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

  • Books about Books: A History of Oak Knoll Press, Part 5: The Start of the Wakeman Years

    Books about Books: A History of Oak Knoll Press, Part 5: The Start of the Wakeman Years

    The fall of 1988 was a decisive time for the business. Our sales were good but needed to be better. I had to reach a decision on how to grow the business. Should I stay in the books about books field with its relatively limited number of expensive books, branch out into other fields which contained more expensive books, or capitalize on our reputation in this specialized field of books about books and increase the publishing program? History shows that I chose the latter.

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  • FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS! - Melbourne Rare Book Week, July 16 to 26, 2015

    FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS! - Melbourne Rare Book Week, July 16 to 26, 2015

    Once again, Melburnians, Victorians and interstate visitors will be drawn to Melbourne for a week full of interesting, amazing and outstanding events dedicated exclusively to the wonderful world of rare books and book collecting. Melbourne Rare Book Week commenced in 2012 as a partnership between the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions. In 2014, over 40 free events were held at libraries, literary and historical societies and bookshops throughout Melbourne, attracting local, national and international visitors. Now in its fourth year, Melbourne Rare Book Week is well established in the City of Melbourne's event calendar. It is a major attraction for book collectors, librarians and all who have a love of words, print on paper and literary heritage.

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  • First Issue/State and "Points"

    First Issue/State and "Points"

    In the case of a number of books, particularly those published before 1900, one can differentiate between the first and later printings only by being aware of the changes made between printings. These changes can be in the text, the type used, the number of pages, the dates in the ads, or the type of binding (cloth, leather, boards, wrappers).

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  • Did This Rare Color-Plate Book Inspire the Six-Month Dental Check-Up?

    Did This Rare Color-Plate Book Inspire the Six-Month Dental Check-Up?

    Stop! Read this before you go to the dentist. Maybe you decide not to go … Stephen Gertz about George Cruikshank and the pains of the six-month dental check-up.

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  • The Literature of Collecting by Richard Wendorf

    The Literature of Collecting by Richard Wendorf

    Explorations into the world of books, libraries and the visual arts: Richard Wendorf, Stanford Calderwood Director and Librarian of the Boston Athenæum, provides a groundbreaking investigation of the relationship between the theoretical texts devoted to collecting and the fictional texts that also take collecting as their focus: not just John Fowles's “The Collector”, but also Susan Sontag's “The Volcano Lover”, Evan Connell's “The Connoisseur”, Tibor Fischer's “The Collector Collector”, Bruce Chatwin's “Utz”, and Ian McEwan's early short story "Solid Geometry." Wendorf shows how the critical arguments posed by Benjamin, Baudrillard, Muensterberger and others play out in these modern literary texts and how, in turn, these fictional works complicate the ways in which we think about what it means to be a collector.

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  • Fictional Characters

    In 1963 William Freeman, an Englishman, created the first Dictionary of Fictional
    Characters. It made 458 pages and was published by J.M. Dent Ltd. in London.
    The author was 83 years old when he finished this 2-year research project.

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  • “Redheads are Poison” – Collecting Pulp Fiction: H. W. Perl (1897-1952)

    “Redheads are Poison” – Collecting Pulp Fiction: H. W. Perl (1897-1952)

    The artist H. W. Perl is chiefly known to aficionados of British post-war pulp fiction.  He was one of the most prolific artists in that genre, working for almost all the leading publishers – and he was quite simply one of the best – one of only a handful of pulp artists remembered and collected in his own right.  He is one of only a few artists who, at least at his best, could truly be said to rival Reginald Heade as the best of the entire bunch.  While it is true that Perl’s work can be very uneven in quality, this is also true to some degree of his colleagues and chief rivals – Heade himself, David Wright, John Pollack and Brab (Oliver Brabbins) – and likely to derive from sheer pressure, pace of work, and hammering deadlines than any real failings in technique.

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  • ABAA and ILAB honouring Sid Lapidus and Jay and Jean Kislak - New York Book Fair, April 14, 2012

    ABAA and ILAB honouring Sid Lapidus and Jay and Jean Kislak - New York Book Fair, April 14, 2012

    "To me, collecting has been a voyage of discovery of part of me that I didn't know existed. It has been a fascinating intellectual voyage, and although I normally suffer from motion sickness, this voyage has been mostly smooth and, at times, exhilarating. I meet so many interesting people, and I encounter so many concepts that continue to intrigue and challenge me. And what I find boring, I ignore." Sid Lapidus, ABAA and ILAB Patron of Honour, in his most excellent speech on the true nature of book collecting. Read it!

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  • Antiquarian Book Fairs - Why do I have to play Lotto?

    Antiquarian Book Fairs - Why do I have to play Lotto?

    On her brilliant new blog Ines Bellin of A Venue of Art Ltd. writes about rare books, beautiful manuscripts, recent catalogues, antiquarian book fairs and other amazing places for rare book dealers and collectors. - When one stands in the queue outside Ludwigsburg, the small fair that starts one day before the Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair, one gets a glimpse of all the well-known people of the global book-dealing community. As we are all very busy keeping up with the times, and must pick our appointments and appearances at fairs early in advance, I thought Leo Cadogan’s reasons for returning to Stuttgart would be worth hearing ...

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  • The Wonders of the Shore in Color

    The Wonders of the Shore in Color

    Long before Darwin’s Origin was published in 1859 there was in Victorian society a strong popular interest in natural history. Not only did the microscope reveal previously hidden wonders, exposing for the first time the sexual life of plants, but advances in printing technology made it possible to reproduce and disseminate such images – in color – among the new and rapidly growing middle and working class populations. An excellent example of this historically unique intersection between science, technology and religion just appeared on my desk: the 1855 edition of Rev. Charles Kingsley’s Glaucus, or the Wonders of the Shore.

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  • Why Are Some Dustjackets Clipped but Not Price-Clipped?

    Why Are Some Dustjackets Clipped but Not Price-Clipped?

    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.

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  • 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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