Blog posts by Rich Rennicks

Content creator and publicist for the ABAA. 

ABAA-member Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City, has announced an exciting new tactic in the battle to keep his famous bookstore afloat. After offering "investment" gift certificates during the early days of the pandemic, and then launching a successful GoFundMe campaign, Sanders has now partnered with a local brewery to create small-batch beers in commemorative cans celebrating the characters of Edward Abbey's famous novel The Monkey Wrench Gang featuring artwork by the noted cartoonist R. Crumb. Sanders credits Colby Frazier, one of the owners of Fisher Brewery, for "proposing the idea as a fundraiser for KSRB." Salt Lake City's Fisher Beer are crafting six different small-batch brews and have been releasing one approximately every two weeks since the end of November. The batches have been selling out quickly,... [more Ken Sanders’ Collectible Beer Cans]

What's better: a simple author signature, or an inscription? As a longtime bookseller -- a veteran of Borders, Waldenbooks, and independent bookstores -- I thought I knew the answer. But, once I began working for antiquarian booksellers, I discovered the question is much more complex. A comment on the ABAA Facebook page recently asked why some booksellers appear to prefer plain signed books, rather than inscribed ones? While trying to find the answer, I encountered an interesting tale of changing fashions and the dark side of book collecting. The prevailing wisdom in literary circles over the past decade or two has been to ask an author for a plain signature when getting a book autographed (some collectors even purchase two copies, asking the author to inscribe one to them for their 'permanent collection,' and to simply sign their name to... [more Signed Books Vs. Inscribed Books]

Rare books and ephemera can be a fascinating avenue to examine the past and understand what was really happening during significant events or time periods. We took a deep dive into the database to see what light our members offerings could shine on America's new favorite drama... The Queen's Gambit Netflix's #1 new show is the coming-of-age story of a female chess prodigy struggling with addiction and the chauvinism inherent in 1960's American society. Based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel of the same name, the show is being talked about for many reasons, not the least of which is the way it revels in decidedly analog pleasures -- the slow, methodical game of chess itself and the fashions of the 1960s -- and a very retro style of editing at odds with the frantic pace of modern television. At the same time, its vision of glass ceilings shatte... [more Behind The Queen’s Gambit]

How does one shop an ABAA Virtual Book Fair? Our Virtual Book Fairs combine the convenience of online commerce with the community of in-person book fairs. Just like at an physical book fair, you will be able to: browse the inventory of many exhibitors, but now with the advantage of only having to check out once no matter how many exhibitors you purchase from! speak with the exhibitors in real time, via digital tools like FaceTime and Zoom. be among the first to have the opportunity to buy newly acquired or cataloged items from the most-reputable dealers in the business. shop the fair for a set time only. Our virtual book fairs last for 2-4 days. So arrive early, make a plan to visit the exhibitors you know, and find the material you want! Browsing Options By exhibitor — Browse your favorite booksellers first (organized alphabetically) B... [more How to Shop a Virtual Book Fair]

The Boston Virtual Book Fair will take place at www.abaa.org/vbf from 11AM EST on Thursday, November 12 until 7PM EST on Saturday, November 14, 2020. Schedule: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12 11AM EST Patron Preview Patron Preview tickets are available here... (A portion of proceeds supports the ABAA Benevolent Fund.) FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13 11AM EST Book Fair Opens for Free Admission 1PM EST Julia Child and Company: Culinary Delights at the Schlesinger Library Details and register for this event... 2PM EST Virtual Scavenger Hunt Begins Details to be shared via the ABAA Facebook page at 2PM EST on Friday, November 13. 3PM EST The Curious Case of Chloe Russell's “The Complete Fortune Teller and Dream Book” Details and register for this event... 5PM EST Reading the Drink/Drinking the Read Details and register for this event... SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14 1... [more Boston Virtual Book Fair Schedule]

What to expect at the first Boston Virtual Book Fair Unlike a conventional book fair, which closes each night and reopens in the mornings, the Boston Virtual Book Fair will remain open from 11am EST on November 12 to close at 7pm EST on Saturday, November 14. However, there's more to the fair than just browsing online listings of rare books and related ephemera -- a number of special events will take place during the fair. Online programming on Friday and Saturday, November 13 and 14, will feature curator Marylène Altieri exploring the culinary collection at Harvard's Schlesinger Library, including the papers of famed chef Julia Child; Nicole Aljoe, director of the Africana Studies Program at Northeastern University, sharing her latest research around a recently discovered mysterious 19th century text by Chloe Russell, “A Woman of Colo... [more Boston Book Fair Programming]

The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair is going virtual this year! An alluring treasure trove awaits seasoned collectors as well as new visitors at the 44th annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, which will be held virtually November 12-14, 2020. The event will showcase the finest in rare and valuable books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, ephemera, political and historic documents, maps, atlases, photographs, fine and decorative prints, and much more. Collectors will be able to virtually peruse the booths of every exhibitor in the Fair or quickly visit their favorite dealers, hosted in an easy-to-navigate online version of the traditional book fair booth. A search feature will allow visitors to quickly browse by category, dealer, or keyword—with each item featuring a brief description, condition, and price—an... [more The Boston Book Fair Goes Virtual]

Exploring Lovecraft Country

By Rich Rennicks

HBO's latest hit show, "Lovecraft Country" is based on Matt Ruff's 2016 novel of the same name which mines the horror and mythology of H.P. Lovecraft, but instead of hiding his racist views, highlights them by having a group of African Americans from Chicago encounter both racists and supernatural forces in Lovecraft's New England during the Jim Crow period. H.P. Lovecraft has long been praised as a visionary and trailblazer for American fantasy; and is regarded as "second only to Edgar Allan Poe in the annals of American supernatural literature" by critic Michael Dirda. A prolific writer, Lovecraft was nevertheless unable to make a significant income from his fiction during his life. His reputation and influence only increased after his death, and there are now many collectors of his work, both serious and casual. Most of his stories wer... [more Exploring Lovecraft Country]

Every so often an ABAA member lists an item that gets people in the business talking, regardless of whether it fits with their own particular interests or specialities. One of those items is this exceptional letter from Jack Kerouac to a young boy tasked with writing to a published author for a school project. The response is generous, eloquent, and expansive, offering more of a window into the author than the typical high-school project might reasonably be expected to produce! Jack Kerouac Autographed Manuscript by Jack Kerouac Description: 1964. Jack Kerouac's candid handwritten reply to a young man's questions about being a "Beatnik," his life philosophy, his thoughts on Montana, and more. Students in Robert Dodd's ninth-grade class were given an assignment to contact their favorite writer with their own unique series of questions rela... [more Jack Kerouac in His Own Hand]

New ABAA Members

By Rich Rennicks

Welcome the latest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America! Full Membership Charles Bolick, AIGLATSON Charles Bolick has lived and worked in New England for over 50 years, but grew up in North Carolina and attended public schools there, graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1962. He served as an officer in the United States Navy for three years, then began an insurance career that lasted for 30 years. During that time, Bolick developed an interest in paper Americana and began dealing privately and at shows. Since retiring from the insurance business in 1997, he has worked full time as an ephemera dealer. Bolick's interest is in 18th and 19th (and occasionally 20th) century ephemera in all areas, but especially historic, political, social, and mercantile material. He sells privately and e... [more New ABAA Members]