• <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “America the Beautiful”
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington, Tongue-in-Cheek, Writes James McHenry About His Wife or Mistress—But Funding the Continental Army is the Real Topic
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Young’s Map of the United States
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> President Lincoln & His Most Profitable Client, the Illinois Central Railroad
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Thanks Former Pro-Slavery and Newly Republican Congressman for a Fiery Anti-Slavery Speech at a Philadelphia Campaign Rally
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “A Visit From St. Nicholas” - great association copy inscribed by Clement C. Moore
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Einstein Agrees to Allow “a Short Book on the Hydrogen Bomb” to Use His Statement Made on Eleanor Roosevelt’s TV Show
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The Building Blocks of Albert Einstein’s Creative Mind
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> A Unique Manuscript Map of Block Island Sound Including Fisher’s and Gardiner’s Islands, the Hamptons, and Montauk Point
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> J.R.R. Tolkien Writes his Proofreader with a Lengthy Discussion of the Lord of the Rings, Including Criticism of Radio Broadcasts of his Work
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Six Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipts – Including his Earliest Obtainable Autograph — Acknowledging a Donation to the Famous Library Company He Founded, and Five Payments for His Pennsylvania Gazette
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Sherman Dishes on Lincoln & Thomas, Meade, Sheridan, Halleck & Grant
  • <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> <i>The First American Magna Carta. English Liberties.</i> Boston, 1721.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Babbage presentation to Peel, the man who killed the Difference Engine 1832
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Stamp Act. 1765
    <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Central Park Photographs by Prevost 1862
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Salem Witch Trials. Wonders of the Invisible World 1693
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Mammoth print of Millie-Christine, "The Carolina Twins" c. 1868
  • <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT. Autograph Manuscript Initialed ("E.B.B."), being the working notebook for the poems contained in <i>The Seraphim and Other Poems</i>. $400,000 to 600,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> WILDE, OSCAR. Two leaves, pp 31-34, from the first appearance of <i>The Picture of Dorian Gray in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine for July, 1890</i>, with Wilde's autograph revisions. $40,000 to 60,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories and Tragedies; Published according to the true Originall Copies. Second Impression. [THE SECOND FOLIO.]</i> $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> KENNEDY, JOHN FITZGERALD. Photograph Signed ("John F. Kennedy") and Inscribed, 8 x 10 inch gelatin silver print, of Senator Kennedy and Miss Barelli, at the swearing of the secretarial oath for Miss Barelli. $1,200 to 1,800
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter XXVII of <i>Afloat and Ashore</i>. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> IRVING, WASHINGTON. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter 20 from Volume IV of <i>The Life of George Washington</i>. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> VERNE, JULES. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Jules Verne"), being the complete short story "<i>Une fantaisie de docteur Ox</i>". $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> ALCHEMY. <i>[The Crowning of Nature, or Coronatio Naturae.]</i> Original alchemical manuscript on paper, ruled in red, with watermark of the arms of Schieland. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> DE JODE, CORNELUS. 1568 - 1600. <i>Quivirae Regnu, Cum Alija Versus Borea</i>. [Antwerp: Arnoldum Coninx, 1593]. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> HOOKER, JOSEPH DALTON. <i>The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya; Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the Rhododendrons Recently Discovered in the Mountains of Eastern Himalaya</i>… $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> CATLIN, GEORGE. <i>North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting scenes and amusements of the Rocky Mountains and prairies of America. From drawings and notes of the author, made during eight years' travel.</i> $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. HESLER, ALEXANDER. Platinum print, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in, of a beardless Lincoln, 1860.<br>$2,000 to 3,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2016 Issue

AbeBooks: Committed to Rare Books and Encouraging the Next Generation of Collectors

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AbeBooks' rare book section.

AbeBooks, the book listing site or "aggregator," appeared twenty years ago and quickly became the leader in the online revolution in bookselling. It's every move was debated, analyzed, and controversial to at least someone. Today, it has become a ubiquitous part of bookselling. It is often taken for granted. AbeBooks has become, to many, what physical bookstores were to an earlier generation of booksellers. They might print catalogues, attend shows, advertise in trade publications, but practically everyone had a physical store. It was the starting point of bookselling. Today, many booksellers do not have stores, and for some that do, they are more storage facilities than their major means of selling. AbeBooks has in a way taken on that role. How ever else they sell books, for most booksellers, having a presence on AbeBooks is now the basic starting point.

 

With AbeBooks' every move no longer the focus of intense scrutiny, we checked in recently to find out what is going on there. It turns out a lot. While AbeBooks does not release sales figures or number of listings, Richard Davies, PR & Publicity Manager for the firm, does reveal that its listings continue to rise, but then adds, "However, quality and breadth of inventory is just as important to us as quantity. Quality means detailed descriptions, helpful photography and pricing that appeals to customers. Breadth means that we want every single edition of a particular title – from the Ukrainian translation to the illustrated picture book edition. Breadth also comes from having booksellers of many different types from many different countries operating in the marketplace."

 

In 2008, AbeBooks conducted a survey of its sellers. At that time, the major demographics skewed older (45+), better educated, and had come to the field from other professional jobs. We asked whether that has changed. Davies responded that they have not conducted any similar surveys since that time. He does believe that many of those "baby boomer" booksellers are still with them, but many are retiring. "Today, we see a wide range of seller types – sellers who left us and then returned, people completely new to online bookselling, traditional used bookshops, home-based sellers, small presses, and younger sellers who are very Internet-savvy and selling on as many Internet platforms as possible."

 

While the bulk of AbeBooks' sales, particularly in unit volume, may be books for reading or school, the collectible part of the market is considered essential to the company's success. Mr. Davies explains, "In recent years, we have made no secret that rare booksellers are extremely important to us. We do not take them for granted. The rare and collectible sellers help make AbeBooks different to other online marketplaces. They have the capacity to bring unique items to our marketplace and that’s exciting for us and the customers. This focus on rare and collectible sellers will continue."

 

AbeBooks has a section of its website dedicated to rare books (see the image above). It includes a separate search for rare books, which immediately offers more selection choices, such as publishing date to target older editions, and weeds out the penny books to make it easier for collectors to find the type of books they want.

 

However, this still leaves the most vexing of questions for those in the rare book trade – from where will the next generation of collectors emerge? Book collectors, like many dealers, tend to be an aging lot. We asked Mr. Davies what the age was of their rare book buyers, and where new collectors could be found. He answered that AbeBooks does not ask buyers their ages, but did point to where they are finding many new buyers. He explained, "It’s important that we move away from thinking that collectors are going to be in New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris and so on. We see high-end rare book-buyers from the likes of Russia, China, South Korea and South American countries. Online rare book-buying is global – that’s an opportunity for us."

 

Mr. Davies also explained that AbeBooks is not being passive about enticing new collectors into the field. This may be the most interesting part of our interview, as so many booksellers feel helpless in knowing what they can do to encourage the badly needed next generation of collectors. Mr. Davies explains, "We try to develop new collectors by turning existing customers, who are avid readers, into entry-level collectors. Our email campaigns introduce collectible books, at affordable prices, to customers who are clearly dedicated readers. We want to shift them into thinking about the book as an object and not just for its content. For instance, signed books are an effective way of developing new collectors as a signed book’s value is easy to understand.

 

"Another aspect to winning new collectors is offering educational content such as a basic guide to book collecting. We try to avoid jargon and explain the significance around illustrators, bindings, scarcity and other key factors. Sometimes there is a background story behind a book’s significance and our merchandising pages often try to tell those stories."

 

Finally, we asked Mr. Davies what has been happening recently at AbeBooks, and what plans are on tap for the future. It turns out, there is much happening, even if it isn't all as visible as it once was. Rather than paraphrase his answers, we offer Mr. Davies' written reply, complete with explanatory links. AbeBooks will not be sitting on its laurels, but continues to innovate as it seeks to move its own business, and the book trade in general, forward. Here is his answer:

 

"In November, we relaunched ZVAB.com, our marketplace serving German language countries, on the same technology platform as AbeBooks. We acquired ZVAB in 2011 and it had been challenging to maintain two platforms using different technologies. We used this opportunity to introduce many improvements to ZVAB’s website, including mobile-friendly pages across most of the site.

 

"On AbeBooks, we introduced redesigned homepages in October. The homepages communicate our brand much more clearly and we have been able to feature booksellers more prominently thanks to the larger imagery. That helps to show we are a marketplace for people who are visiting our site for the first time. We have featured a wide variety of sellers on the new homepage since October including respected sellers like the Brattle Book Shop from Boston, Raptis Rare Books from Vermont, Eureka Books from California and many others. Again, the changes were also designed to improve the mobile experience for people on smartphones and tablets. We will continue to invest and improve the mobile experience across the site as so many customers are now choosing to shop in this way.

 

"Earlier in 2015, we introduced two new sort orders on search results where customers can sort by earliest and latest publication dates. The earliest date is particularly helpful for collectors who are looking for the first appearance of a book.

 

"Notable plans for the future include considerable investment of time and resources into the rare and collectible sector. The merchandising team has begun to experiment with content that showcases ephemera and other non-book inventory. We are very aware that many rare and collectible booksellers offer a diverse variety of collectibles besides books. These are often difficult to find on AbeBooks so we wish to do a better job of exposing these items. So far, we have experimented with vintage posters, rare Hollywood photography, cinema lobby cards, and lithographs in the past few months. This is a learning process for us.

 

"During 2016, we are making a major effort to advertise at fairs where you will find rare books, ephemera and specialist book types. Last year, we advertised at around 15 events worldwide and that figure will be far higher in 2016. In February we advertised at the LA Art Book Fair and we’ve committed to supporting March’s Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. We will be visible at many more events as the year progresses."


Posted On: 2016-03-03 04:41
User Name: Oxygenee

This seems like a puff piece from Abebooks PR department.

My impression as a rare book collector is that Abebooks treats this part of the market with either disinterest or contempt. For them to say: "However, quality and breadth of inventory is just as important to us as quantity." is just breathtaking hypocrisy, given - to take just two examples at random:
Listings for "liu xing" in China: 6 033 463 books (yes, in excess of 6 million listings) EVERY SINGLE ONE of which is machine translated gibberish.
Listings for "Lucky's Textbooks" in the US: 1 329 091 (1.3 million listings) almost all machine generated.

There are many more similar examples. Collectively they make Abebooks unusable for many search terms.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 37. Anonymous, <i>[Untitled - Ancient World]</i>, 1553. Est. $20,000 - $23,000
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 45. Cellarius, <i>Haemisphaerium Stellatum Australe</i>, 1708. Est. $2,400 - $3,000
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 51. Kircher, <i>Systema Ideale quo Exprimitur</i>, 1665. Est. $1,600 - $1,900
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 152. David H. Vance, <i>Map of the United States of North America</i>, 1825. Est. $8,000 - $10,000
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 309. Mark Storm, <i>Official Texas Brags Map of North America</i>, 1948. Est. $350 - $425
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 426. B. Crété, <i>Carte Symbolique de l'Europe / Europe en 1914</i>, 1915. Est. $2,000 - $2,300
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 636. Hartmann Schedel, <i>Folio LXIIII - Destruccio Iherosolime</i>, 1493. Est. $1,100 - $1,400
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 649. Heinrich Bunting, <i>Asia Secunda pars Terrae in Forma Pegasi</i>, 1581. Est. $3,000 - $3,750
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 747. Theodore de Bry, <i> [Lot of 22 - Complete Set of De Bry's Virginia Natives]</i>, 1590. Est. $6,000 - $7,000
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 769. Lotter/Lobeck, <i>Atlas Geographicus Portatilis</i>, 1760. Est. $1,900 - $2,200
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 772. Henry Teesdale, <i>A New General Atlas of the World</i>, 1835. Est. $1,200 - $1,500
    <b>Old World Auctions, Apr. 26:</b> Lot 777. Marco Coltellini, <i>[3 Volumes] Il Gazzettiere Americano</i>, 1763. Est. $5,500 - $7,000
  • <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b>  Lewis Morris Rutherfurd, The Moon, From a Negative taken at the Observatory of Mr. L. M. Rutherfurd...May 19, 1874. Est: $5,000-8,000 (Lot 3)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> Alvin Langdon Coburn. London. With 20 photogravures by Coburn and text by Hilaire Belloc, London and New York: 1909. First edition. Est: $4,000-6,000 (Lot 32)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> Lee Friedlander, Newark, New Jersey, 1962 and Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1972.<br>Est: $7,000-9,000 (Lot 50)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> The  papers of Brevet Major General John Gross Barnard (1815-1882), Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac. Est: $75,000-100,000 (Lot 160)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> James Joyce, Dubliners, London: Grant Richards, 1914. First edition. Est: $5,000-8,000 (Lot 362)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> George Sand, Group of five volumes inscribed to Henry Harrisse. Est: $4,000-6,000 (Lot 405)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> Thomas More, Sir, Saint [Utopia]: De optimo reip. statu deque nova insula utopia libellus vere aureus… Basel: Froben, March 1518. First Basel edition. Est: $15,000-25,000 (Lot 308)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> Johannes Brahms, Autograph letter in German signed "Joh. Brahms.” Est: $4,000-6,000 (Lot 285)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> Kelmscott Press, [Guilelmus, of Tyre, Archbishop]. The History of Godefrey of Boloyne. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1893. Est: $2,000-3,000 (Lot 270)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> Gilles Robert de Vaugondy, Gilles Didier, Atlas universel...Paris: the author and Boudet, 1757[-58]. Est: $10,000 - $15,000  (Lot 222)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> John Keats, Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of Saint Agnes and Other Poems. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1820. First edition. Est: $5,000-7,000 (Lot 399)
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> Specimen book of Schumacher & Ettlinge, between 1870-1895. Original roan-backed boards.. Est: $2,000-3,000 (Lot 195)
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Ernest Hemingway, Autograph Letter Signed "Love / Mr. Papa," to Marlene Dietrich, Cuba, 1952. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Alexis de Tocqueville, Autograph Letter Signed, on the publication of <i> Democracy in America </i>, 1837. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Thomas Hart Benton, Autograph Manuscript, draft of <i>The Mechanics of Form Organization in Painting</i>, with sketches, 1926. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Elliot Erwitt, photograph of Kennedy & Eisenhower, signed by both,<br>c. 1960. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> John Adams, Partly-printed Document Signed, as President, countersigned by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, 1798. $4,000 to $6,000. 
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Graphite drawing of Albert Einstein, signed by him & the artist, S.N. Swamy, 1950. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Autograph Musical Quotation Signed, London, 1888. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Partly-printed vellum Document Signed, as President, countersigned by Secretary of State James Madison, 1809. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Agatha Christie, Autograph Manuscript notebook with early drafts for numerous novels, Baghdad, circa 1948. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Claude Monet, Autograph Letter Signed to Desmond Fitzgerald, in French, 1889. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Photograph of Fidel Castro, Signed & Inscribed, in Spanish, 1955. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 4:</b> Frederick Stuart Church, archive of 17 illustrated Autograph Letters Signed to Evander Schley, 1905-11. $5,000 to $7,500.

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