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

  • How Many Ways?

    How Many Ways?

    How many ways are there to do this business? Here is my old friend Adrian Connolly of Connolly’s Book Shop, Cork City,Ireland ... Adrian once told me he buys his books by the pallet load from a jobber in London. Like bales of rags. He then prices them at  € 3 - € 10 and shelves them. All day people wandering through the busy Paul Street square, or shopping at the adjacent Tesco supermarket drift into his shop, spot a book they’ve never seen before, and purchase it. There are many books on Adrian's shelves that people have never seen before, because most of them expired and disappeared very soon after publication.

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  • Michael Silverman 1949-2011

    Michael Silverman 1949-2011

    "With the untimely death of Michael Silverman, the world of literary and historical manuscripts has lost one of its most respected dealers, and the antiquarian trade in general a much loved and popular colleague.  Internationally acknowledged as a dealer of great integrity and expertise, Michael wore his knowledge lightly. He liked to affect an air of mild indifference to the exceptional material that often passed through his hands. His self-deprecating style, so far removed from that of the hustling businessman, was much appreciated by the many collectors, private and institutional, who responded to the good manners that informed his dealings as a whole." An obituary by Sheila Markham and Robert Bartfield.

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  • The True Story of Migraine and Book Buying

    The True Story of Migraine and Book Buying

    Several years ago I had a customer who occasionally bought an expensive book. He was not a regular, but sometimes came by to buy something, I think to reward himself for business deals that had gone well. He drove a flashy car, a Porsche that he was very proud of. He usually sprang out of it, wearing an Armani suit, an open white shirt and a gold chain around his fleshy, tanned neck. One day he arrived unannounced - looking distraught.

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  • Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Dashiell Hammett

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Dashiell Hammett

    Hammett wrote just five novels that were published in hardcover: Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1930), The Maltese Falcon (1930), The Glass Key (1931), and The Thin Man (1934) over a period of only five years, and then spent the 26 remaining years of his life drinking ...

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  • Europeana - A project by the European Commission against the 'Dark Age' of private digitalization

    Europeana - A project by the European Commission against the 'Dark Age' of private digitalization

    "Can Europe afford to be inactive and wait, or leave it to one or more private players to digitise our common cultural heritage? Our answer is a resounding 'no'," German national library head Elisabeth Niggeman, Maurice Levy and Jacques de Decker say in their recent EU report. They are strong supporters of Europeana, a project of the European Commission launched in 2008.

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  • Bibliographies - Music

    RISM online - Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM)

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  • Why You Collect? Why I Collect. Why I Oughta… A Day With Comic Art Collector Warren Bernard

    Why You Collect? Why I Collect. Why I Oughta… A Day With Comic Art Collector Warren Bernard

    I’m curious to hear from readers about how, or whether, the concept of ‘rarity’ entered your lives, and how it has expressed itself. Have you become, like Warren, a passionate collector of some obscure and wonderful class of object? Or, like me, become a dealer - that is, someone with all of the instincts, but none of the patience, of a collector? Or were you that guy out in the Best Buy parking lot at 3 in the morning? And how have other circumstances in your life - relative wealth or poverty; marriage and children; career, religion, race, politics, sexual orientation - how do you reckon these have informed your collecting (or non-collecting) habits?

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  • The ABAA and You

    The ABAA and You

    Susan Benne about the world's largest Antiquarian Booksellers' Association: the ABAA. "We are a trade association of over 450 members located throughout the United States. Our members specialize in fine and rare books, maps, documents, autographs, illuminated manuscripts, ephemera and prints which span the economic spectrum. We are united in a passion for books and related material and have bound ourselves to a Code of Ethics which guides us in our dealings with each other and our clients..."

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  • Sheila Markham’s “Second Book of Booksellers” to be published on 1st May, 2014

    Sheila Markham’s “Second Book of Booksellers” to be published on 1st May, 2014

    Good news for all book lovers: On 1st May, 2014, Sheila Markham’s “Second Book of Booksellers” will be published. Sheila’s “conversations with the antiquarian book trade” are legendary. Her interviews with the most influential figures of the antiquarian book business first appeared in the Bookdealer, and were then published in book-form as “A Book of Booksellers” in the year 2004. Ian Jackson called it “an essential archive of book trade history”.  Delightful, witty, and sophisticated: All who have already read Sheila Markham’s “conversations” know that they are something special. Sheila’s interviews give insight into the everyday life of an extraordinary profession that needs extensive knowledge and owes a strong sense of individualism and dedication to the real value of books (which is not, in any case, their price). They reveal the stories and characters that stand behind the showcases at antiquarian book fairs, the 1-Million-Dollar highlights of the auctions, the well-designed book catalogues and the many online databases with its legions of old books. In short: Sheila Markham’s “Book of Booksellers” and its sequel reflect the very reasons why antiquarian bookselling is one of the most fascinating things to live for in the global book world. The “Second Book of Booksellers”, which will be published in May 2014, includes 30 conversations with rare book dealers like Sabrina Izzard, John Windle, Sophie Schneideman, Pom Harrington, Paul Mills and Michael Graves-Johnston. Sheila Markham has given us permission to publish one of the most fascinating pieces in her new book as a preview.

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  • Like "the library labyrinthe in Eco’s “The Name of the Rose" - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard, Part 3

    Like "the library labyrinthe in Eco’s  “The Name of the Rose" - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard, Part 3

    Peter B. Howard bears a remarkable resemblance to the crotchety old bookseller in Michael Ende’s The Never Ending Story  - “Your books,  are safe, my books are real” - and his premises  are probably the closest I’ve  seen to those in   the library labyrinthe  in   the filmed version of  Umberto Eco’s  “The Name of the Rose," although I have yet to encounter  any arsenic-laced incunabula except, perhaps, from the tongue of the proprietor.   And Serendipity  is the operative  word  for both the premises;  in their vast inventories  and ever changing denizens.  The minotaur himself  and  his long suffering assistant, Nancy Kosenka, are the only two constants in this ever evolving and serendipitous  landscape.    And  those premises are a bit like the various lands of Oz,  although not nearly as neatly ordered and likely full of a lot more surprises.

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  • Cataloguing Rare Books - May We Please Have Our Description Back?

    Cataloguing Rare Books - May We Please Have Our Description Back?

    I have an idea for something that might actually provide the protection that copyright alone does not.  As you might expect, it involves, once again, the internet.  If that is where the crimes are now being committed, that is where we should put our cops to work.  What I have in mind is a descriptive bibliographic database where booksellers can publish all their copyrighted descriptions in a way that clearly establishes priority and ownership.  It would be a public place where you can claim what is yours.  But it would also be much more than that.  If enough booksellers participated, an open searchable database of this nature would soon constitute a valuable bibliographic reference that collectors, librarians, students and scholars could use for all types of research.  It would make a useful permanent resource out of information that is now mostly ephemeral.

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  • Mystery Writer Solves Centuries-Old Mystery

    Mystery Writer Solves Centuries-Old Mystery

    Few people have heard of Elizabeth Mackintosh, even those familiar with her work.  She’s a mystery; she’s a writer of mysteries; she’s a mystery writer read by people who don’t like mysteries.  Significantly, she solved a five-hundred-year-old mystery. Playwright and author, she died in 1952 at the age of fifty-five.  Born and raised in Inverness, Scotland, Mackintosh was trained as a physical training instructress, and taught for eight years at various schools in Scotland and England.  When her mother died she quit to stay and take care of her invalid father.  She started to write while tending him and sold some stories.  She also began to seriously study playwriting and theater.

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