Blog Posts tagged "book collecting"


Book Collecting in the United States: A 21st-Century View of Our Collectors, Our Research Libraries, and Our Booksellers While the antiquarian book community is very small worldwide, it has been in the United States, the tiniest of them all, until very recently. Among all the cultures around the world who have written and read manuscripts and printed books in their variety of forms, North American... [more]

The Antiquarian and Rare Bookseller Today: The Decline of the On-the-street Bookshop and Its Consequence Overheard at a recent book fair, one bookseller to another: “Business used to be a lot more fun.” The role of the old, rare, and antiquarian bookseller has changed greatly in recent decades, from a rich brick and mortar presence in every major city of the U.S. to almost no physical bookshop... [more]

Armed Services Editions, small-format paperback books distributed to US servicemen during WWII, are credited with achieving a great deal: not just with improving morale among the troops, but also with revolutionizing the post-war publishing industry, making certain books into classics, and expanding the American middle class. A new book, When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win WWII ... [more]


Why Do We Collect?

By Rich Rennicks

Recently, I became hooked on a video game for the first time since I was a teenager in the early days of home computers. While my children checked Instagram in the evenings, I would fire up Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes on my phone. After my wife began to tease me for becoming as much a phone slave as the kids, I began to think about why this game interested me so much. And then it hit me, it's the ... [more]

Over the course of a year, the various ABAA bloggers write frequently about the significance of individual books, their rarity, their historical significance, and occasionally their value. However, far more often the significance of a rare book is much more personal and idiosyncratic. For many of us, the thrill of the hunt or the surprise of the find makes books memorable, and book collectors are ... [more]

Previously, John Schulman offered some tips on giving antiquarian books as gifts and using the ABAA website to find what you're looking for. Today, he focuses on choosing antiquarian books specoifically for children. Giving children's books to children requires just as much thought and insight as giving books to grownups. Children are generally just as aware as adults when it comes to assessing th... [more]

One thing that distinguishes the book collector from the casual reader is a preference for owning first editions. What is a first edition? A first edition is the format a book took when it was first made available for sale. The ABAA glossary of book terms states: First Edition: “All of the copies printed from the first setting of type; can include multiple printings if all are from the same sett... [more]

We've all been there, living in small spaces made even smaller by the ever-increasing accumulation of books: piles growing like mushrooms from the floor, double-stacked on shelves, laid flat under chairs or sofas. When we eventually escape to a larger apartment or house, we hastily box up the books and it's only upon beginning the reshelving process in our new space that we notice the damage that ... [more]

The designer Chip Kidd has produced some of the most iconic book and dust jacket designs of the past thirty years. Even if you don't know Kidd's name, you've seen his work, on books as varied as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park and Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Kidd has been called “the closest thing to a rock star” among graphic designers (USA Today) and “the world's greates... [more]

Like any field of endeavor, the rare book trade has its quirks and rituals, its habits and history, its jargon and secrets. Unlike some other trades, book dealers have never been afraid to commit their secrets, memories, and insights to paper. There are many, many fascinating and educational books detailing the inner workings of the rare book trade. We polled some dealers and collectors and arrive... [more]

Chris Bohjalian is the author of 17 books, including three historical novels, Skeletons at the Feast, The Light in the Ruins, and The Sandcastle Girls. He has received numerous awards for his fiction, as well as the ANCA Freedom Award for educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide. Rich Rennicks spoke with Chris Bohjalian about book collecting, his much-loved first edition of To Kill a Mockin... [more]

Leah Dobrinska of ABAA member Books Tell You Why, Inc. discusses the founding of the American Antiquarian Society by revolutionary and pioneering printer Isaiah Thomas, and suggests some other organizations collectors should familiarize themselves with... Isaiah Thomas was a patriot and a printer. His work as a publisher antagonized the British presence in the colonies, and he was the first to pro... [more]

What's better: a simple author signature, or an inscription? As a longtime bookseller -- a veteran of Borders, Waldenbooks, and independent stores -- 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 th... [more]


History Between the Pages

By Tom Nealon

At Pazzo Books, the shop that I kept for years in the outer neighborhoods of Boston, MA and now run out of a two-story in-law addition in my home, I've learned that old books are funny things. Often you catch them looking at you sideways, across a room, and it occurs to you to wonder what they've seen; where they've been; and what odd parade of owners they've survived. Typically you can only imagi... [more]

Summary of a report by Terry Belanger on the conference “Acknowledging the Past, Forging the Future: National Colloquium on Library Special Collections” Organized by the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University 21-22 October 2014 Rare book and special collections librarians tend to be creatures of habit, with traditional migratory patterns. They flock (1) to the annual Rare Book... [more]

The winners of the 2013 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest are: First Prize: Elias Serna, University of Califonia-Riverside, The Chicano Movement Second Prize: Ashley Young, Duke University, New Orleans' Nourishing Networks Third Prize: Amanda Zecca, Johns Hopkins University, From Berkeley to Black Mountain Congratulations to our winners! The Awards Ceremony will be held at the Library of... [more]

This June, King's College at the University of Cambridge will hold a two-day conference on book collectors and collecting. The conference will commemorate the centennial birthday of the eminent bibliographer, A.N.L. Munby. Munby pioneered the historical study of British book collecting and the use of sale catalogues to trace the history of taste in books. He is best known for his accounts of obses... [more]

At the link you can watch the 2012 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest awards ceremony, which was held at the Library of Congress last October. The video includes a few remarks from the prizewinners on their collections and a talk given by Dr. Earle Havens entitled Caveat Emptor!: How to Build the World's Most Comprehensive Rare Book And Manuscript Collection of Literary and Historical For... [more]

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was some extra buzz at this year's NY Antiquarian Book Fair due to a number of celebrity sightings. I know there were a number of important and influential scholars, authors, curators, etc. in attendance and I'm sorry that I didn't recognize more! I was, however, all over the pop-culture 'heavy hitters'. Below are my top five celeb sightings from the fair.... [more]


Friday's Features

By Janine Moodhe

Tune in, turn on, drop out. Excerpts from the Acid Test by GRATEFUL DEAD and Ken Kesey First Edition Offered by: Ken Lopez Bookseller, ABAA Seller Inventory #: 029100 Edition: First Edition Publisher: Sound City Productions Place: San Francisco Date published: Description: San Francisco: Sound City Productions. . The first recording by the Grateful Dead, who had been known as the Warlocks about a ... [more]

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America is delighted to announce that Sid Lapidus and Jay and Jean Kislak have been awarded the ABAA and ILAB Patron of Honor. The ABAA feels these individuals demonstrate how the printed word materially affects history, scholarship, and cultural intelligence and the importance of collections to institutions and the public. A ceremony and celebration wil... [more]

Today marks the bicentennial of Charles Dickens's birth and there are some notable festivities occurring! I've previously posted about the wonderful exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum in NYC, which I highly recommend visiting if you're in the area. In case you need additional incentive, the Morgan is offering free admission today to anyone who mentions Dickens's birthday. The exhibit is only o... [more]

The Journal of the Book Club of Washington published a talk that Santa Monica based ABAA member Ken Karmiole gave at the California Rare Book School last year, and it's quite an interesting read. Ken addresses the pertinent theme of 'Collecting the Physical Book in the Digital Age' from a rare book dealer's perspective, outlining how the rise of the Internet has affected the trade and offering som... [more]


NCBCC Awards Ceremony

By Janine Moodhe

The awards ceremony for the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest was held last month in the Library of Congress and included a special presentation by Mark Dimunation, in which he showed off some of the Library's treasures. As one would imagine, the excitement was palpable during Mark's presentation. Winners and attendees were also treated to a lecture by noted bibliophile and Pulitzer Priz... [more]

Below is a video by ABAA member Phil Pirages (Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books & Manuscripts) about book collectinghow and why people collect books, and the collaboration between the collector and the bookseller. Enjoy! [more]

Click here to read a brief opinion piece about used books and their relation to e-readers. I strongly agree with the author that it doesn't have to be "one or the other", and I don't by any means think that the market for printed matter is going to disappear. What are your thoughts? I'm a Used Bookseller, and I'm Not Afraid of E-Books [more]

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America is delighted to announce the winners of the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest! First Prize: Mitch Fraas, Duke University, Anglo-American Legal Printing 1702 to the Present Second Prize: Maggie Murray, Johns Hopkins, Literature of the Little Review: In Which Margaret Anderson Enters an Antiquarian Bookstore Third Prize: Sarah McCormick, ... [more]

This year the Caxton Club published Other People's Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell, a collection of essays about the stories behind a number of association copies. (An association copy is a book signed by an author and inscribed either to a personal friend or relation of the author, a colleague, or a famous figure.) The book is being distributed by Oak Knoll Books. From their w... [more]

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