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!

Leave a comment

Filed under A Bookseller's Education

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!


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, A Family Business, Book Related Products, Uncategorized

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under A Family Business

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Internet Resources for Booksellers and Book Collectors, Organization

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!

1 Comment

Filed under Book Fairs, Book Related Products

Chapter 704 Also Seen Around the Book Fair in Pasadena, Or, Legends of Southern California

I have a few more photos from the book fair to share with you, photos of various books, booksellers, and related items.  Hope you enjoy!

I just like the cover of this book, and its title fits the way I will remember this particular book fair:

IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) Officers — Vice President Howard Prouty of ReadInk on the left and President Joachim Koch of Books Tell You Why on the right.

I am in love with the hand-colored frontispiece of this miniature book:

Cute series books from Tavistock Books:

I’m a sucker for Italian books with lovely bindings (yes, these shown below are mine, some of which sold during the course of the fair). If you have any like these, and are interested in selling them, please let me know.

You can’t go to southern California without thinking about the movies.  This circa 1887 Isaiah West Taber photo album of San Francisco, Yosemite, and parts of southern California is ready for its close up. Coming soon to a theater near you . . .

. . . it’s ABAA Book Fair, The Movie! No, really. Cinestories is making a short promotional piece about the book fair and filmed many of the books on display at the fair, including a couple of my own. I really hope my books don’t end up on the cutting room floor. I and many other booksellers were also interviewed for the short film they’re making.  It was exhilarating and exciting! It was also extremely awkward! I am definitely not a natural in front of a camera. I made them let me “practice” my answers once so that I could avoid saying aloud California-isms that, after living here my entire life, I cannot avoid saying, things like “like” and “um” and the worst one of all, “totally awesome!” What kind of antiquarian bookseller says “totally awesome”?  (Answer: Apparently I do when nervous or excited, but I try to keep that to my internal dialogue with myself. It’s not pretty on-screen or at a dignified antiquarian book fair.)

Nervousness aside, it was totally awesome being interviewed. 🙂

I didn’t get enough of a chance to leave my booth and walk around and take more photographs, so these next are from my own booth again. Note to self: Do not expect to have time to walk around at a fair with 200 booksellers if you expect to stay at your booth and sell books to the 2,500 people who walked through the door. Next time, enlist a friend as an assistant. Assistants are, like, totally awesome! I’m sorry. I’m in a humorous mood today, and I can’t help myself. At least I have until now avoided the other really awful California colloquialism — totally rad.  As in, my bookselling good luck charm — the Dante bookend  — is totally rad and I am so glad he came to this fair to bring me good luck.

My other bookselling good luck charms — a poker chip from a poker tournament I won and a St. John medal. St. John of God is the patron saint of booksellers. He was himself a bookseller in Spain in the 1500s.  I bring these good luck charms along because I need all the help I can get and to remind me that antiquarian bookselling is part having good books, part knowledge and skill, part gambling, and part hoping and praying that your fair is a good one.

One of the best things about a book fair is that you often dine out or have drinks with colleagues at the end of the day. Some of my colleagues are real foodies, always seeking out the best restaurant in town or the most exotic type of food. Bookselling adventures combined with culinary adventures are terrific. It’s always a pleasure to eat with my food-loving friends, because then you get desserts like this one:

Totally rad:  Ken Sanders, me, and Cynthia Gibson being regaled with antiquarian bookselling legends in the Sheraton lounge at the end of the last day of the fair.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Book Fairs