Category Archives: Collecting

The Migratory Habits of Booksellers

By Kate Mitas

Ahh, book fair season is upon us once more: when booksellers of every stripe take to the skies and highways of America in search of fresh resources and temporary bibliophilic nesting grounds. It’s one of the book trade’s enduring mysteries, and a sight to behold. Drawn by forces scientists have not yet managed to explain — collective memory, blind professional instinct, shifts in the earth’s magnetic field, or merely the prospect of good food and drink with colleagues — flocks of booksellers converge for weekends at a time in cities and towns across the country, clogging bar stools and sharing vast quantities of hugs, trade knowledge and alcohol. Here, they perform the time-honored ritual of artfully displaying their brightest finds for local bibliophiles and librarians to admire, in the hopes of attracting paying customers and thus ensuring continued survival. It’s an improbable business model in the best of times, and the second decade of the 21 st century is not, alas, the best of times. It’s hard to know these days if exhibiting at book fairs is increasingly an exercise in magical thinking — an evolutionary failure to adapt, with portents of incipient dodo-ism – or an increasingly necessary means of making available the real, tactile wonder of books (and ephemera, etc.) and advocating for the pleasures of owning them.

Setting up!

Setting up!

In a bizarre reversal, Tavistock Books kicked off the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair in style and with a degree of hope, toasting a decent showing at the Sacramento fair and our just-released catalogue with a glass of champagne in the American Express lounge at SFO. Contrary to last year’s comedy of bad luck, no van wrecks preceded our departure, and, though we didn’t know it yet, no luggage would be lost en route. Our books, along with those of a whopping 14 other California booksellers, were already waiting at the venue, thanks to the combined might and keen packing skills of road warriors Brad Johnson (The Book Shop) and Jesse Rossa (Triolet Books). If the décor of the Amex lounge – typical neutral airport fare with an upscale twist, backed by a wall-length display behind the bar composed of old 1940s-style suitcases, radios and cheap “antique” books (of the World Book Encyclopedia variety), its warm shades of red and yellow the only color in the place – hinted at an ominous book nostalgia underway around us, we chose to disregard it. Besides, we’d already begun drinking before noon.

As usual, Louis Collins was running a tip-top operation once we got to Seattle, complete with roving bands of equipment crews and free coffee and pastries for exhibitors. The venue was hot, as is always the case, but a brisk pre-fair business left many dealers looking pleased, if glistening. In yet another odd reversal, this time I found myself offering occasional tips to fellow assistant and booth-mate Jeremy Reidel, of Books Tell You Why, doing an admirable job of setting up his first solo booth display. The inevitable rain the following day did nothing to dispel the crowds of fairgoers, given an extra boost by the Ephemera Society, and even Sunday brought a significant number of people into the fair. And, through it all, strangely enough, the Tavistock booth stayed relatively busy. We weren’t selling things hand over fist, to be sure, but we kept selling things: to collectors, institutions, old customers, fellow booksellers, all day Saturday and, to a lesser extent, on Sunday, too. All in all, it was a frankly surreal turn of events. Had the good ship Tavistock finally broken its bad luck streak?

To some extent, astonishing though it may be to admit: yes. Unlike many at the fair, it seems, we had good sales this time around, or at least good enough to cover our expenses and cost of goods and make a little profit, to boot. The buying was decent, and we walked away from a pre-fair Sunday morning trip to Taylor Bowie’s shop loaded with armfuls of great new cookery material. Not to mention this lovely eye-catching poster, scouted by Vic in the first few minutes of set-up and soon to be catalogued (contact us for details if interested):

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I even found a book for myself . . . from our own booth, much to Vic’s endless delight, which I eventually bought after hiding it from the customers all morning. As Vic has been fond of telling people, however, we probably made somewhere around $1.38 an hour – and that’s not including potential missed sales from the shop being closed, the costs of repairing at least one book that didn’t weather the journey and extra handling, etc. So did we really come out ahead, in the end?

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All dressed up!

I’d like to think there’s more to it than just number-crunching. That, in some incalculable way, discussing Stephen Greenblatt with a long-time Seattle-area collector branching into Renaissance studies, or helping a new customer find just the right early nursing books for her research, or getting a whirlwind lesson in medieval paleography from Kait Manning (Philip Pirages) and being schooled in maritime journals by Greg Gibson (Ten Pound Island Book Co.), or simply being part of a physical, non-virtual book presence in the life of a community once a year, amounts to something. It’s too damn fun not to.

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Happy Birthday to our Favorite Children’s Book Serialist… Mr. Edward L. Stratemeyer!

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By Margueritte Peterson

On October 4th, 1862, a children’s literature tycoon was born. With his humble beginnings, of course, no one ever would have suspected that a talented writer and publisher was in their midst. Stratemeyer was born the youngest of six children in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a young tobacconist and his wife. Both of Edward’s parents had immigrated from Hanover, Germany in 1837, and yet Stratemeyer’s main language was English growing up. 

As a child, Stratemeyer read Horatio Alger often, enjoying his rags-to-riches tales immensely. He later was said to have remarked on how much Alger’s stories influenced him as a young man, and gave him some of the confidence he later used to begin his career. It looks as though even as a teenager Stratemeyer had some idea of what he wanted to do as an adult, as he opened his own amateur printing press in the basement of his father’s tobacco store. He printed local & homemade flyers and pamphlets, and a few short stories such as The Newsboy’s Adventure and The Tale of a Lumberman. After graduating high school, Stratemeyer worked daily in his father’s shop, and kept up printing a few items here and there. It wasn’t until he turned 26 that he sold his first story to popular children’s periodical Golden Days, and received $76 for his contribution (a fact that the helpful internet informs us was over six times the average weekly paycheck for the average US citizen at the time). 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-20-45-amAfter experiencing this hint of fame and riches, the young writer moved to the larger city of Newark (NJ) and opened a paper shop. He continued to write while earning his daily bread, and penned stories in many different genre’s – short westerns, serials for New England periodicals, dime novels, detective fiction… you name it, he wrote it (well, perhaps except for romances. But I digress). In 1893, just three short years after moving to Newark, Stratemeyer was hired by well-known dime-novel author Gilbert Patten to write for the Street & Smith periodical popular with young boys & men at the time, Good News. Stratemeyer was a popular editor & author at the magazine. 

Just a year later in 1894, Stratemeyer began publishing some of his stories as hardcover novels, the first of which being Richard Dare’s Venture – part of the Bound to Succeed series. Though his first four novels sold reasonably well, the publisher of the stories, Merriam, was unable to publish any further stories due to an economic depression that struck the United States in the late 1890s. Stratemeyer wouldn’t be sad for long, however, as shortly thereafter publisher W. L. Allison picked up his books and published twelve of his titles, and in 1899 an amazing thing happened to young Stratemeyer… he was asked to finish writing for two of his childhood heroes! 

Our affordable copy of The Rover Boys on the River, one of the series known to be Stratemeyer's favorite!

Our affordable copy of The Rover Boys on the River, one of the series known to be Stratemeyer’s favorite! See it here>

First Stratemeyer was asked by Lee & Shepard to pen the last book in a series begun by “Oliver Optic”, of William T. Adams. Adams had passed away before being able to complete the series, and the fans were left with baited breath. Around the same time, author Horatio Alger’s health was declining and he was also unable to finish his writings. Stratemeyer began work on Alger’s stories shortly before Alger’s death in 1899. Alger’s sister Olive negotiated with Stratemeyer to complete some of Alger’s stories that remained as notes or early chapters but that were never finished, and publish them under Alger’s name. The first popular series that Stratemeyer wrote was known as The Rover Boys – an instant success and a series that achieved immense popularity. Stratemeyer is even said to have mentioned that this series was his favorite throughout the years of authorship and publication!

In 1905, just a few short years later, Stratemeyer formed the Stratemeyer Literary Syndicate and began hiring journalists and other writers to pen stories based on his plot ideas. Stratemeyer paid each author a flat rate for the books they submitted, and then kept all of the copyrights to the novels themselves. The journalists wrote under pen names, which also allowed different authors to publish books in the same series. In this vein, printer, author and publisher Stratemeyer was now acting as a “literary agent” for ghostwriters in a way. 

Through the Syndicate, Stratemeyer would be the imagination behind quite a few immensely popular series books, including the Tom Swift series, the Bobbsey Twins, the Hardy Boys, and the Nancy Drew books. Though there are many more titles and series under the Syndicate’s name, these are the most well-remembered today. After Stratemeyer’s death in 1930 at the age of 67, the ownership of the Syndicate was passed on to his two daughters, Harriet and Edna. At first, the sisters thought to sell the Syndicate, but quickly realized that they preferred to keep their father’s business alive. They went on the keep the Syndicate running for twelve years together, and then Harriet kept the Syndicate together until her death in 1982. 

Today, Edward Stratemeyer’s books are largely considered some of the most beloved and well-known children’s series books in the business. They certainly opened a door for series books, and gave many authors the ability to write a be published (even if it wasn’t under their name and they had no rights to their work… but regardless). Happy Birthday to Edward L. Stratemeyer!

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[Insert Clever Title Here]

By Kate Mitas

One thing has become abundantly clear since I worked my first book fair a year ago: these post-fair blogs have gotten harder to write. I’m no longer the wide-eyed book fair ingenue I once was, after all, fresh off the bus (or pickup truck, as the case may be) from Ohio and armed with a stranger’s gaze at life on this side of the display cases. The same array of minor catastrophes, clothing fails, relentless anxieties, and even, on occasion, small triumphs, still happen, of course, and I can only assume will continue to do so at every book fair I work, ever. Vic will go on being grumpy and morosely pessimistic before every show; other booksellers will, invariably, be helpful and generous, not to mention gratifyingly abundant in their teasing of Vic when he wanders off to scout other booths or simply dozes in his chair while I sweat through the set-up. We’ll do well, or we won’t, and I’ll probably never fully understand why. It’s not that these details are unimportant, just that they’ve lost the sheen of novelty. The honeymoon, in other words, is over. And yet, on this anniversary of my first year on the book fair circuit, having just closed out the Fall 2016 Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair with its usual vendors, in their usual booths, visited by many of the usual customers, what strikes me is not that all book fairs are essentially alike. It’s that the more things stay the same, or appear to, the more they change.

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The Sacramento fair is a well-run local show, tirelessly promoted by Avant Retro’s Jim Kay and reliably filled with customers. Free pizza and cold beverages on set-up day ensure a moderately happy (or at least, not overly cranky) group of booksellers, and Jim opens the doors bright and early on fair day proper for any latecomers. Dealers come to buy as much as to sell, manage their expectations accordingly, and are generally not overly disappointed one way or the other. As fairs go, it’s a steady workhorse, no more and no less, and this year was no exception.

kate-at-the-sac-fairThe temperature was already inching over 90 degrees when we pulled into the parking lot at the Scottish Rite Temple on H Street, but Q (Queue? surely that would be too ironic . . . ) and his fellow crewman were undaunted as they wheeled load after load of books and bookcases into the venue. Vic promptly went off to prowl any exposed stock, and I started in on cleaning out the display cases, sorting, and, in general, making myself useful. Bill Bastick of Asian Steppes, whose booth was situated as usual across the aisle, joked about my slave status, as is his wont; Michael Good (Michael Good Books) stopped by to ask what was taking me so long; Judith Mason (Cultural Images) pointed out a nonexistent fingerprint I’d missed; James Dourgarian (James M. Dourgarian, Bookman) asked if I’d brought any ice to soothe Vic’s aching muscles after his herculean labors on our booth; Kim Hafer Herrick (The Book Lair) gave Vic bourbon and me chocolate, thus ensuring both of our lifelong friendships; Taylor Bowie (manning the booth for John Michael Lang Fine Books) and I discussed books; and . . . er, well, both Laurelle Swan (Swan’s Fine Books) and Kol Shaver (Zephyr Used & Rare Books) pointed out that customers would have an easier time reading the titles of our books if they weren’t upside-down, observations they kindly made while Vic was out of earshot, and which I speedily remedied. All in all, it was the usual delightful camaraderie, and, eventually, I even managed to get the booth set up. And sold something while I was at it, too, getting our fair off to a promising start.

img_3235As you may know, Tavistock hasn’t always had the best of luck at book fairs, shall we say: my first Sacramento fair was resoundingly dismal, in fact, as were most of the following fairs we exhibited at. So I’ve learned to approach these with a certain amount of trepidation. Nevertheless, as the fair opened on Saturday with a steady stream of visitors to our booth, and purchases poured in from Vic’s successful scouting, I began to feel cautiously optimistic. I even had a good find, at least for myself: a copy of Books and Bidders snagged for a whopping $4, and now next in line on my reading list. Sales and crowds continued throughout the day, and while not all of the dealers I talked to had a successful fair, Tavistock did . . . really well. On all fronts. It was strange and wonderful, and for the first time, we left a fair with a spring in our step.

Does this mean we’ll magically do well in Seattle, too? Of course not. When I say I have no idea why one fair is better than another, I’m not joking. I’d like to think, though, that this might just be the beginning of a run of successful fairs for the good ship Tavistock, or that at the very least Vic will have more finds like this lovely 1976 poster supporting the land reclamation and establishment of the Mohawk community of Ganienkeh, in New York:

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To be catalogued shortly… if interested, please send us an email!

And as for that pesky problem of having become an old hand on the book fair circuit? I’ve lost my privileged outsider status, it’s true. But you know what? It’s more of a privilege than ever to get to hang out with fellow booksellers and bibliophiles for a day or two.

See you next time.

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We out!

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Welcome to the Biennial Reference Book Workshop with Tavistock Books (For All You Lazies Who Didn’t Sign Up)

By Vic Zoschak and Margueritte Peterson

1. Hooray! Another Reference Book Workshop! Who attended and how was the vibe of the event in your eyes?

This was like the 11th or 12th I’ve hosted this workshop since the first in 2001.  Due to space constraints, I limit registration to 7, which was attained this year shortly after the announcement but relatively late cancellations dropped us to 4 folk that actually attended.  Diane Black, Holly Chaffee, Zayda Delgado & David Guest.  Zayda a librarian at the beginning of her career at UC Riverside; the other 3 individuals are booksellers with varying degrees of experience in the trade.  This a typical mix of workshop attendees as the workshop is designed to help new[ish] booksellers who may not be familiar with the standard rare book bibliographies & references, but can also be useful to rare book librarians who need to know those works, as well as collectors just embarking on their collecting journey [though usually collectors have an interest in just one of the 4 subject areas].

I think the day went ok…  as I explain to all at the beginning of the workshop, it’s designed to just be a survey, and exposure thereto, of those basic references in four primary subject areas [English & American Literature, Americana, Childrens & Early Printed Books] which one will need in the daily course of business as a generalist antiquarian shop.  Which is to say, I know the divers volumes will begin to all ‘run together’ by the end of the first segment.  The challenge for me, as host, is to somehow be able to ascribe some aspect of uniqueness to each & every one such that the volumes retain their individuality.

I’ll leave it to the participants to say how successful I was at that effort!

2. How did this past Saturday differ from previous workshops?

Not much different really…  people ask questions, different paths are taken during the course of the day, other areas are explored.  Two of the individuals were from Nevada, so during the Americana section, I added a few Nevada refs that I thought they should know.  One thing I did note… during breaks all 4 individuals were scouring the shelves of the shop, to a degree more detailed than I had noted in the past few workshops.  True book people!

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The lunch group at Alameda’s Katsu Sushi House!

3. What is your favorite part of the day?

Lunch!

As you can imagine, I’m the primary talker during the day, and it can be a bit draining…  so at lunch, which I host, it’s a chance for the participants to chat with each other, with me, with Kate, and perhaps discuss other topics of interest, with those topics not necessarily being entirely relevant to the day’s subjects.  While we do introductions at the beginning of the day, lunch a time where we have an opportunity to say more than “Hi, my name is …. and I’m here to learn ….”.  So I get to find out more about the folks that have joined me for the day, while listening, not necessarily talking.  I find it relaxing & collegial.

4. What is the most useful part of the workshop for newbies? Or, would you recommend this workshop for newbies, over, say, RBS or CalRBS?

I’m not sure I can point to a specific aspect as ‘most useful’, as that is determined by each attendee, and as such, can be different for each individual.  I can say that when I hold up a certain reference book, and introduce it with “This reference book made me $5000” the booksellers usually perk up & pay attention.

Which segues into one aspect of the workshop I try to continually emphasis…  the web has lots of useful information available, but it has yet, in my experience, to supersede the reference book library.  In my opinion, it still takes both to successfully run a generalist antiquarian business.

While I wouldn’t recommend this workshop ‘over’ RBS or CALRBS, it does have the advantage of being 1 day, vice 5, and the cost is minimal, e.g., there is no entry fee, as I give the class gratis.  That said, I do tell people this the beginner version of Joel Silver’s week long ‘Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books’, and I encourage them to attend his class [RBS L-25] if they found mine interesting and/or useful.  Tavistock Books even offers a scholarship* to his class.

* here’s a link to the RBS Class description: <http://rarebookschool.org/courses/library/l25/>

**  a link to info regarding the Tavistock Books Educational Scholarship to L-25 (scroll to the bottom): <http://rarebookschool.org/admissions-awards/scholarships/>

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5. Kate’s opinion – this was your first Reference Book Workshop, right? Was there anything that you learned that you didn’t already know, even having been working for Vic for the last year? 

This was indeed my first reference book workshop, of any kind, and I’m glad I got to sit in on it. Despite the fact that I’ve had access to both Vic and his stellar reference library for over a year now, and am even in the process of inventorying that library, I learned plenty on Saturday. I haven’t yet handled all of the kinds of material that would require using each of the references Vic discussed with the class, for one thing — as with any bookshop, certain kinds of books are more likely to come through the door than others — so some reference titles were entirely new to me. Also, the workshop offered a chance for me to think critically about some of the references I only had a glancing familiarity with, and about bibliographic research in general. For instance, does McKerrow’s Dictionary of Printers & Booksellers, 1557 – 1650 cover instances of surreptitious publications? What exactly is the difference between Worldcat and OCLC? How can a bookseller research works by authors that might be un- or underrepresented in traditional “dead white men” bibliographies? And what makes a bibliography authoritative, anyway?

Not all of my questions were answered, naturally, but many were, and I’m happy to have food for thought. Plus, the attendees were great: interested and interesting people, and all, like me, simply trying to educate themselves about professional research materials and standards in the trade. So I can say, with absolute conviction, that it was the best reference book workshop I’ve ever attended/ eavesdropped on. And luckily for me, I get to pester the instructor any day I want from here on out . . . 

Closing remarks by V…

Finally, this may have been my last workshop….  they take a lot of energy, and I’m not the spring chicken I used to be.  Though on saying as much to Kate as we were cleaning up, she inquired, “How many times have you said that now?”  After a moment’s reflection, I replied “After each of the last 3.”  She just smiled.

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Some Books-on-Books Titles That Might Be Missing from Your Reference Library

Do you ever wonder what the most useful reference books are for your collection? Whether you are a bookseller, a librarian or even just a customer, it is important to know what you are buying, what you are selling, and what you’ve got! Reference books are one of the keys to being a responsible cataloguer, no matter your position. We at Tavistock Books boast a collection of over 3,000 reference titles from all walks of the antiquarian book world. Noting proof of what we’re selling is a top priority for us (as it should also be for you)! Not only do we offer a semi-annual Reference Book Workshop at Tavistock Books in August, but we also offer our library to trusted friends and colleagues anytime they have use of it. Interested in attending our Reference Book Workshop? Email vjz@tavbooks.com for more information on it! In the meantime, allow our master Vic Zoschak, Jr. to give you a run-down on some of our all-time favorites and the ones that come in most handy around Tavistock Books on a regular basis! Don’t forget – though we have certain specialties, we operate mainly as a generalist store with a variety of interests, and therefore have favorites in many categories!

A shot from our workshop in August, 2014.

A shot from our workshop in August, 2014.

1.  New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 660 – 1950.  Cambridge, 1970s.  5 vols, with the 5th vol an Index volume.  More a checklist than a detailed bibliography, it’s nevertheless voluminous in its coverage of UK authors, and probably is the only bibliographic source for many.  I’ll probably have to get Vol 3 (19th C) rebound, I’ve used it so much over the years.  It sits within arm-reach of my desk.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.29.19 AM2.  Cowan.  A Bibliography of the History of California, 1510 – 1930.  First published in 1914, with a revised edition issued in 1933.  I use the 1964 reprint, which includes the supplemental Vol IV, issued that year.  If you’re a California bookseller, you’ll get asked for California books & so you’ll need it. And if you collect, or sell, books regarding the far West, it’s indispensable.

 

3.  Bibliography of American Literature.  Otherwise known as the BAL.  First volume [Adams to Byrne] issued by the Yale University Press in 1955, compiled & edited by the incomparable bibliographer, Jacob Blanck.  Final, and 9th volume [Westcott to Wylie], was edited & compiled by Michael Winship, and issued by the Press in 1991, so the 9 volumes almost 40 years in the making.  It includes all 1sts [plus other stuff, see “Inclusions”, volume I], chronologically listed, of the authors included in the set, which were those that died 1930 or earlier.  All the major names [and many minor names] are included, e.g., Alcott, Clemens, James, et al.  If you’re going to do pre-1930 American lit, this set a must.

Our 1st edition copy of Eckel's Bibliography from 1913 is for sale here>

Our 1st edition copy of Eckel’s Bibliography from 1913 is for sale here>

4.  Eckel.  The First Editions of the Writings of Charles Dickens Their Points and Values.  London: 1932.  2nd Revised Edition.  As a Dickens specialist, this a ‘must have’ for me, as it covers all his primary writings, his secondary ones, and loads of other stuff.  In other words, much bang for the buck.  And even though published over 80 years ago, with some data superceded by more recent scholarship, it’s still a relevant bibliography for a general antiquarian bookseller, or Dickens collector.  For the budget minded, there are many less-costly reprints out there.

 

5.  Baumgarten.  Price Guide and Bibliographic Checklist for Children’s & Illustrated Books 1880 – 1970 [2004 Edition, which is the latest I believe].  Again, a good ‘bang for the buck’ reference for the general antiquarian shop and/or collector of children’s literature.  Over 18,000 entries, it gives you the data necessary to identify first editions, and while the pricing info is dated, it does give you a starting point with which one can extrapolate.

Now keep in mind that these are just the beginning of the pickings! We, as booksellers, use many, many reference books on a daily basis. And again, if you’ve ever been curious to know what you’ve got or how to figure out what you’ve got… they are indispensable! That is just one more reason to attend one of our Reference Book Workshops – where you’ll get a much broader idea of the important and most well-known reference books, what they cover and how to cite them correctly! Not to mention the ability to ask any reference question you need of the Reference-King Vic Zoschak! Contact us for more information! 

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Rare Books and Manuscripts Galore! We Get a Low-Down of Last Week’s RBMS Conference from Our Very Own Attendee!

Vic, how many years have you attended RBMS for now?

My first RBMS Conference, then called the Preconference for the conference precedes the big ALA event, was in San Francisco, 2002.  I was the local ABAA rep to the RBMS Local Affairs committee, and helped with things like stuffing the book bag, helping arrange the ABAA hosted reception, etc.  The conference hotel was the Fairmont, which is a lovely hotel at the top of Nob Hill.  I confess I don’t remember too many specifics of the conference itself, just have an overall impression of enjoying the week.

IMG_3096What are some of your most favorite past locales where it has been held?

Having just returned from Miami, I can definitely say that locale was one of my favorites, though one prior that does stick out was a number of years ago [2009] when the conference was held in Charlottesville, VA to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the event.  Always like travelling to Charlottesville.  Another that comes to mind was that of 2013, which was held in Minneapolis.  The reason this one is memorable is because, even though I was registrered, I had to cancel at the last minute, as I contracted a bout of pleurisy [as you may also remember!].  Ouch!


Could you give us a walk-through of this weekend, or a typical RBMS weekend? Conferences, showcases – give us the low-down!

The week is filled with sessions & panels, etc., etc.  As you might imagine, as one of the trade, not all issues germane to the librarian community has relevance to my work, however, by better understanding those issues important to my institutional clientele, I can better serve them, which is my job.  The bookseller showcase is an adjunct to the conference, which provides the curators attending the conference an opportunity to sample the wares of my colleagues & discuss with those exhibiting booksellers their needs/wants.


What have you learned at this past RBMS? What conferences did you attend and who struck you as a phenomenally great speaker?

 

The Chairman of Florida's Welcome Committee!

The Chairman of Florida’s Welcome Committee!

The individual that immediately comes to mind, Pellom McDaniels, was a speaker this year at the Thursday afternoon panel [“A Broad and Deep Look at Outreach”] held at the University of Miami.  The intent of the session was “to demonstrate the myriad ways special collections and archives can engage and interact with multiple constituencies.”  This fellow from Emory was high energy, engaged & enthusiastic.  And you could tell from his presentation, that he had achieved the goal of “engaging & interacting”.  It was good to see that, at least in his case, special collections was reaching out beyond the reading room, and showing the community the wonders that lie behind the mahogany doors.

 


Why do you do the RBMS showcase? Is it to sell? Or is it rather to meet new people? 

The intent of the showcase is to provide an opportunity for both the bookseller & the librarian communities to interact.  It is most definitely NOT a bookfair.  Remember, the booksellers are there as an adjunct to the conference, in other words, the showcase is not the main event.

 

Some of the usual suspects...

Some of the usual suspects…

Would you recommend attending RBMS to other booksellers? What about newbie booksellers? Librarians?

If institutional clientele are part of your business model, or you wish to add them to your customer list, then yes, the showcase provides an *opportunity* to do this.  Granted, it’s not the only way, just one way, especially if you are a new ABAA member, it’s one way to do so.  As for the librarian community, if your responsibilites include collection develeopment, then yes, meeting and talking with the exhibiting booksellers can help you with this facet of your job.  Afterall, if you’re fishing [for books], why not cast a wide net?

In summary, this past week was a great one-  both from a program perspective, as well as a venue.  The Biltmore Hotel is a grand old lady, whose elegance if fading somewhat, but she still outshines many younger models.  Next year’s conference will be in Iowa City.  While certainly it’ll be different than Miami, I have no doubt it too will be a success.

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Look no further… than the Latest Items at Tavistock Books!

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Does the name Victoria Lucas ring a bell to you? She’s a super famous poet! We recently wrote a blog about her, even. Not ringing with understanding yet? Hmm… she also struggled with depression her whole life and wrote some of her most famous poems at the peaks of her despair. Here’s a hint if you’re STILL confused… Victoria Lucas is her pseudonym. That’s right, ladies and gents – it’s Mrs. Sylvia Plath. And here we offer a 1st edition of her novel “The Bell Jar”! See more here>

 

 

 

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We can’t get enough of Plath around here… have you ever read her Journals? Get on that as soon as possible! But first, perhaps you’d like to spend some time with a 1st edition of her, arguably, most famous book of poetry – published, unfortunately, in 1965, two years after her death. Interested? See it here>

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 8.16.35 AMFun fact about poet Wallace Stevens – winner of the Pulitzer Prize for one of his books of poetry! He loved to visit Key West (which is evident in much of his poetry) and while there, he encountered writers and poets Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway… both of which he argued with each time! Did I say argued? Ernest Hemingway beat him to the curb outside, is what I meant. Nevertheless, Wallace was an important figure on the poetry scene, even if only for a while! His poem “The Man with the Blue Guitar” we offer here>

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A collector of cookery items and menus knows that it is difficult enough to find a menu in good shape from the beginning of the 20th century. How about a menu in VG condition… from the trenches of WWI? We wouldn’t lie to you! This menu even has a graphic illustration of soldiers confronting each other in the war. Check it out here>

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“We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher” is one of the best books depicting cowboy life that we have in our inventory today! Though born in England, “Teddy Blue” Abbott was a cowboy from a young age – once his parents moved him to Lincoln, Nebraska and his father let him try his hand a herding cattle! But oh, we shouldn’t tell you the entire story, should we? Read his memoirs here>

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We love our cookbooks here at Tavistock Books… Ever wish you could make Pea Fritters or Rice Coquettes? This book is the cookbook for you! Our “Cookery in the Golden State” is a 1st edition published in Sacramento in 1890… by our good old Unitarian Ladies! Somewhat scarce in the trade, this book will meet all your cookery collection needs! Try the recipes here>

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It is always a wonderful thing when you meet someone who truly and desperately loves where they are and what they are doing. Too often we are too apt to complain about where we’ve decided to settle! Not for Mabel Dodge Luhan and her beloved Taos, New Mexico. Her “Winter in Taos” describes her simple life from season to season, in an almost stream-of-conciousness style. She connects with the earth and finds great “pleasure in being very still and sensing things”. Find out about Luhan’s deep connection with the “deep living earth” here>

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This is not your average manuscript book… this is a book of a pharmacy’s ledger of prescriptions… from 1874! Essentially an apothecary recipe book containing innumerable medicinal formulas with ingredients and dosage instructions from an unnamed apothecary in the Boston Area at the end of the 19th century. Truthfully, we would note this as an invaluable primary source for medicinal recipes used by the US medical community in the 1870s. Forget WebMD… check it out here>

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