Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2018 Issue

AbeBooks to Remove eBooks from Their Website

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AbeBooks announces the elimination of eBooks from their site.

AbeBooks recently announced to their participating booksellers that they will discontinue listing eBooks on all of their websites. This will be welcome news to those who use their site to find collectible books. While AbeBooks' typical buyer is someone looking for an inexpensive (likely used) copy of a book, the site is also regularly used by the smaller group of customers who buy books for their collections. As the AbeBooks Top 10 prices list for 2017 reveals (elsewhere in this month's Rare Book Monthly), there are well-heeled collectors purchasing books from the site that are clearly not intended for use as reading copies.

 

The proliferation of electronic copies, which makes it more difficult to find the "real" books, has been a growing phenomenon over the years. They were no problem when "Abe" went live in the mid-1990s. Electronic books did not exist at the time. However, in the past decade, as they have grabbed a significant part of book sales, they have become a distraction for collectors, more listings to wade through to find what you want. No one collects eBooks. How could you do that? This is welcome news for the collector.

 

There are still other "fakes," notably the ubiquitous "print-on-demand" books. These may be physical books, but they are not collectible (at least not yet, if ever). A search for a rare or obscure title will often bring up dozens of print-on-demand copies, but only one or two, or often zero, early publisher copies. The problem is virtually anyone can offer print-on-demand or eBooks, but few if any dealers will hold a copy if the "real" book is old and rare. These later copies, like digit eBooks, can be a waste of time searching through, but there is a solution to this problem. Actually, there are two solutions available.

 

First option is when you go to the AbeBooks site, don't fill in the four-field search box that comes up when you go to the home page. Instead, click the "More search options" link to the right of the "Search" button. That will take you to the "Advanced Search" page. Scroll down to the ninth option listed, "Attributes." Then, go over to the last choice among the Attributes, "Not Print on Demand." Select that box. Then fill in the other fields you want to search, such as Author, Title, or Keywords, and click "Find Book" at the bottom. That will eliminate all print-on-demand copies from your results.

 

The other option is to go ahead and use the four-field search box that appears on the AbeBooks home page. That will give you results that include print-on-demand. However, you will then see a list of attributes by which you can refine your search in the left column. Those include "Product Type," "Condition," "Binding," and the fourth one is "Collectible Attributes." The last choice among "Collectible Attributes" is "Not Printed On Demand." Select that choice and it will remove the print-on-demand copies.

 

The elimination of eBooks from AbeBooks' websites will go into effect on February 6, 2018.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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