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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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The ABA and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Published on 27 March 2018
The ABA and ILAB look back at a long history. The ABA is relaunching its flagship fair in London this year, the oldest antiquarian book fair in the world, under the auspices of ILAB. This text by the late Anthony Rota, ABA bookseller and ILAB President of Honour, was published in 2008 in the ABA Directory.
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ILAB History

ILAB History

Published on 17 July 2013
Today the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers unites 22 national associations under one roof. Some of them had already been established when the League was founded in 1947/1948. Five of them were the driving forces: the antiquarian booksellers of Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.
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ILAB History

Preliminary Conference

Published on 17 July 2013
In 1947 representatives from Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands met in Amsterdam for a Preliminary Conference. They discussed Hertzberger’s idea of forming an organization that counteracted the animosity and suspicion engendered by the Second World War. The new International League of Antiquarian Booksellers should foster friendship and understanding between the nations as the mutual basis for a fair and professional trade in the future.
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ILAB History

Copenhague 1948

Published on 17 July 2013
The ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948, with ten participating countries. Representatives from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Italy joined their colleagues from Great Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands at the conference table. Denmark was holding a proxy for Norway
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ILAB History

1951-1960

Published on 17 July 2013
“Considering the dubiety with which our activities were treated it is pleasant to record that the Congresses in London in 1949 and in Paris in 1950 were very successful both socially and professionally, while the standard of hospitality in both cities was impeccable." (Muir)
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ILAB History

1961-1970

Published on 17 July 2013
The admission of Japan, the ILAB Bibliography Prize (now ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography) and the first ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair were the milestones of the 60s.
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1 - 8 / 25

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Collecting Graphic Novels

Graphic novels haven't always held an esteemed spot on collectors' shelves. While earlier incarnations of the graphic novel (i.e., comic books) have indeed been objects heavily and preciously collected, the rise of the graphic novel is assumed to be, for many readers, a relatively new phenomenon. Yet many graphic novels (and other works by their authors) are quite collectible. If you're thinking about starting a new type of collection, delving into the history of this genre might be for you.
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Article

The Rare Book Trade - Hit Me Again, Please

Thus the inadequacies of the general used book store concept, circa 1980, led to the development of specialties at Ten Pound Island. Thus the failure of those specialties to meet the economic demands of an escalating real estate market drove Ten Pound Island out of the retail trade in 1993. Thus the computer and the fax machine put an end to TPI's flourishing postcard-driven nautical book search operation, which itself - owing to the need for a place to store the thousands of books accumulated in the course of this evolution – put TPI back in the retail business. Thus the rise of the Internet and the degradation in the value of low end maritime books, which had hitherto been Ten Pound Island's stock in trade, resulted in TPIs penultimate exit from the retail trade. Thus the paradoxical combination of rising cost and increased availability of rare books drove TPI into manuscripts, ephemera and documents. Thus the failure of provincial book fairs, which had hitherto been a major source of sales and stock, forced TPI into further dependence upon the Internet and the cultivation of institutional customers. Thus sales at TPI dwindled from thousands of mid range transactions to hundreds of larger ones. Thus the intervals between cash infusions increased. Thus the owner of TPI woke up one morning at 3 am with his hair on fire, recalling theorem #1 and thinking, "I've got to get more low end stuff out there on the market, to fill in the gaps between big hits.
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Booksellers

Alan Shelley (1941 - 2009)

The death of Alan Shelley from cancer at the age of 68 on November 18th at Chailey Hospice, near Lewes, is an occasion of great sadness to his family and to his many friends both within and without the rare book trade. He had resigned from the Presidency of the ABA only three weeks before on the grounds of ill health after a notably successful spell at a difficult time in the Association's affairs.
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Article

Unfinished Books and The Private Library

The term completist, as applied to book collectors, has always struck this writer as something of a misnomer. In one sense, the term certainly is applicable: i.e., it describes the attempt to collect everything a particular author ever wrote, or everything a particular publisher ever published, or everything ever written about a particular topic. On the other hand …
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Booksellers

If there is a heaven for rare books, it's like Serendipity Books - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard

"There are rare books all the way up to the ceiling, so absurdly far up (like 27 feet or something) that they are almost guaranteed to never come down. In addition to the shelves, both fixed and (apparently) movable, there are piles of books. Everywhere. There are paper bags and paper bags and paper bags filled with books, on the floor and in the aisles, and there are cabinets filled with prints and folios and ephemera and beetles and god knows what else..." "This is the single most amazing place I have ever been! When I dream about getting lost in a maze of forgotten books... this is what it looks like."
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