Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2015 Issue

A “Bookjacker's” Website

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Antiques.gift website focuses on books' language.

We are grateful to Montreal bookseller Michel Lanteigne for bringing this website to our attention. While reluctant to call it an outright scam, it is certainly very misleading to its customers. Mr. Lanteigne has supplied us with an appropriate term - “bookjacker” - to describe the business.

 

The website is called Antique.gift Book Shop and it is located in Riga, Latvia. They advertise offering “more then [sic] 10 million books in more than 30 languages!” Latvia is not a place you might expect to find such a large bookseller, but the internet is international in scope. Still, how did a firm in Latvia make the necessary connections to get so many booksellers to place their listings on this obscure site, including Mr. Lanteigne?

 

The answer is, they didn't. This is where the term “bookjacker” comes in. They are copying listings from other sites, likely AbeBooks, but perhaps others. This is not done with the consent of the lister. Nor does this site credit the listing dealer, as does Abe. It doesn't claim to be shipping the books themselves. It speaks of books being sent by “suppliers.” “We deliver books directly from suppliers,” the website explains. However, the purchase is made from Antiques.gift, and you might incorrectly believe they had some special relationship with the “suppliers,” rather than just buying the book from them off the internet like any other customer, and having it shipped to your address.

 

For example, we found artwork for the paperback cover of The Planet Buyer, by Peter Bramley, artwork by Cordwainer Smith. It is one of Mr. Lanteigne's listings. The same listing was found on AbeBooks, the description identical. Even images were picked up from the original listing by the Latvian site. Along with the full description and basics like author and date, they provide a briefer description after the publisher. I can't figure out the purpose of this, as it is a character-limited repeat of some of the description. It is evidently character-limited because the description cuts off mid-word. This site is definitely amateurish.

 

A comparison of the two listings also reveals how Antiques.gift hopes to make its money. The item's cost on AbeBooks is $450. On Antiques.gift the price is €499. At the time, the euro to dollar conversion rate would put their price at around $525. The $75 is what you pay for the honor of having them place your order on Abe rather than doing it yourself (not that it saves you any time as you still have to place the order on their website).

 

In one of those examples of great chutzpah (nerve) or irony, whichever you wish to call it, Antiques.gift has a section on copyrights. They say, “The copyright of the bibliographic database is held by Antiques.gift web site and its content suppliers.” If they are claiming copyrights to bookseller-written descriptions for their own, that is very nervy. And if they are claiming the descriptions' copyrights are held by their “content suppliers,” then they certainly aren't honoring those copyrights themselves.

 

The site is hardly the epitome of professionalism, not a place you might feel particularly comfortable about sending your money or credit card information. The language (English) at times is clearly written by someone for whom English is a second (or third or fourth) language. Some sections show little thought. Part of the FAQ section for sellers picks up paragraphs from the buyers' FAQs, so that it is describing such things as how long it takes to receive a book or how to determine when it has been shipped, information clearly inapplicable to the seller.

 

I don't know whether any specific laws have been violated by this site. It probably wouldn't matter whether they were, unless it is a Latvian law. Suing them in a Latvian court seems hardly worth the expense anyway. It is hard to imagine many people will buy from this site, except maybe a Latvian customer, of which, we imagine, there aren't too many for your books. However, if you are a bookseller, and receive an order from this outfit with a shipping address to someone else, you might want to send that person a notice that you don't honor these orders, but they are free to buy the same book for less on AbeBooks or another legitimate site.


Posted On: 2015-04-01 17:12
User Name: malcolm

They lifted all my books without permission from Abebooks including “Memoire pour Dame Barbara Janssen, Veuve Bladen Angloife; Contre les sieurs & demoiselle Broussard” & “Robson’s Royal Court Guide and Peerage for 1839; Commercial Directory of London and the Eastern Counties, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk” using my description and my scans with Malcolm Books on the scan. Importantly they also have my “Cats and all about Them” that I sold about 3 weeks ago.
Apart from not knowing if they keep all of the payment. There are also countries I do not send to. Very dodgy.


Posted On: 2015-04-02 15:42
User Name: jimgow

Greetings from The Odd Book in Nova Scotia. Noticed this a few weeks ago after our copy of Tobacco: Its Use and Abuse [Habana Cigar Company, 1875] sold and I was trying to find another. Our copy [description & 5 photos] is still listed as available on their site [161 Euros free shipping; our ABE price was $145 US plus shipping]. Depending on your mood and level of tolerance for piracy, more than a few a chortling snorts await in their Disclaimer section, including the seven points of "Disclaimer from requirements for deleting of information". I suspect the poor English is intentional. As far as we know, none of our sales have gone through them. What I dislike most is the appearance of uncommon volumes apparently available for purchase at specific prices that are in fact sold.


Posted On: 2015-11-28 15:26
User Name: tomz1

Actually, THIS is where the term bookjacker originated:

http://www.zubalbooks.com/article-bookjacking.jsp


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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