and unbelievably witty book on the eccentricities which make bookselling one of the most fascinating professions on earth. A must for booklovers!
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A Post Rare Book School Report from Tavistock Books Scholarship Winner Travis Low

This year Tavistock Books (Almeda, United States) was pleased to offer a scholarship to Joel Silver's excellent course, "Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books," at Rare Book School (RBS). We found a worthy winner in Travis Low of Ken Sanders Rare Books. Travis started out as a shipping clerk and has taken advantage of numerous opportunities to expand his role. His new responsibilities often include researching new inventory, making this RBS course ideal. Travis checked in with us to share his RBS experience.
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17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography - Submit books to the most prestigious prize!

The 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography will be awarded in 2018 to one or more books published in any language and in any part of the world between April 2013 and April 2017. Any work submitted to the Prize must be a published book available on the market. The prize jury - consisting of Bettina Wagner (Bavarian State Library, Munich), Daniel de Simone (Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC), Yann Sordet (Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris) and the antiquarian booksellers Fabrizio Govi (Italy), Konrad Meuschel (Germany) and Justin Croft (United Kingdom) - will admit all publications relating to bibliography in a very broad sense: textual bibliography, history of the book, bookbinding, papermaking, type-founding, library catalogues, short-title catalogues of a single author or typographer, etc.. The jury will not take into consideration ebooks and catalogues of books intended for sale and translations of previously published works.
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Collecting Rare Books - and Ephemera: Dandruff Piles

Books sit squarely on shelves. They are discrete, replicable units. They have titles, authors, and places and dates of publication. They organize nicely into classes – "fiction" and "non-fiction," for example. There is agreed-upon language to describe condition, and there are bibliographical references that talk about the history and physical makeup of a book.
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“The Precious Unprinted Contents of Books” – Handwritten notes, flowers and other things you find in rare books

Open an old book and find – a flower, or better: a bank note, photographs, letters, notes scribbled on the pages, exhibitions tickets. Even if a book is boring you may find something interesting between the lines or pages, if it is an old book, not a Kindle. The Guardian Book Blog muses about "marginalia and forgotten mementoes" in the age of the internet.
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