Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2005 Issue

A Few of My Favorite Things

Brodart's fold-on book covers


By Renee Magriel Roberts

Despite the frustrations of engaging in bookselling, I do love the business. I'm able to find pleasure not only in the successful searching, prepping and selling of the fascinating and the not-so-interesting, but oddly in the small things -- the things that work well, improve the quality of the service we provide, and just make things go easier. In the spirit of sharing, I'd like to tell you about my favorite things (things being technologies high and low, people, services and such). This is not a scientific survey; I'm sure you will have your own favorites, and if you'd like to email me, I will put together another article soon with more suggestions.

One highly useful low-tech item is the German Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser for paper and film, made in Nürnberg. This little white marvel, readily available in most large office supply stores or in specialty architectural supply stores, erases the ubiquitous pencil markings in books without destroying the integrity of the paper. A nice, circular rub and the pencil is gone, except for those marks which are gouged, and which only a conservationist could eliminate. The erasers do not tug at the paper, and they don't shed into little gummy balls. I destroyed more than one free front endpaper before discovering them. At $2.65 for a 4-pack, these erasers make a wonderful (and economical) gift for the book collector and bookseller in your life.

In a similar vein, working with dust jackets would not be the same without several items from Brodart (www.brodart.com), besides the well-known archival-quality mylar covers (I use both the Just-A-Fold III Archival Quality rolls in sizes from 9" to 18", and the Fold-On Archival Quality book covers, also in varying size rolls). Brodart not only has top quality material (not necessarily the least expensive), but the brains to offer a slew of free how-to guides on their site which can be readily downloaded whether you are a customer or not. I particularly recommend "Archival Preservation," "Applying Book Jacket Covers," and "Book Repair".

Unless you deal exclusively with new books -- and few of us do -- who can compete with Amazon? -- you are going to have to engage in at least simple repairs. The dust jacket, when there is one, is usually the neediest of the book parts; at the minimum it might have unwanted stickers, like the kind the friends of the libraries use when they're selling books at a sale, or just plain dirt from being handed around. Brodart sells two of my favorite chemicals: E-Z Sticker Removal which comes in what seems an endless 8 oz. plastic bottle for $4.25 and Magic Book Cleaner, 16 oz. for $13.60, which removes dirt from book covers. Both of these last a long, long time.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] DAVID BURLIUK WITH ORIGINAL DRAWING and Signed twice. David Burliuk Rare ACA Gallery exhibition catalogue, undated. CA$400 – 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS. Text by Margaret Atwood. National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, 2019. $CA400 - 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] LAWRENCE WEINER: POSTERS. Nova Scotia College of Art, Canada,1987. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: WILBUR SMITH: THE DARK OF THE SUN. Heinemann, UK, 1965. Signed First edition. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: ROBERTSON DAVIES: LEAVEN OF MALICE. SIGNED Clark, Irwin, & Co., Canada. 1954. 1st edition. CA$400 – 600
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [THE NOTABLE TRAILS LIBRARY]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: THE TRIAL OF DR. X; ROE V. WADE; THE GALILEO AFFAIR; THE TRIAL OF BERNHARD GOETZ… CA$300 – 500
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [MILITARY FICTION]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: Canada's Royal Military College. REVIEW, THE STONE FRIGATE, A HISTORY OF THE RMC… CA$300 – 400
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [WW1] CANADIAN (C.S.E.F.) SIBERIA 1918-1919 PHOTO ALBUM. With approximately 303 original official war photographs, postcards, and personal photographs. CA$8,000 – 10,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: HANS BELLMER: THE DOLL. 1995, 1st Ed. CA$150 – 300.
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: FAN HO; HONG KONG YESTERDAY. ModernBooks edition, 2006. First edition. 4to. CA$300 – 600.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: TARYN SIMON: AN AMERICAN INDEX OF THE HIDDEN AND UNFAMILIAR. Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2012. Third edition. CA$600 – 1,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: BARBARA KRUGER PICTURE/READINGS. [Self-Published], 1978 First edition. CA$800 – 1,200.

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