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ILAB Library - Online Reference Works for the Rare Book Trade

A Virtual Reading Room


The ILAB Library is an open project for booksellers and book collectors to provide scholars, bibliophiles and dealers with some of the many reference works, and databases that are available in the internet. It is divided into three sections.

Antiquarian booksellers in the press, in literature, history and talking about their business. The Reading Room contains articles about book collecting, the trade and books about books written by antiquarian booksellers, scholars and journalists. Click on the themes, and enjoy reading!

Dictionaries - Glossary


We are happy to present (by permission of the authors and publishers) some of the standard works in antiquarian bookselling on the ILAB website: John Carter's "ABC for Book Collectors", Anne Lamort's "La Bibliophilie" as well as the well-known ILAB publications by Edgar Franco and Bernard M. Rosenthal. Besides, Paul Kainbacher has kindly given us permission to publish chapters of his Africa Bibliography. The multi-language glossary explains the terms commonly used in antiquarian bookselling. At present there are items in English, German, French and Swedish. Tom Congalton, Michael Trenkle, Sigbjörn Ryö and the Syndicat national de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM) have kindly given permission to use their dictionaries that are originally published as follows:

Tom Congalton, What Book Dealers Really Mean. An illustrated glossary (ABAA)

Michael Trenkle, Fachbegriffe im Antiquariat. Ein Glossar (VDA)

Lexique du livre anciens. Par Syndicat national de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM)

ABC för boksamlare. Sammanställt av M. Palm. Redigerat av Georg Lose och Sigbjörn Ryö (SVAF)

Bibliographies - Collecting Tips


Antiquarian booksellers are scholars involved in one of the most fascinating businesses: selling rare books. The value and the rarity of a book is defined by its place in history – of art, sciences, inventions, revolutions, culture, and taste. Research is essential for every antiquarian bookseller, for specialists in incunabula who look for the printers’ device as well as for specialists in modern firsts who know everything about the dust jacket. Where was it printed? Who was the printer? Who is the illustrator, the illuminator, the book binder? Was the author the first who set foot on Hawaii (and did he survive?) Was he the first to discover blood circulation? Was he banned to Siberia, or shot down like Moritz Schlick, the Austrian philosopher? How many copies were printed of “Buddenbrooks” or “Harry Potter”? These are the questions that determine our everyday work. They are the basis for the descriptions in our rare book catalogues: the basis of our expertise. Many standard works for antiquarian booksellers are available as digital references now. Some of them will be listed on this website during the forthcoming weeks. Look for references about

Book History - Biography - Autographs - Manuscripts - Middle Ages - King Arthur – Incunabula – Early Printing – Short Title Catalogues – Watermarks – Printers’ Devices – Places of Printing – Gutenberg – Book Illustration – Book Binding – Book-Plates – Literature – Languages – Travel – America – Africa – Polar – Orient – Europe – Italy – Spain – Judaica – Islam  - Music – Women – Magic – Myths – Occulta – Religion – Bibles – Medicine – Zoology – Science - Authors, Scientist, Philosophers and Artists from A – Z: Jane Austen – Paul Auster – Saul Bellow – Friedrich Nietzsche – Baruch de Spinoza – Thomas Mann – Bertolt Brecht – Sinclair Lewis – Agatha Christie – James Joyce – William Harvey – and many others .....

If you have any articles, links, databases, translations, definitions, corrections, or advice, we are pleased to receive your email.

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