Bookseller News

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Latest Rare Book Catalogs

By Rich Rennicks

“All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.” — Mae West The celebrated Vaudevillian Mae West might have been talking about men she had known, but her advice is equally true for the books one has loved. The demands of shelf space, changing family needs, or a simple change in personal taste may all inspire us to part with books we once loved. Rare books are no different: our interests change, our areas of focus narrow or broaden, and ownership of certain volumes may come to be of less importance to us — usually because the need for funds to purchase a book of more interest or greater rarity becomes acute! Of course, that isn't to say nobody else might want desperately to own our books! This is the natural cycle of rare and collectible books. Collectors prune their collection as a gardener prunes her roses, bringing the volumes they can now live without to their local rare book dealer to find a new home, and purchasing other works that deepen and enhance their collection. (Of course, there are some collectors, as Kurt Zimmerman reminds us, who may “buy the lot next door and build a separate book house,” but most of us must occasionally rotate or thin our collections for practical purposes. Thankfully, there is an easy way to monitor the ebb and flow of rare books through the network of dealers that make up the ABAA: peruse the rare book catalogs that dealers publish — some as often as weekly! An even easier method is to cultivate... [more]

You've no doubt heard the great news that Assembly Bill 228 has been introduced by California State Assembly Members Gloria and Chiu. If passed, this bill will provide significant relief from the most troubling and onerous provisions of AB 1570, California's new autograph law. The ABAA, IOBA, PBA Galleries, and The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, The Manuscript Society, The Ephemera Society, The Northern California Independent Booksellers' Association, The Professional Autograph Dealers Association, Horror Writers Association, The Grolier Club, Biblio and The Easton Press have formally expressed support for this pending legislation in the linked letters. The legislative process is long and complicated. Bills pass through policy committees in each house of the legislature and the process takes many months. What this bill needs to help ensure that it becomes law is your support. We encourage members and interested parties to write a letter of support for AB 228 addressed to the bill's primary author: Assemblymember Todd Gloria P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0078 You can also add your name and comments to the change.org petition. We'll keep you updated on progress here. [more]

Bernard M. Rosenthal was born in 1920 in Munich. Most of his immediate family left Munich for Florence in 1933, left Italy for France in 1938, and arrived in the US in 1939, each move in response to the problem of being Jewish. Both sides of his family, the Rosenthals and on his mother's side, the Olschkis of Italy, were heavily involved in the book trade going back generations as antiquarians, printers, publishers and authors. An extensive interview with Rosenthal was conducted by Dan Slive (head of Special Collections of the Bridwell Library at SMU) and appeared in the RBM Journal in 2003; in it, Rosenthal gives a fulsome account of his early days in the trade, starting in 1949 as an apprentice bookseller in Zurich under a bibliographical “tyrant,” Herr Frauendorfer, then later under the tutelage of Arthur Swann at Parke-Bernet, and finally starting off on his own in 1953, at 71st and Madison in Manhattan as a seller of scholarly and bibliographical works. In 1970 he moved his firm to San Francisco and remained in Northern California the rest of his life. His specialties included early printed and manuscript books, the history of scholarship and bibliography, and paleography. He joined the ABAA in 1955, served as its president from 1968-70, and was a generous guide, resource and mentor to many of the ABAA's current members. One of Rosenthal's greatest contributions was his catalogue of a collection of early printed books bearing extensive contemporary manuscript annotat... [more]

At a time when some brick and mortar antiquarian bookstores are closing their doors in favor of an internet-only presence, Matthew and Adrienne Raptis, of Raptis Rare Books, have gone against the grain and recently opened a rare bookstore on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. Worth Avenue, like Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive, is synonymous with luxury brands and caters to an island that is home to the rich and famous, including the new President-elect, Donald Trump. Raptis Rare Books had previously operated mainly as a catalog and online business out of a beautiful Italianate villa in Vermont, but Matthew Raptis wanted to have more interaction with his customers and allow people to come into greater contact with “these wonderful written works of art.” The new gallery opened on November 1, but the grand-opening is being held until January 2017, when the holiday rush is past. "We've had an outstanding initial reception to the store,” Matthew commented. “People love the idea of something new and different on the Avenue and when they walk in they often talk about their love of the smell of old books and how a particular book touched their lives. Holding a rare book is like holding a bit of history in your hands.” Almost all of the books in the Raptis Rare Books inventory are first editions and many of them are signed or inscribed by the author. Matthew and Adrienne refer to the new store as a gallery because "like fine art, in a way it is like stepping into a museum." Unlike a ... [more]

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New Members: Fall 2016

By Rich Rennicks

The ABAA has recently approved several new members, all of whom have successfully proven themselves to be, in the words of the ABAA Guarantee, "established, knowledgeable, and of excellent reputation." These new members were sponsored by existing members, and have undergone a rigorous screening process. We welcome the newest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. Full Members: Kim Herrick, The Book Lair Kim Herrick got her start in the book trade by buying a large collection from an estate sale and then going to the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar to figure out what to do with it. Luckily, this turned into a passion for a new career and Kim went on to attend the Rare Book School several times and many trade shows with her new business, The Book Lair. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Kim has kept her roots in the Bay Area by joining the Book Club of California and regularly attending events there. One of her specialties is miniature books and she is a member of the Miniature Book Society. Andrew Langer, Andrew Langer Bookseller Andrew Langer came to bookselling in a roundabout way, in large part as a consequence of moving into a nearly 100-year-old house in 1996. Efforts at restoration led to an increased interest in the old ways and to a need for parts sourced from the local community. Books and ephemera came home with the fixtures, and the infant online auction market demonstrated an audience for the uncommon. A decade later, Mr. Langer began to sell eph... [more]

Denver has its very own "Booksellers' Row" after the relocation of two ABAA members, Anderson Butler Rare Books and Gallagher Books. Anderson Butler Rare Books has opened and Gallagher Books has re-opened after moving seven doors South of their previous location. Anderson Butler Rare Books relocated to Denver from Seattle a year ago and have just rented the storefront at 1460 South Broadway. Mark Anderson has been in the antiquarian book business since 2001. Mark's wife, Nora Butler Anderson, joined him in the business in 2008. The original store opened on the second-floor of a Seattle building in 2010. Now in its new street-level incarnation on Antique Row, Anderson Butler Rare Books specializes in antiquarian, collectible and eclectic books, manuscripts, art and ephemera across many fields including Americana, Literature, Travel and Philosophy. They are especially interested in books relating to the Culture of Time: Almanacs and Calendars, Astrology and Divination, and Horology. Anderson Butler Rare Books, 1460 South Broadway, Denver. Inside Anderson Butler Rare Books. Gallagher Books was started by Don and Sue Gallagher in 1994 in the Antique Guild that used to be at the corner of Louisiana and Broadway. After 12 years in that location, the Guild was redeveloped and Gallaghers moved to the 1400 block of the row where they had a shop for 10 years. Now they are in the new location just two doors from Anderson Butler. Don died in the spring of 2015 and Sue has continued the b... [more]

ABAA member Kenneth Karmiole has donated $100,000 to the Book Club of California to endow an annual lecture series entitled “The Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Lecture on the History of the Book Trade in California and the West.” The lecture series will focus on the book trade — printing, publishing, and bookselling — over the past two centuries. Planning for the inaugural lecture (tentatively planned for the final quarter of 2017) is under way, and details will be announced next year. Kenneth Karmiole is a philantrophist and antiquaraian bookseller. He has been a member of the Book Club of California since 1976 and is currently serving on its board of directors. The Book Club of California said, “Mr. Karmiole's leadership and vision are inspiring. His initiative, and in particular his generous endowment — the first of its kind for this institution — will significantly bolster the Book Club of California's ongoing efforts to engage high-profile speakers and scholars whose research and writing enlarge our understanding of the history of the book and book culture in the West.” --- Kenneth Karmiole talked with the ABAA about his bookselling career in 2014: Image of Kenneth Karmiole credit: Joanie Harmon - UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies [more]

Former president of the ABAA Robert D. Fleck died yesterday. Fleck founded Oak Knoll Books in 1976, and Oak Knoll Press two years later. The publishing operation was intended to fill a need he saw for books about book collecting, design, and bibliography. Fleck was extremely well-known and respected throughout the international antiquarian community, serving as president of both the ABAA and the ILAB during his long career. Just last year, he was awarded the ILAB Medal “in recognition of services rendered to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.” His son, Rob Fleck, posted this announcement on the Oak Knoll Books website: It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of my father, Robert D. Fleck, Jr., proprietor of Oak Knoll Books & Press. He was our helmsman – our captain – our leader in this world of books-about-books. Having founded Oak Knoll Books in 1976, Dad's legacy is anything but short, and heavily decorated with awards, honors, and leadership positions. His love for his family & friends, local history, and (of course) books was unsurpassed. His determination and poise under pressure, no matter how severe, was something that we should all aspire to. He was an important man in the field of bookselling, but I'll always know him as the loving father that he always was. Books were his life, and his life was books. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad, Rob Fleck Memorial Service A memorial service will be held Tuesday, September 27, 2016... [more]

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Rare Book Catalogs

By Rich Rennicks

We humans are a superstitious bunch. Some touch wood frequently, others mutter about rabbits on the first day of each month, and apparantly a large number wear particular socks or T-shirts in the pursuit of that most ephemeral of things, luck. Do book collectors have particular rituals or superstitions regarding visits to a rare bookstore or the examination of rare book catalogs? We're sure you do. Let us know your particular good-luck rituals or habits in the comments below... if you care to reveal your secrets. While you ponder that question, here are the latest rare book catalogs from ABAA members for your temptation and enjoyment. ANDERSON BUTLER RARE BOOKS E-list: 10 Items Pertaining to Time! NICK ARETAKIS New Acquisitions, September 2016 -- featuring 57 items of Americana BACK OF BEYOND BOOKS Recent Acquisitions -- list only available to mailing list subscribers. Sign up here... BAY LEAF BOOKS E-list #21: Bookplates & Bookplate Literature LORNE BAIR RARE BOOKS E-list 18: American Social Fiction, 1891-1946 BAUMAN RARE BOOKS Royalty Aubrey Beardsley BETWEEN THE COVERS RARE BOOKS New Arrivals Catalog (No. 208) BOLERIUM BOOKS Native American Activism Chicano & Latino Posters including the Puerto Rican Independence Movement Filipinos in America & America in the Philippines; Activism, literature & history THE BOOK SHOP, LLC. BREAKING ALL THE RULES: Social Commentary in Modern American Board Games -- In this catalog we offer a wide variety of modern American board games that a... [more]

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New Members

By Rich Rennicks

The ABAA has recently approved several new members, all of whom have successfully proven themselves to be, in the words of the ABAA Guarantee, "established, knowledgeable, and of excellent reputation." These new members were sponsored by existing members, and have undergone a rigorous screening process. We welcome the newest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. Full Members Nick Aretakis, Nick Aretakis Rare Books Nick Aretakis was born and raised in California, and attended the University of California, at Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in American History. He also has an M.A. in International Relations from the George Washington University, and spent a year in the American History Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia. In the mid-1990s he helped launch the “BookTV” series at C-SPAN television, after which he gravitated toward the world of rare and antiquarian books. In the late 1990s Nick worked part-time for Bartleby's Books of Chevy Chase, Maryland, after which he moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where for fourteen years he was an associate in the Americana Department of the William Reese Company. Nick and his family moved back to California in 2014 and he began his own firm, specializing in books, manuscripts, maps, prints, and photographs in American history. He deals in Americana of all regions and all periods, with an emphasis on Western Americana and the frontier, politics, law, social history, and diplomacy. Zhenya Dzhavgova, ... [more]