ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade

  • [+] More 3 Days of 9490 - Why the New York Antiquarian Book Fair is a Must for Dealers and Collectors 


    3 Days of 9490 - Why the New York Antiquarian Book Fair is a Must for Dealers and Collectors
    Published since 08 Apr 2013

    I have spent a total of 3 days of the approximately 9490 that I have lived at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. That amount of time might seem trivial; a brief episode that could come and go easily in a string of events that make up a lifetime, but it is not. When you walk into the Park Avenue Armory with it’s Tiffany stained glass windows and beautiful staircases before entering into a vast array of 200 plus sellers who have been toiling for two days to present their most interesting material, it is awesome, as in the original dictionary meaning of that word.

  • [+] More “Book collecting is a vibrant, exciting and engaging pastime” - An interview with ILAB President Tom Congalton 


    “Book collecting is a vibrant, exciting and engaging pastime” - An interview with ILAB President Tom Congalton
    Published since 06 Nov 2012

    Quite frankly, book collecting is often thought of as a hermeneutic pursuit, but what it really is an adventure, a treasure hunt, and a fascinating journey of self-discovery. What could be sexier than that? If you attend one of the bigger ILAB sponsored book fairs, you are likely to see famous authors. artists, actors, musicians, filmmakers, and intellectuals. Often perceived by outsiders as a staid and scholarly pursuit, book collecting is and almost always has been a vibrant, exciting and engaging pastime – it’s our job to make others understand that.

  • [+] More Tom Congalton: New President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers 


    Tom Congalton: New President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
    Published since 27 Sep 2012

    A unanimous vote: At the Ordinary General Meeting on 23rd September 2012 in Lucerne the presidents of the 22 national member associations of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers elected Tom Congalton (United States) as new ILAB President. He succeeds Arnoud Gerits (Netherlands) who served as President from 2010 to 2012.

  • [+] More 110 Degrees of Archer City 


    110 Degrees of Archer City
    Published since 03 Sep 2012

    As the roaming gangs of reporters, videographers, bloggers, and other media mavens have already made abundantly clear, Larry McMurtry held a two-day book auction – maybe more accurately, he held an event – in order to clear three of the four buildings in Archer City, Texas that he has packed full of the carefully selected better used and medium rare books that he has amassed in over a half century of bookscouting.

  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Who is Anne Marie? 


    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Who is Anne Marie?
    Published since 18 Jul 2012

    As personal papers and archival collections are increasingly sought after by librarians and collectors, we have accordingly been conducting a fair bit of original cataloguing of various special collections materials in order to keep up with the demand. I’ve thus become better at identifying and describing the papers and ephemera of obscure authors and artists, and even a few famous punk rockers unknown only to me; but every now and then I am confronted with anonymous or original materials of considerable interest which I cannot identify, despite my best efforts. Here for example is a hand-painted illustration from the 1930s signed “AM”. Can anyone identify this Unknown Woman?

  • [+] More ILAB Punks Out 


    ILAB Punks Out
    Published since 24 Apr 2012
    Ever wonder what rare booksellers do after a book fair? If you guessed “almost anything” you’d probably be correct. But one particular past-time that rare booksellers pursue is music. Many ILAB members are musicians, both professional and otherwise. This year, after the doors closed on the Friday of the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, several dozen rare booksellers reconvened in a subterranean cavern at New York City’s Lit Lounge to take in a performance by Dear Althea, a nearly all-girl punk band, featuring lead singer and guitarist Ashley Wildes, whose daytime alter-ego is that of a mild-mannered cataloguer at Between the Covers Rare Books.
  • [+] More Joel Silver: Bibliography for Booksellers 


    Joel Silver: Bibliography for Booksellers
    Published since 03 Nov 2011

    Reference information is indispensable to antiquarian booksellers. Like many traditional booksellers, here at BTC we have many hundreds of bibliographies and reference works that we can quickly consult to help us in identifying and verifying different books, editions, and autographs. But with more and more information available on the Internet, it may seem that there is no longer a need for booksellers to have a large reference library. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is still a great deal of information, necessary to properly cataloging a book, that can only be obtained from print sources.

  • [+] More The Closing of the American Bookstore 


    The Closing of the American Bookstore
    Published since 11 Oct 2011

    It has been said that today’s individual bookseller websites are the modern version of open shops of yesteryear. Certainly our own website was greatly influenced by Serendipity and the original Borders, as I detail in a separate essay. Is this the end of the American bookstore? Nothing like. Just the coincidental closing of two great individual, independent stores through entirely different circumstances. They live on, vigorously, in the memory of all who appreciated them. Owning and operating a bookstore has NEVER been an easy way to make a living. But booksellers are an obstinate and romantic lot. From their corps arise, from time to time, people with enough business sense to actually support their Quixotic dreams. Serendipity and Borders have closed, but independent bookstores like them will always be around.

  • [+] More My Last Book Fair 


    My Last Book Fair
    Published since 27 Sep 2011

    The wise and great bookseller Louis Weinstein of The Heritage Book Shop once opined that antiquarian bookselling wasn’t a business so much as it was a lifestyle choice. Book fairs are for many of us a large part of that lifestyle: frequent and often amusing travel, the thrill of discovery, and most of all the pleasure of our colleagues. I’m lucky to be a bookseller.

  • [+] More Young Dealers / Old Books - Book Fairs, Hurricanes, Puppies, Oh My! 


    Young Dealers / Old Books - Book Fairs, Hurricanes, Puppies, Oh My!
    Published since 14 Sep 2011

    “On Tuesday, August 23rd I woke up late. I had set my alarm for 7 a.m., so that I could take a much needed shower and after hitting snooze for over an hour I abruptly woke up at 8:20, tied my hair up, threw on a dress and ran out the door. From that moment on it seemed as though all of Philadelphia was involved in a plot to keep me from my goal of an 8-hour work day. First the contretemps with my alarm, then loads of tourists crossing the street and finally the dreaded tour buses that haunt 5th and Market all summer long. I had just about given up when I finally reached the other side of the bridge. Five minutes to nine I get a phone call from Tom saying that Matt had gotten sick and did I want to go to Baltimore for the book fair?” Do you remember your first book fair? Ashley Wilde is the young cataloguing talent at Between the Covers. Her first book fair took place in - Baltimore.

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