Chapter 714 Why I Haven’t Written Lately

Happy to say that Phase One of the new roof is complete. The old roof was removed and the new roof is now on. Next up is an electrical inspection in the attic and then new insulation. Did I mention that my kids are home from school this week (Easter Break), too? And another new opportunity, about which I will write some other time, has popped up, too.  Not much book work going on these days, but I promise I’ll be back just as soon as I can.

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Chapter 713 Spring 2012 Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair Report

I should not write things like, “You can expect a full report on the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair upon my return,” because that inevitably doesn’t happen.  This time, I’m happy to report that my delay in writing a post for the blog is caused by a happy event — Phase One of our huge home repair project. After the roof sprung a massive leak right into the living room the week before the San Francisco Antiquarian Book Fair in February, we had to think long and hard about replacing the roof and seriously fixing some other long-deferred home repairs. Phase One (new roof) began today.

An insulation company is removing the old insulation from the attic/crawl space as I write. Once that’s done and we get some sunny weather, the roofer will remove the old roof, new insulation will be put up in the attic to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and then the new roof will go on. Blogging may be infrequent while we try to make the jobs of the insulator and roofer as easy as possible. We’re hoping the job is completed before rain enters the forecast again on Saturday.

(Note: I started writing this post four days ago. It’s now Saturday and the roof is covered in boards and paper (i.e. water tight). The shingles will go on next week. It’s pouring rain today with huge gusts of wind. So far. So good. I’m holding my breath until the shingles are on next week.)

Fortunately, those who have been eager to hear about the fair can read the report of S. Howlett-West Books, here.

As to my fair, it went pretty well this time. I went to Sacramento a day early and had a chance to spend a couple of hours shopping in the beautiful shop (in a cute bungalow-style home) of Barry Cassidy Rare Books.   Barry recently bought a large collection of 60,000 books, which he is moving into his shop in increments.  If you’re in the Sacramento area, I highly recommend book hunting here. You won’t be disappointed.

Barry Cassidy Rare Books in Sacramento:

After shopping at Barry’s, it was off to set up for the fair. My good friends from Carpe Diem Fine Books couldn’t join us this time, so Mr. Z. and I split a large booth space.  While there were lots of familiar faces, there were also a few booksellers trying their hand at this fair for the first time:  John Howell for Books, Michael Clausen, Asian Steppes Antiquarian Books, Shakespeare & Co. of Berkeley, Vela-Libra Booksellers, and Discoveries West Gallery and Archive.  (Note: not all of these sellers have websites, but they all have books for sale. You should plan to come to a future book fair to see their inventory for yourself.)

Here are a few photos from around the fair:

The shared booth of Book Hunter’s Holiday and Tavistock Books. (That’s Mr. Z in the orange San Francisco Giants cap. He is a die-hard Giants fan.)

The booth of Stephanie Howlett-West of S. Howlett-West Books:

John Howell of John Howell for Books keeping busy:

A few close ups of my books:

From the small collection of books (some signed) I purchased just before the fair:

Pretty books whose covers I like:

Mostly Western Americana:

A few close ups of the items in my glass counter case:

I bought some books during set-up, even purchasing a really unusual item in partnership with Mr. Z. (More on that at a later time.) I’d like to show you photos of what I purchased, but given the work that’s going on in my house at the moment, the books are all boxed up so that they don’t get dusty and I don’t have them readily accessible.  I sold books at a steady pace during this fair, a great improvement over my performance at the last March Sacramento fair.

My favorite thing about this regional fair is that it’s small size is an advantage:  one can scout the entire room in a day, the booksellers you know are nearby and it’s easy to get across the room to meet the booksellers you don’t know. Jim Kay, the promoter of the fair, does a fantastic job getting a good turnout for the fair. The aisles are crowded with people, some browsing and some buying, all bibliophiles.  This fair also has a nice mix of dealers with books at all price ranges. Good buys and good fun can be had here. The next Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair will be held on September 15, 2012. I suggest putting it on your calendar if you’re in California around that time.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under Book Fairs, Uncategorized

Chapter 712 Cataloguing Machine

I’m pleased to tell you that a house call late last week ended with my purchasing a small collection of 75 books. I’m also pleased to tell you that the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair is coming up next Saturday, March 24 and I’ll be exhibiting in my usual space right inside the entrance to the main hall. Stop by if you’re in the area, and if you know you’re planning to come, leave a comment below and I can email you a free pass! And, yes, I’ll be bringing as many of those new finds as I can get priced and catalogued to the fair, so stop by if you’d like to see them.

I now have to catalogue and cover with clear, mylar dustjacket protectors all of these books by the time I leave for the fair at the end of week. Since that’s a big task, and, frankly, not one I’m sure I will completely accomplish given my other responsibilities, I’m going to take a blogging break until I return from the fair so I can do my best to get the job done. My plan for the week is to be a book cataloguing machine.  You can expect a full report on the fair when I return.

Meanwhile, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in our usual way around here:

The Leprechaun visited, and though he was disappointed that everyone around here has grown up so much that they no longer build a trap, he left his footprints, a card, and a couple of treats behind.

I baked two loaves of Irish Soda Bread (my Nana’s recipe, which came from her mother, who came to this country from Ireland at the turn of the 20th century). One of our longtime St. Patrick’s Day traditions — one that’s been around even longer than the Leprechaun trap — is that we make a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner for some friends and sometimes for extended family, too. None of them are of Irish descent, but they’re all coming over for a big meal later tonight. I haven’t got the heart to tell them that I have yet to meet anyone who actually lives in Ireland who actually eats Corned Beef and Cabbage. It’s an Irish-American dish, sure.

I took a few minutes to have a hot cup of “tay” from my Irish china teacup:

And, even though they are getting too grown up for Leprechaun traps, Tom and Huck will never be too old for mischief.  They got this shirt for our dog, Molly. We got her eight years ago on St. Patrick’s Day (hence her Irish name).  We don’t ever dress her in clothes. We’re just not the sorts who think dogs need clothes, but put Tom, Huck, a holiday, and the clearance bin at Target together and here you go:

Molly, though she is a grand little dog, is not amused. You can tell by her face that she finds covering her gloriously soft fur with a t-shirt from Target to be extremely undignified.

I think that once Molly can get this shirt off, she will be quite content to sit at my feet, undisturbed by the boys, while I catalogue the recent acquisitions this week.

See you at the book fair!


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Chapter 711 More Scholarship Opportunities For Those Wishing To Further Their Bookish Education

I am pleased to tell you about two scholarships which I did not mention in my previous post about the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, Rare Book School, and California Rare Book School.

First, you are probably aware from reading previous blog posts here that my very own mentor, Mr. Z of Tavistock Books, is a bookseller who has been very generous to me and to many other new booksellers with his time, with his advice, and even with his reference book library.  He has even offered a free, annual Reference Book Workshop for many years.  He has been generous because he wants to see those truly interested in learning the antiquarian bookselling trade become great booksellers.  To that end, Mr. Z is, for the first time, offering the Tavistock Books Educational Scholarship. From the Rare Book School website:

The Tavistock Books Educational Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship opportunity that is available to all antiquarian booksellers interested in taking Joel Silver’s course, “Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books” (L-25), at RBS in Charlottesville, Virginia. One Tavistock Scholarship will be awarded in 2012. Preference will be given to individuals in the early stages of their careers and to those who would not otherwise be able to attend RBS without scholarship assistance.

To apply for the Tavistock scholarship, please submit a 2012 summer application to RBS no later than 16 April 2012. In a cover letter, discuss your reasons for applying for the scholarship to attend “Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books”; please include a brief description of your work in the antiquarian book trade, financial needs, and other relevant information. While not required, a recommendation letter from an ABAA member to accompany the application would be beneficial. Scholarship applicants will be notified of decisions by 30 April 2012.

The Tavistock Books Educational Scholarship is only available for “Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books” during the 23—27 July 2012 session in Charlottesville, Virginia.

If you’re reading this, Mr. Z, thanks so much for all you’ve done for me and for many other antiquarian booksellers who are learning the trade! We all appreciate it!

The second scholarship opportunity is offered by the Northern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABAA). That just so happens to be the chapter to which I was recently elected Secretary.  As such, it’s my job to make sure people know about the George Kane Memorial Scholarship.

George Robert Kane Memorial Scholarship

Application for Summer/Fall 2012

In memory of long-time member George Robert Kane (Oct. 6, 1913 – Nov. 28, 2009), the Northern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America announces the availability of an Educational Scholarship. In the interest of promoting professionalism and education relevant to the antiquarian book trade, persons currently working in or actively pursuing a career in the book trade are especially encouraged to apply. The Scholarship will pay tuition cost (to $1,200) for participation in a course of study offered by the following programs in the Summer/Fall of 2012:

California Rare Book School (Los Angeles)

Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (Colorado Springs)

Rare Book School (Charlottesville, Virginia)

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m., May 11, 2012. The NCC/ABAA will notify scholarship applicants of its award decision via email by May 25, 2012. Scholarship applications may be submitted via an email attachment to the Chapter Secretary, Chris Lowenstein, at or by regular mail to Chris Lowenstein, Chapter Secretary, c/o Book Hunter’s Holiday, 3182 Campus Drive #205, San Mateo, CA 94403.

To apply for the NCC/ABAA Educational Scholarship, please provide the following:

•            A completed copy of the application form.

•            A personal statement or essay (no longer than two pages) in which you describe your past or current experience in the world of rare books, your goals for the future, and what you hope to gain from the studies afforded by this scholarship.

•            Professional references or letters of recommendation are welcome, but not required.

To request an application, please contact Chris Lowenstein/Book Hunter’s Holiday at:  chris AT bookhuntersholiday DOT com.

What are you waiting for? If either of these scholarships might help you, go ahead and apply! You’ll never know if you don’t try.

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 710 It’s That Time Of Year Again

What time of year is that, you wonder?

It’s that time of year when I remind you of the many excellent educational opportunities for booksellers and all of the corresponding scholarship opportunities. (If you know of a program I left out, please leave a comment and let me know.)

First, there’s the wonderful Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. If you are considering becoming an antiquarian bookseller, if you have recently started your business, and even if you’ve had a bookselling business for years, this seminar will teach you more than you thought possible in one short week. In addition to that, you will leave having met many more booksellers than you already know. I attended the seminar myself in 2007, shortly after I opened Book Hunter’s Holiday, and five years later it is still very helpful in the day-to-day way that I conduct my business.  Here are ten good reasons you should consider attending this seminar.

Next up is Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.  Another bookseller once described it to me as “graduate school for booksellers”. With specialized courses such as Introduction to the Principles of Bibliographic Description and Book Illustration Processes to 1900 offered to booksellers, collectors, and librarians, these week-long courses will help you sharpen skills used on a daily basis by antiquarian booksellers — skills in identifying, researching, and writing about books. I had the great good fortune to attend Rare Book School in 2009. Are you wondering whether Rare Book School is for you? You can read about the details of my experience there here, here, and here.

Across the country from Virginia’s Rare Book School is California Rare Book School, on the campus of UCLA. With similar specialized courses to its companion school at the University of Virginia, California Rare Book School offers courses this year such as History, Identification, and Preservation of Photographic Materials and Old Books for Young Children. I took a course called Books of the Far West at California Rare Book School in 2008. If you’re wondering what it was like, you can read about my experience in more detail here and here.

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Well, rare book schools and antiquarian book seminars are all very well and good and there’s no question that they’d be useful for me, but these things cost money.” Having applied to these programs not long after I had opened my business, I wasn’t sure I had the cash flow to attend.  I am happy to say that I have twice benefited from partial and full scholarships to these excellent programs. Sure, it’s possible to apply and not receive a scholarship, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Go ahead. Dream a bit about what your business can be. Dreaming is good. But then take some steps to make your dream happen. Good luck!

There’s help. There are, in fact, many scholarships and partial scholarships available (many more than when I attended these programs a few years ago), and the time to start applying for these is now.

Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar Scholarships.

Rare Book School, University of Virginia Scholarships.

California Rare Book School, UCLA Scholarships.

Tomorrow:  One More Scholarship Opportunity

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 709 Barter Books, Or, The Story of “Keep Calm and Carry On”

I have a goal in mind. Some may call it a fantasy, but it’s real. It’s a goal. I will do it some day, even if it’s not for years. (Oh, my, this goal is starting to sound a lot like Catalogue #2.) My goal is to take a literary tour of England. I’ve been there once before, years ago, for a few days shortly after graduating college. I visited some of the usual tourist spots — London (the British Library!), Stratford (birthplace of Shakespeare!), Cambridge (I liked it so much when I visited that I sent my parents a postcard asking them to send money so I could stay and go to school there — they didn’t).

Even though I’ve been lucky enough to visit England once, I didn’t have enough time to see many of the places I wanted to. I’d like to go to London Rare Books School. I’d like to tour the Lake District (home of Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth and other poets). I’d like to visit Oxford. I’d like to tour a grand old country house. I’d like to enjoy tea and a scone the British way. But most of all, when I return, I’d like to visit the bookshops of England.

I was reminded of my goal of visiting England and its bookshops when I saw this video today about Barter Books, which is one of the most beautiful bookshops I’ve seen in a while.

I’m adding this place to the list of things I’d like to see when I get to England some day. I think you should, too. Meanwhile, Keep Calm and Carry On!

See you in the stacks!


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Chapter 708 “We May Live Without Friends, We May Live Without Books” . . . I Hope I Never Have To

I had a house call this weekend, and purchased a few new books which, if you can make it, you will see at the upcoming Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair, to be held March 24. On the cover of one of the books, a cook book, is the following verse:

While I agree that “civilized man cannot live without cooks,” I’m not so sure I like the part that says, “We may live without friends, we may live without books . . .”  I suppose we may live without those things, but I sure hope I never have to.

We’re busy around here this week managing one sick child, school, several basketball practices, and one Championship basketball game on Thursday night! Keep your fingers crossed that Tom will feel better in time for his game and that, having won two playoff games over the weekend, they win their big game Thursday night. Also, let’s hope that Huck stays healthy so I don’t have to deal with two sick kids at once. 🙂

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 707 Lots of Links

From time to time, on the various bookseller and librarian chat lists, people share links to resources they’ve found handy for research. Thinking that these might also be handy for me (and maybe you, dear reader?), I want to save these links, so I’m posting them here.  Following are a list of a few of the most recent sites that have come to my attention:

A Chronology of Office Copying Processes, derived from Luis Nadeau’s Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic, and Photomechanical Processes (1993). It lists 64 processes and describes them and the papers and inks used.

From the blog Bibliofile:  “Photo+Design (a division of Yale University ITS / Academic Technologies), has produced a free introductory guide to handling rare books and other works on paper in libraries’ special collections … which was vetted by Yale conservators and curators. “Rare Book Photography: An Introduction” explains handling and photographic practices that support libraries’ preservation aims and the needs of researchers in clear language accompanied by many illustrations.

From the University of Barcelona, “The database Printers’ Devices of the Ancient Book Section of the Library of the University of Barcelona, was launched in October of 1998.

The working methodology used is directly tied to the cataloguing process of ancient books, approaching the printers in parallel to the elaboration of the bibliographic records. In this way, the printers’ authority records incorporated to the catalogue, are made available to the public thorough the database Printers’ Devices, together with the corresponding image or images.

Given this approach to the input process, the criteria of inclusion of the different entries are neither chronological nor geographical. And so, the database covers from the XVI to the XVIII century, and geographically from all around Europe but mostly from Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany and Low Countries, reflecting the collection’s own personality.

The Database offers a link from the printers’ entries to the corresponding bibliographical records in the Catalogue of the Library of the University of Barcelona that includes them as a secondary entry, as well as a link to the bibliographical record of the book from which we have obtained the image of the device.”

For booksellers and collectors who use BookHound software to keep track of their book purchases and sales comes the welcome announcement that Bibliopolis is releasing an updated version of the software, BookHound 8.

Also, over the past couple of months I’ve added three new (to me) blogs to my sidebar, all written by booksellers, all instructive and entertaining, and all blogs you should consider taking a look at. The first is Greg Gibson’s (Ten Pound Island Book Company) Bookman’s Log. The second is Bibliodeviancy . . . Book Lust Unbound, the blog of Adrian Harrington Rare Books.

I’d also like to introduce you to the blog of a bookseller who recently joined our ranks, Triolet Rare Books. Jesse Rossa was recently featured as one of Fine Books & Collections’ “Bright Young Things” and recently exhibited at the San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print, and Paper Fair.

Well, that’s a lot of links! Hope you’ll find them useful.  I’m off to two basketball games (Tom) and one flag football game (Huck).  I haven’t posted about the boys in quite a while, but they’ve been busy growing up anyway.

Here’s Tom, now age 13 and caught mid-air at a recent basketball game, He’s a little over six feet (2 meters) tall and is in the white uniform, #3):

Here’s Huck, age 11, and ready to give an oral report in History on John Paul Jones, father of the American Navy.  He’s dressed in costume for the report.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors

Chapter 706 No, The ABAA Is Not A Misspelled Fan Club for Disco Supergroup ABBA, Or, Benefits of ABAA Membership

When I started Book Hunter’s Holiday in 2007, I spent considerable time wondering whether I could or should become a member of the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America). I knew that the three book fairs sponsored by the ABAA are the largest in the United States, and I was fortunate to find a mentor who was already a member of this distinguished group of antiquarian booksellers. I was also lucky that my mentor invited me as his guest to local meetings of the Northern California Chapter of the ABAA so I could get to know some of the bookseller members of the group and check it out for myself. Not everyone is so fortunate. What is a new bookseller to do if he doesn’t know any members of the ABAA or doesn’t know about much about how to go about joining this grand organization? Keep reading.

Are you an antiquarian bookseller? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an ABAA  member or thought about joining this trade association of the best rare booksellers in the United States?

On March 7, at 2:00 p.m. ET, you can learn about the history of the organization, its goals, and its requirements for membership as well as participate in a question and answer session by signing up for an informational “Webinar” (an internet-based seminar). To learn more about it and to sign up to participate, be sure and click here.

UPDATED:  Read a report of a bookseller who participated in the last Webinar here.

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Chapter 705 Book Fair Hangovers, My Assistant, and Book Themed Teapots

It’s Saturday. I still have what I like to call “Book Fair Hangover”. Book Fair Hangover does not refer to drunkenness; it refers instead to putting things right after returning home from a book fair. Almost two weeks later, and I still have yet to unpack any of the boxes of books. I also still have to enter the invoices I wrote at both the San Francisco and Los Angeles fairs in my computer. Mostly, I spent the last two weeks shipping some books, writing about the fairs, catching up on emails (853 in a 10 day period, business and personal) and voice mails (22 non-urgent phone calls needing to be returned), replenishing the groceries, and doing laundry in my new washing machine. The old one was beyond repair and TH had it replaced while I was away at the book fairs.

After living without a washing machine in the week before the fairs began, I have never been so thankful to have a working washing machine. I could not make time to do anything bookish without it.  I have christened it My Assistant. When I refer to My Assistant, people assume that  I am referring to an employee, perhaps a cataloguer or book scout of some sort. No, not for me the run-of-the-mill assistant. My Assistant lives out in my garage, far away from the books. She can’t even read or write and it’s useless to try to teach her about antiquarian books, but she has three temperatures and a spin cycle and she gets our clothes sparkling clean in a jiffy.

Sprinkled in between all of the above were Tom and Huck’s basketball playoffs and their corresponding practices, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and guitar lessons. These require lots of driving after school on my part. Remember all those meals I cooked in advance and froze for future busy nights? We’ve eaten all them as I tried to get caught up.  They have been my saving grace since returning home from the fairs. It has been my pleasure not to have to answer the question, “What’s for dinner tonight?” as I sifted through messages and plotted blog posts. I now need to cook more of them and replenish my supply.

February has been a whirlwind — how is it that we are already at the last week of the month? Since it is the weekend, I am going to make my menu plan for the week and go grocery shopping. After that, I’m giving myself permission to take a break with a recent acquisition while My Assistant toils in the garage. The recent acquisition — my latest book-themed teapot. I love this one — it’s a bookshop!

And these. These have been waiting for me to read since early February.

I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive, the day where I sit with a hot pot of tea in a bookish teapot and perform my book nerd ritual of reading all the bookish journals for almost as long as I waited for the book fairs.

See you in the stacks!

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