Bookseller News

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Rare Book News

By Rich Rennicks

A quick roundup of the news about rare books and collectors from around the world. (Regularly updated, with the latest news items added at the top.) Nice to see so many ABAA members mentionned in this report on the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair... The film Green Book hits our multiplexes this week. What was a Green Book? Read on to find out... National Book Award The winners of the 2018 National Book Awards have been announced... Stan Lee, (1922-2018) American comic book writer, editor, publisher and former President of Marvel Comics Stan Lee died on Monday, November 12, 2018, at the age of 95. NPR Obituary... Blogis Librorum, the literary blog of ABAA-member Books Tell You Why?, tells us all about Raymond Benson, the fourth "James Bond" writer... ABAA-member The Raab Collection share a few of the steps that go into authenticating historical documents, such as these signed by Alexander Hamilton. Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect The Smithsonian Libraries presents a new exhibition, “Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect,” at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History through July 1, 2020. “Magnificent Obsessions” tells the captivating stories of the book collectors whose diverse interests and passions helped shape—and continue to contribute to—the Smithsonian Libraries. Allan and Kim Stypeck, owners of Second Story Books, are acknowledged as contributors to this magnificent exhibition. BTW, Second Story Books (Rockville, MD and Washing... [more]

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Carnegie Library Theft

By Susan Benne

In an effort to assist in the recovery of materials missing as a result of the Carnegie Library theft, the ABAA would like to bring to the public's attention the list of items believed stolen. Click this link to view the list. Update 8/20/18: The following list includes more details. Should any member of the public identify having purchased or otherwise having knowledge of the disposition or current location of any items from the Carnegie Library—whether on this list or not—please contact one of the following detectives from Allegheny County District Attorney's Office: · Det. Fran Laquatra (412) 388-5305 flaquatra@alleghenycountyda.us · Det. Perann Tansmore (412) 388-5307 ptansmore@alleghenycountyda.us ` · Det. Lyle Graber (412) 388-5316 lgraber@alleghenycountyda.us Please note, the detectives do not have reason to believe that anyone who may have purchased any of these items was necessarily aware that the material had been reported stolen. The ABAA appreciates your attention and assistance with respect to this grave matter. Please check our post from March for further details, including additional information on collection markings. Sincerely, Vic Zoschak President, ABAA Brad Johnson Chair, ABAA Security Committee Susan Benne Executive Director, ABAA [more]

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Latest Rare Book Catalogs

By Rich Rennicks

For decades, rare-book dealers have used printed catalogs to inform collectors of their available items. In the internet age, these print catalogs persist -- in fact, have often become things of beauty -- but can also take the form of electronic lists, .pdfs, Google docs, electronic magazines, email newsletters, videos, blog posts, even Instagram and Facebook posts! In order to keep up with the rapidly evolving trade, we will try to include all such listings here, in whatever form our members choose to release them. Browse the latest catalogs, newsletters, e-lists, etc., of rare books, fine bindings, incunabula, print ephemera, and much more from the members of the ABAA below... (Image above: detail from Between the Covers Rare Books' latest catalog: Catalog #227: World War I. Scroll down for more info.) Please note, this list is updated weekly, usually on Wednesdays. *New* indicates any catalogs added this week. We aim to include the most-recent catalog (or catalogs if appropriate) from members, because not every member issues new catalogs every week -- and not every collector can browse this list weekly. AARDVARK BOOKS/EZRA THE BOOKFINDER Recent Acquisitions CHARLES AGVENT Spring Miscellany 2018 -- Contains 46 select items, all new arrivals, in a variety of fields. Summer Miscellany 2017 ANDERSON BUTLER RARE BOOKS E-list #13: Miscellany E-list #12: Publishers' Prospectures, Ephemera, More... NICK ARETAKIS October New Acquisitions *New* September New Acquisitions ARTISAN BOO... [more]

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New Members

By Rich Rennicks

Welcome the latest full- and associate-members of the ABAA. Full Members David Meikle, Archway Books (Dover, NH) David Meikle bought his first “old books” at age eleven, paying a bargain price for three handsome 125-year-old books. Only when he got home did he realize most of the engravings were razored out and had probably been for sale individually in that very stall. Still, he was hooked on old books. Twenty-five years later, he jumped at a chance offer to manage a used bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and spent ten years there, eight as an owner. As his own antiquarian interests developed, he realized that running a general-interest used bookstore would not remain fulfilling for the rest of his working life. So, he sold his share and for nearly twenty years has sold primarily on the internet and at shows. While he characterizes his inventory as “general antiquarian,” over time themes have emerged that reflect a fascination with artifacts where cultures meet — missionary Bible translations and tracts; sailors' photograph albums; foreigners portrayed in Japanese printed books; Western primers and textbooks transmogrified into Greek, Chinese, Armenian or whatever; photographs of the first Japanese/Chinese/Burmese students/diplomats/entertainers in Britain/France/America; relatively unknown US military incursions in Asia prior to World War II; and immigrant religious and political publications in the US. David Spilman, David Spilman Fine Books (Sebastopol, CA... [more]

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ABAA Members Expanding

By Rich Rennicks

A number of ABAA members have either opened new stores or renovated their existing premises recently. This is significant because for years, antiquarian booksellers were either retiring or converting to “closed shops,” which only sell by appointment, on the internet, and/or at rare book fairs. It's an expensive undertaking to keep a shop open to the public with regular business hours, staff, utilities, etc., and many rare booksellers — like their trade bookselling counterparts — found it challenging to maintain an open shop. Unlike those in the new-book trade, antiquarian booksellers have the option of operating as a “closed shop,” and focusing on rare-book catalogs, rare book fairs, and selling to institutional collectors directly instead. Recently, a new trend has emerged, with the five ABAA members below opening new stores or significantly expanding their existing ones. Whitmore Rare Books (Pasadena, CA) Whitmore Rare Books recently moved from a second-floor walk-up space to a ground-level showroom on a much more heavily trafficked street in Pasadena. Owner Dan Whitmore explains the attraction of the new space: "We opened our new retail shop at 121 E Union St., Pasadena, CA 91103 in October 2018. The space was previously used as an art gallery. I fell in love with the high ceilings, the vintage purple-lead glass, hardwood floors and big window bays. We sit just on the edge of Old Town Pasadena and a short walk to the convention center where the CA International... [more]

Many booksellers have insurance policies that protect against loss, damage, and even liability, but what can you do to protect against crime? We asked experts from Risk Strategies and Michals Insurance to give us the low-down. In the case of credit card or check fraud, certain policies can cover loss. Kierstin Johnson of Risk Strategies says that certain Fine Art and Rare Book policies will treat the incident as a theft if the dealer ships the item out prior to the transaction going through, and then cannot collect the money. In essence, the dealer is out the book and the money and a “theft” claim could be filed with the insurance company, as the book has essentially been stolen. However, different insurance carriers take a different view. It is important for booksellers to review the exclusions in their policies. Look for the word “conversion” or “voluntary parting.” If these are present, the insurer might not cover the claim as it considers this loss caused by voluntary parting with the property because of any fraudulent scheme, trick, or false pretense. Especially when dealing with older material, even the most diligent and scholarly booksellers can find themselves in possession of material that does not have clear title. Brad Michals of Michals Insurance cites art theft as a $6 billion-a-year industry and questions of ownership can make sellers susceptible to loss. To mitigate risk, insurers recommend purchasing Title Insurance. This requires a one-time premiu... [more]

The Northern & Southern California Chapters of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America would like to announce The California Young Book-Collector's Prize. Most great collectors started when they were young, and most great collections started with a passion for a particular object or subject. When these objects are books and manuscripts, the collectors are called bibliophiles, or lovers of the book. Curiously, the love of books continues unabated today, despite their increasing rarity and the rapid growth of digital media. Some might even argue that the printed page has taken on a new meaning and cultural resonance in our era of computers and electronic texts. In recognition of the next generation of bibliophiles, we have created The California Young Book-Collector's Prize. The competition is open to collectors aged 35 and under who are living in California. All collections of books, manuscripts, and ephemera are welcome, no matter their monetary value or subject. The collections will be judged on their thoroughness, the approach to their subject, and the seriousness which with the collector has catalogued his or her material. The winner of the competition will be awarded: 1. A gift certificate of $500 to spend at the 2019 California International Antiquarian Book Fair 2. An exhibition of the winner's collection to be presented in a showcase at the book fair 3. A stipend of $250 towards exhibition expenses (to help cover travel costs, showcase labels, and insurance... [more]

A recent discussion on social media illustrates there are some misunderstandings about the cost and application process when a firm has more than one owner or shareholder. Though not all shareholders may want to become ABAA members, for those who do the application process is slightly abbreviated as some components are waived — after all, the viability of the business has already been established. Dues for each additional full member are $250 per year. The benefits of being a full member include the ability to take an active role in the governance of the ABAA through voting rights as well as the ability to serve on the Board of Governors and Committees. The following Q&A aims to answer the most common questions. Second Primary Full Membership What is a Second Primary Member? A Second Primary Member is any additional full member in a firm. Membership lies in the individual rather than the firm. Cost of membership is one-third the price of the first full member. What are the requirements for Second Primary Membership? The ABAA welcomes and encourages applications from individuals who are antiquarian or rare booksellers of good character, reputation, and credit rating who have been in business for at least four continuous years and whose principal place of business is in the United States. Applicants must be owners or shareholders in the firm. What is the application process? Individuals can commence an application at apply.abaa.org. An applicant must be sponsored by three cur... [more]

Owen Kubik, a long-time ABAA member from Dayton Ohio, knew it was too good to be true when he discovered a cache of 16th- and 17th-century books in a bulk shipment of used books. Kubik regularly buys large lots of old books from thrift store recyclers. The books are gathered from thrift stores across the country — which either don't want to handle used books in their stores or have too many — and then sold wholesale by the truck-load to book stores and paper recycling operations. Going through such large shipments can be time-consuming, but Kubik finds that this "is a good source for a large volume of general stock for my open shop. There is almost never anything rare or collectible, just good, decent everyday books." A lot sourced from the East Coast in March 2018 proved to be a little different, however. “Here I am, going through old novels, encyclopedias, textbooks, etc... and then all of a sudden I start finding nice 16th-17th century leather-bound books in original bindings,” Kubik recalls. “A Cicero from 1547, Boethius from 1656, and multiple volumes of 16th- and 17th-century Italian poetry.” In total, Kubik found 20 books in fine leather bindings, all in nice condition. Not an average day at the office. "My heart skipped a beat, I think. These are not what should be coming out of thrift stores.” A close examination revealed that all the books had faint pencil call numbers on the back of their title pages. In addition, a few of the books had a bookplate fr... [more]

With the 50th anniversary of Desert Solitaire upon us, Back of Beyond Books has launched a unique publishing program to both honor the importance of Edward Abbey's book and continue the discussion surrounding Desert Solitaire. This November, Back of Beyond in partnership with Torrey House Press will publish Desert Cabal: a New Season in the Wilderness by Amy Irvin In Desert Cabal, Amy Irvine admires the man who influenced her life and work while also examining "the inspiration of Desert Solitaire through the lens of 50 years of desert love and a contemporary, feminist vision." Back of Beyond will also publish a facsimile of the first draft of Desert Solitaire, with hundreds of handwritten manuscript changes by Abbey. This document has never been published before and only fifty sets of the facsimile will be made available. In addition, Ken Sanders Rare Books are coordinating the publication of four Desert Solitaire-inspired literary letterpress broadsides featuring original work by the writers Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, Doug Peacock, and Amy Irvine. "I'm so excited about these three publications," says Back of Beyond Books' owner Andy Nettell. "But it is a little scary too. Even though I've been in the book trade for 18 years, I really had no idea how expensive books and publications are to publish." To that end the store has launched a KickStarter crowd sourcing fund raiser in August 2018 to support the publication program. "We need to raise $15,000 to successfull... [more]