Blog posts by Rich Rennicks

Content creator and publicist for the ABAA. 

The controversial “California Autograph Law” has been amended by an ABAA-sponsored bill, AB 228, which was signed into law by the Governor of California last week and is now in effect. Many ABAA members were involved in the effort to pass a bill to address the unforeseen consequences of the previous law, among them Brad and Jen Johnson, Marc Kuritz, Laurelle Swan, and Vic Zoschak. It is the tireless efforts of these booksellers and constituents in the state of California, the ABAA staff, a coalition of sister organizations and other supporters (including The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA), The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Barnes & Noble, The Manuscript Society, The Ephemera Society, The Grolier Club, ILAB, The Professional Autograph Dealers Association, Horror Writers Association, Biblio, and The Easton Press), an... [more]

Every week, our members release catalogs of rare books, and collectors excitedly scroll through them in search of the beautiful, rare, or unexpected. Catalogs can be as general as the "New Acquisitions" a dealer has made and cataloged over the past month, or as specific and focused as catalogs devoted solely to an individual author or artist (like johnson rare books & archives' new list dedicated to F. Scott Fitzgerald), but collectors find they learn much about rare books simply by reading through catalogs and absorbing some of our members' decades of experience and knowledge along the way. Browse the latest catalogs of rare books, fine bindings, incunabula, print ephemera, and so much more... Please note, this list is updated weekly, usually on Wednesdays. *New* indicates any catalogs added this week. We aim to include the most-recent c... [more]

Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

What leaped off the pages and (figuratively) screamed "Buy Me!" as we thumbed through the most-recent catalogs from ABAA members. Well, these items for starters... THE LAST TYCOON: An Unfinished Novel, Together with The Great Gatsby and Selected Stories Description: New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1941. First edition, first printing with the “A” and the publisher's seal on the copyright page. A roman a clef, following the Hollywood rise to power of Monroe Stahr, modeled after film producer Irving Thalberg, and his conflicts with rival Pat Brady, a character based on studio head Louis B. Mayer. The novel was unfinished and in rough form at the time of Fitzgerald's death at the age of 44. His close friend, literary critic and writer Edmund Wilson, collected the notes for the book and edited it for publication. This copy is inscribed ... [more]

Lately, the online world is alive with discussion of Blade Runner 2049, which releases this weekend. Following the success of Amazon's Man in the High Castle television series, Philip K. Dick is once again the go-to science fiction novelist for Hollywood. ABAA members have many interesting items related to Philip K. Dick and this infamous film (which is something of a love-it-or-hate-it phenomenon) available, some of which reveal the tortured path this story took from novel to finished film. One of the most-exciting items is an original script for Blade Runner from 1980, before revisions and re-writes. I'd love to read that to see how the vision changed during the adapting process and before direct Ridley Scott came on board! Blade Runner: The Original Screenplay Hampton Francher & David Peoples Los Angeles: Brighton Productions, Inc./Sun... [more]

Meet the 2017 NCBCC Winners

By Rich Rennicks

The annual National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest aims to encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles. The 2017 contest winners have built up fascinating collections on topics as diverse as teaching mathematics, the literary history of the Maine woods, and seminal cyberpunk novels. We asked the winners a few questions about their collections. 1st Place Alexander M. Koch, The Breath and Breadth of the Maine Woods Unity College ABAA: Could you give us a brief description of your collection? AK: My collection, The Breath and Breadth of the Maine Woods, is an examination of the manners in which the Maine woods has influence. These numerous books, as well as related ephemera, are the breath of the Maine woods. They are the exhalations of centuries of life in Maine, and love for its forested lands. From mid-19th Century ... [more]

Book collectors and fans of experimental musician and artist Bill Drummond (The KLF, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu) are engaged in a fascinating scavenger hunt for 32 copies of a limited-edition book hidden around Ireland. Among Drummond's many, many projects is The Curfew Tower, a 19th-century tower originally built as a jail in the town of Cushendall in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland. Drummond owns the tower and has run it as an artist's residency since 1999. He originally purchased the tower intending to use it to house the one and only copy of his book Bad Wisdom; intending that would-be readers would need to travel to the tower in order to read the book as a sort of secular pilgrimage. That project was eventually published more traditionally by Penguin Putnam in the UK, so Drummond had to find another use for his tower. In 2015, ... [more]

2017 NCBCC Winners

By Rich Rennicks

The ABAA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 National Collegiate Book Collecting Competition. 1st Place Alexander M. Koch, The Breath and Breadth of the Maine Woods Unity College 2nd Place Mark Gallagher, A New Spirit of Truth: The Writings of the American Transcendentalists UCLA 3rd Place Xavier González, “Books That Count” Books and DVDs Calculated to Inspire Children and Young Adults to Explore the Wonderful World of Mathematics Harvard University Essay Winner Sarah Linton, “THE FICTION WE HAVE BECOME” William Gibson's Uncertain Future and the Cyberpunk Revolution Johns Hopkins University The judges were very impressed with the submitted collections and wish to thank all who participated. The Awards Ceremony will take place at the Library of Congress, James Madison Building, Montpelier Room on Friday, October 20th a... [more]

Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

Q: What stopped me in my tracks as I perused this week's batch of new catalogs? A: Everything from the national importance of a presidential inaugural address to the particulars of a menu from a dinner in 1959. Menu: A Dinner in Honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1959) Given that I am a sucker for The Crown, Downton Abbey, and most other British television shows, spotting a menu from a formal dinner with Queen Elizabeth II in Rabelais' Books latest e-catalog instantly evoked various celluloid memories. This would be an nice addition to any collection focused on the British monarchy or culinary pursuits. "This is an unforgettable day - a day I will never forget." ; Queen Elizabeth II; Mayor Richard J. Daley. A Dinner in Honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Given by the ... [more]

ABAA members will be exhibiting at the upcoming Brooklyn Book Fair in Greenpoint, September 8-10, 2017. Although not sponsored by the ABAA, this is a fast-growing book fair which attracts an eclectic range of active collectors. This year, ABAA associate member Rebecca Romney (you might know her from the History Channel's “Pawn Stars”) will give a talk on “The ABC's of Starting a Rare Book Collection," and will sign copies of her newly published book, Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History. Some of the highlights ABAA members are bringing** to the fair include: One of the Largest Private Collections of Vintage Luggage Labels Sheryl Jaeger (Eclectibles) will be showcasing labels from the private collection of Jane Goodrich, world traveler and co-founder of Spectrum Publishing. This collection of 3,550 labels, dating fro... [more]

The idea of the beach read encapsulates how most people seem to regard reading in the 21st century: a solitary activity, preferably performed in a comfortable place, and accompanied by an alcoholic beverage. Modern readers display their bona fides on Instagram with stylish photos of reading nooks and “still life”-type imagery featuring books (or, I'm sad to note, Kindles and iPads) and beverages of choice (most often, cups of coffee or glasses of wine). There's even a curious trend of people posting pictures of themselves reading alone in bars, sending a slightly odd mixed-message: are they in search of company, or advertising the fact that they are above the need for company? Whatever the motivation for sharing these photos, they all reflect the dominant view of reading as a virtuous, solitary, and slightly hedonistic act. However, t... [more]