• <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Penguin Convention,</i> watercolor, cover for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1977. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>Agreed! No whiskey anywhere is more deluxe than Walker's DeLuxe,</i> pen, ink & watercolor, 1957. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Schulz, <i>Do you like Beethoven?,</i> pen & ink, 9-panel <i>Peanuts</i> comic, 1970. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Russell Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Nancy Drew,</i> 1944. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Arthur Rackham, <i>Danaë & the Infant Perseus,</i> watercolor, ink & wash, for Hawthorne's <i>A Wonder Book,</i> 1922. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tom Lovell, <i>I believe in magic too,</i> oil on canvas, published in <i>Woman's Home Companion,</i> 1947. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Enoch Bolles, <i>With Love...,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Wow!</i> magazine, 1931. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b><br>Rick Meyerowitz & Maira Kalman, <i>New Yorkistan,</i> pen, ink & watercolor sketch for a <i>New Yorker cover,</i> 2001. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Jessie Willcox Smith, <i>Touching,</i> watercolor for <i>The Five Senses</i> by Angela M. Keyes, 1911. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Edward Gorey, <i>ABA 75,</i> watercolor & ink, cover for <i>Publisher's Weekly,</i> 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Aubrey Beardsley, <i>Shelter,</i> pen & ink, for <i>Bon-Mots,</i> 1892. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tedd Arnold, <i>I think it was three days ago...,</i> colored pencil & watercolor, for <i>Parts,</i> 1996. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Marc Chagall. <i>Daphnis & Chloé</i>. Paris, Tériade, 1961. 42 original lithographs. One of the 10 copies for the collaborators. 80,000-120,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> [Marcel Proust] — Gaston Gallimard. Very important letters to Marcel Proust. 1912-1922. 100,000-150,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> JESUITS. <i>Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France en 1635</i> […] 1672. Period calf binding. Very rare set of letters about life in the French territories among warring Indian tribes. 12,000-18,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Gustave Flaubert. <i>Madame Bovary</i>. Paris, Michel Lévy Frères, 1857. One of the few deluxe copies, with inscription to Adolphe Gaïffe and a letter. 30,000-50,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> A. von Humboldt. <i>Essai politique sur le Royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne.</i> Paris, 1811. Period binding. Complete with the large California/Mexico map. 10,000-15,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> [Affaire Dreyfus] — Georges Clemenceau. <i>Démosthène</i>. Paris, Plon-Nourrit et Cie, 1926. Exceptional copy with an inscription to Mathieu Dreyfus, Alfred Dreyfus’ brother. 8,000-<br>12,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Guillaume Apollinaire. <i>Les trois Don Juan</i>. 1914. Unpublished inscription to Madeleine Pagès and 2 original drawings. 25,000-35,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Marcel Duchamp. <i>L.H.O.O.Q. shaved</i>. [New York, 1965]. One of the 100 deluxe signed copies. With an autographed envelope. 15,000-20,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Francis Bacon — Michel Leiris. <i>Miroir de la tauromachie</i>. [Paris], Daniel Lelong, [1990]. With 4 signed lithographs. 40,000-60,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Gilbert & George. <i>The Red Sculpture Album</i>. [Londres, Gilbert & George], 1975. One of the 100 existing copies, signed by both of the artists, comprised of 11 original photographs. 10,000-15,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Pablo Picasso — Honoré de Balzac. <i>Chef-d’œuvre inconnu</i>. Paris, Ambroise Vollard, 1931. One of the 65 deluxe copies on Japan paper, with an extra suite of the etchings. 35,000-<br>45,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Marcel Proust. <i>Les Sources sur Loir</i>. Ca 1907-1908. Handwritten manuscript. Rough draft of one of the more beautiful passages of Swann’s Way. 30,000-50,000 €

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2013 Issue

Booksellers Win Right to Resell Secondhand Books in U.S. Supreme Court Decision

Scseal

Seal of the Supreme Court.

In a major case that pitted used book sellers, libraries, museums and other retailers against book publishers, the U.S. Supreme Court came down squarely on the booksellers' side. The Court ruled that publishers may not use copyright law to prevent the owners of used books published abroad from reselling, loaning, or giving them away. You may not have realized this was even an issue, but had the lower court rulings been upheld, you might have found yourself on the losing end of a lawsuit for such behavior. No wonder such organizations as Powell's Books and the American Library Association banded together to fight this case all the way to the Supreme Court. It took an unusual coalition of Supreme Court justices, three liberals and three conservatives, to win this decision 6-3 for the booksellers and their allies.

Technically, the winner in this case was one Supap Kirtsaeng. Kirtsaeng was a student from Thailand who came to America to study at Cornell. When he went to purchase his schoolbooks, he noticed they were much more expensive in America than in Thailand. He also realized that the books were essentially the same. Kirtsaeng had good business instincts. He called the folks back home in Thailand and asked them to buy a bunch of textbooks and ship them to him. Kirtsaeng then put them up for sale, saving his student customers a bundle while making a nice profit for himself.

Publisher John Wiley and Sons was not amused. Their Thai books are stamped with a copyright notice that says they may not be exported to nations such as America. They sued Kirtsaeng.

Wiley publishes editions of its textbooks in Thailand and sells them much cheaper there. The average Thai student evidently is not as well off financially as the typical American, at least that's what Wiley believes. They realized they could sell for substantially higher prices in America. Wiley's actions can be interpreted in two ways. Wiley argues that what it is doing is making affordable instruction available to young people in poorer countries who otherwise would never get the chance to lift themselves up. This is altruism in action. They explained the cheap pricing is only possible because the costs of producing the books (other than printing) are covered by sales in America. American students, however, may have interpreted Wiley's actions as more akin to price gouging. Either way, motivation was not the issue that motivated the Supreme Court's decision. For the Court, it came down to a question of law.

The reason you can resell your used books, even though they are copyrighted by the publisher, is something called the “first sale” doctrine. This doctrine says that once the first sale has been made legally under the copyright law, the next owners are free to sell those goods indefinitely, regardless of copyright claims. So, you cannot copy a copyrighted item and sell it. That is not legal under copyright law. But, if the copyright holder sells you a book, you can resell your legally purchased copy. The publisher cannot place a notice in the book saying the purchaser may not resell his copy. Once he has purchased it, he may do as he pleases.

And yet, the contrary is exactly what Wiley printed in their books. At least, their notice limited where the used copies could be sold, in contradiction to the “first sale” doctrine that says purchasers may do as they please with the books they buy. Wiley's noticed stated, “This book is authorized for sale in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East only and may be not exported out of these territories.” However, Kirtsaeng did precisely what this warning claimed to prohibit. He exported the books out of those territories and resold them in America.

Wiley won its suit, both in the trial and in its appeal to the second highest court in the land. Kirtsaeng, who reportedly made around $100,000 selling the books, was assessed damages of $600,000. He appealed to the Supreme Court.

The case turned on something of a legal technicality in the wording of the statute. At least that's what the decision says. Sometimes, I think, courts first figure out what they think is right, and then fit the law to reach the “right” verdict. The key factor in this case was whether the word “under” in the statute implied a geographical or non-geographical meaning. Non-legal minds might think this legalistic nitpicking, but all of those booksellers and librarians, and Mr. Kirtsaeng, who just saved $600,000, are breathing a sigh of relief. Here's how the ruling went down.

As noted, the “first sale” doctrine allows a buyer to resell his books and other merchandise legally purchased as he sees fit. However, that doctrine applies only to goods “lawfully made under this title” (U.S. copyright law). Wiley argued a geographical meaning to the terminology “under this title.” Books published under U.S. copyright law, the publisher argued, are books published in America. Books published in Thailand are not published “under” American copyright law, they said. American law has a geographical limitation. It applies to America. Therefore, they concluded, the “first sale” doctrine of American law does not apply to books printed somewhere else.

This argument led to all kinds of conniptions from booksellers, librarians, and resellers of other affected products, such as records and high-tech gadgets. Did this mean they would have to track down the manufacturer of everything produced overseas and ask for permission to sell their used copy? The American Library Association asked whether their members would need to seek publisher permission to loan the estimated 200 million foreign published books in their possession. Powell's stated that used book dealers have assumed for centuries the “first sale” doctrine applied to the books they sold. The bookseller argued, “Used-book dealers tell us that, from the time when Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson built commercial and personal libraries of foreign books, American readers have bought used books published and printed abroad.” Were Franklin and Jefferson involved illegal trade?

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Simcoe (John Graves). Plan of the Province of Upper Canada with part of the Adjacent Countries, manuscript map… with numerous contemporary annotations. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Ramusio (Giovanni Battista). <i>Delle Navigationi et Viaggi,</i> 3 vol., mixed edition, 3 double-page engraved maps and 7 folding woodcut maps, Venice, Giunti, 1613. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>A Christmas Carol,</i> first edition, first issue, Chapman & Hall, 1843. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Book of Hours. Hours of the Virgin [Use of Rome] in Latin, miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum with 6 full-page miniatures and 6 large initials with borders, Flanders, [2nd quarter of 15th century]. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> G.K. Chesterton archive. Collection of poems, drawings, letters and cards sent to Enid Simon, 1920s. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doktor Zhivago</i> original typescript, 2 vol., with manuscript corrections and insertions by the author, the George Katkov copy, c.1956. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Tolkien (J.R.R.). <i>The Hobbit,</i> first edition, first impression, 1937. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Milton (John). <i>Paradise Lost & Paradise Regain'd,</i> 2 vol., one of 10 copies printed on vellum, Cresset Press, 1931. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Electricity and the vacuum.- Guericke (Otto von). <i>Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica de Vacuo Spatio,</i> first edition; bound with <i>Philosophia Universa de Microcosmo</i>. £12,000 to £16,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> [The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia ...], vignette title and 42 plates from the deluxe subscriber's edition, 1842-1849 (43). £7,000 to £10,000
  • <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Book of Hours. Workshop Vrelant, around 1460-70. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. J. Marinoni, <i>De Astronomica specula,</i> 1745. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> C. S. Lewis, <i>The Chronicles of Narnia,</i> 1950-56. Est: € 7,500
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> G. W. Knorr, <i>Regnum florae,</i> 1750. Est:<br>€ 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> A. M. S. Boethius, <i>De philosophico consolatu,</i> 1501. Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> 1922. Est: € 5,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Ornaments by H. Vogeler, 1900. Est:<br>€ 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Biblia Germanica,</i> 1490. Est: € 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> F. M. Regenfuss, <i>Auserlesne Schnecken und Muscheln,</i> 1758. Est: € 18,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Einband Henry van de Velde, 1929. Est: € 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Hortus Sanitatis,</i> 1517. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> R. Crevel and J. Miró, 1957. Est: € 3,500
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Archives International Auctions: U.S., Chinese & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily & Coins. May 23, 2018</b>
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Chinese-American Bank of Commerce, 1920 "Harbin" Branch Issue Rarity. $5, P-S231s1, S/M#C271-3.5b, Specimen banknote. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, 1907 "Peking" Branch High Grade Rarity. 5 Taels, P-S280r S/M#T101-11b, Remainder Banknote. $17,000 to $22,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, 1907, "Tsingtau" Branch Issue Rarity. $1, P-1a S/M#T101-40, Issued banknote. $8,000 to $16,000
    <b>Archives International Auctions: U.S., Chinese & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily & Coins. May 23, 2018</b>
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Spanish American War - Three Per Cent Loan of 1898, $20 Bond. Issued and uncanceled. $6,000 to $10,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Winnemucca, NV - $5 Ty. 1, The First NB of Winnemucca, Ch# 3575, Fr#1800-1. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> National Banknote Assortment of Original 1st Charter, Plain Back and Date Back Issues. Lot of 6 notes, Includes Pennsylvania Nationals, First National Bank of Selins Grove, 1865, $1… $3,200 to $4,400
    <b>Archives International Auctions: U.S., Chinese & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily & Coins. May 23, 2018</b>
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> People's Bank of China, 1950 Issue Banknote. 50,000 Yuan, P-855 KYJ-C157a S/M#C282-, Issued banknote. $7,000 to $12,500
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Pei-Yang Tientsin Bank, ND (ca.1910) Remainder Banknote. $3, P-S2527 S/M#P35-11. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Palestine Foundation Fund - Keren Hayesod Specimen Sacrifice Bond 1922. $1,000, Specimen Bond, "For the Up building of Palestine as a Homeland for the Jewish People". $1,500 to $2,500
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hammett (Dashiell). <i>The Maltese Falcon,</i> FIRST EDITION. A very good copy of this most influential detective fiction novel. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>In Our Time,</i> FIRST EDITION, NUMBER 137 OF 170 COPIES on Rives handmade paper. £15,000 to £18,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>A Farewell to Arms,</i> FIRST EDITION, inscribed by the author to Mike Murphy, a Hemingway biographer and scholar. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Kerouac (Jack). <i>On the Road,</i> FIRST EDITION, New York, Viking, 1957. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Ransome (Arthur). <i>Swallows and Amazons,</i> FIRST EDITION, ownership inscription to half title. Only 2,000 copies of the first edition printed. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Sewell (Anna). <i>Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions. The Autobiography of a Horse. Translated from the original Equine,</i> FIRST EDITION, engraved frontispiece. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Capa (Robert). <i>Omaha Beach D-Day, June 6th, 1944,</i> gelatine silver print, printed under the direct supervision of Cornell Capa, 40 x 50.5 cm. £3,000 to £5,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Cartier-Bresson (Henri). 'Loudres – Pilgrims Assemble', silver print, stamps and annotations on verso, very slight scratch, 170 x 240 mm, 1950. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Carroll, Lewis [Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge]. <i>The Nursery Alice,</i> FIRST EDITION, a very rare inscribed, dedication copy. £8,000 to £10,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Potter (Beatrix). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING, limited to 250 copies [with] the FIRST PUBLISHED EDITION. £12,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Wells (H. G.). <i>War of the Worlds,</i> original Danish manuscript, the text written out in block script ink, with over 620 original drawings in ink and watercolour. £1,800 to £2,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Toulouse-Lautrec (Henri de).- Clemenceau (Georges). <i>Au Pied de Sinai,</i> NUMBER 104 OF 355 COPIES, with the suite of 10 lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 2 states. £1,500 to £2,000

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