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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
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
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.
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.Download file: 878_ILAB Press Release New President.pdf
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.
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?
Published since 24 Apr 2012Ever 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.
Published since 22 Feb 2012
While browsing through Ralph Sipper‘s booth at this past weekend’s Los Angeles Antiquarian Book Fair, I came upon an interesting copy of book that at first seemed a little out of place at the fair: John Sanford’s Every Island Fled Away. It’s a 1964 novel that, these days, is typically a $30 – $40 book in collectible condition, and not that much more when signed or inscribed. Usually the booths at the three fairs sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (there’s also a New York show in April and a Boston show in November) are full of the best antiquarian books for sale in the country and the world (read highest quality, and consequently highest priced). Dealers usually trot out their top material, and Ralph’s booth was full of many stunning copies of notable literary first editions. Some of them, like his beautiful copy of William Faulkner’s first novel, Soldiers’ Pay, are genuinely rare in such condition. By comparison, the John Sanford book seemed to be a grade schooler lost at the senior prom.
Published since 12 Dec 2011
I like film souvenir books well enough, but with a few exceptions it’s a little hard to get truly excited about them. De Mille’s 1932 film, based on the play by Wilson Barrett, has a backstory about Charles Laughton as the Emperor Nero. Nero blames the Christians for burning Rome, and decides to put them all to death, as one is occasionally wont to do. There’s also a love story between Frederic March as Rome’s highest-ranking military officer, Marcus Superbus (really? Superbus? Why not “Marcus Gas Guzzling SUV”?) and Elissa Landi as Mercia, a cute Christian chick. You can see where complications might ensue.
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.
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.