Rare Book MonthlyNew Letter
Letters to the Editor
. September 01, 2009
Bravo, I applaud your article, and hope it draws great support.
I know, I'm a Limey bastard who enjoys good health services for me and my family. But it has been dismaying to read the heated exchanges from the big pharma lobbies and the insurance people, especially as most of it has been simply untrue.
You have probably seen most of what follows, but in case you haven't, here are some arguments in your support:
Obama's movement for change in the US is at risk of collapsing -- in large part because of lies about healthcare in the UK!
It's incredible, but Obama's health plan, and with it his entire Presidency, could be derailed if big corporations and the radical right manage to convince Americans that the NHS is a nightmare rationed service that refuses to treat patients and abandons the most needy, such as Stephen Hawking, without care.
We need a huge popular outcry to show the truth -- how proud and grateful we are in the UK to have a public healthcare system that works, despite its imperfections. Sign on to the message to America and forward this email -- if enough of us sign, we'll cause a stir in US media and help change the debate:
US healthcare is run by large corporations - it's the most expensive in the world, but ranks 37th in quality, and 40 million Americans can't afford any care at all. It's an awful system for people, but corporations make enormous profits, so they're fighting to keep it. If they win and Obama fails, the Democrats could lose the Congress in elections next year. If this happens, progress on every global issue is endangered, from climate change to the war in Iraq.
We have no time to lose. Industry lobbyists are ramping up their smear campaigns right now to make sure the Obama plan is dead on arrival when Congress meets in September. Americans are hearing a constant barrage of propaganda that the NHS is a nightmare. Let's say it ain't so below:
The NHS isn't perfect -- but it works far better than the US system. Let's stand up to the lies, and help save Obama's movement for change with the truth about the UK's healthcare system.
Brett, Ricken, Benjamin, Alice, Graziela, Paula, Paul, Pascal and the whole Avaaz team.
. September 01, 2009
I couldn't disagree more, but I certainly respect your right to your opinion, just as I respect the right of the opponents of the current bills being talked about. I don't think the folks who are advocating against a government run health care system are anything but genuinely concerned that the government can not begin to handle a program that equals one sixth of the economy, and no doubt, more, as time goes on. For openers, where are the additional doctors who are going to treat the alleged fifty million currently uninsured? I know fifty million is an exaggerated number but that's the number the proponents like to use because it sounds more dire. We know that in reality, there are a goodly number, probably thirteen to fifteen million illegals who aren't even supposed to be here, another fifteen to twenty million who can afford health insurance but feel they don't need it; the actual number of those real uninsureds apparently being about thirteen million. I think the non-partisan CBO puts the price tag of the plan at trillions of dollars. That's awfully expensive to insure an additional thirteen million. I would think there could be some way to insure those folks who genuinely need health insurance far more cheaply. No, I think this is not so much about health care, but about politicians making a power grab. For years we have been moving ever closer to socialism and this would be a real coup for those folks hoping for that reality.
The seniors, who are largely the ones protesting the loudest against the bill, have every right to be afraid. Obama admits that some three hundred to five hundred billion will be taken out of medicare and medicaid to help fund the new program. And I have read authentic accounts of the abysmal service in countries where universal government run health care exists. The real secret is that there will have to be rationing eventually. The government will run the private insurance companies out of business, because it doesn't have to make a profit, it only has to keep taxing us to pay for it. Soon, the government will be the only entity in the health insurance business and I hate to see what that will look like. Why would we suppose that a bunch of politicians, many of whom have been feeding at the public trough for years, never having to show a profit, never having to meet a payroll, and generally running our county into astronomical debt, could possibly run a massive health care program effectively? You and I both have seen far too many examples of their genuine ineptitude in practically every phase of government to expect any thing different.
One other point, in which I lean toward the side of the privately owned health insurance companies. You don't call your automobile insurance agent or your homeowner's insurance agent and ask for coverage after you've had an accident or after your car or house has burned. And you can't insure your life after you've died. They would be pre-existing conditions, and so far as I know, the health insurance companies are the only ones that are expected to pay for those. When something already exists, it's no longer insurance, it's maintenance. I don't see how a for profit business could be expected to operate under those conditions, knowing they're going to pay hundreds of thousands dollars in care for the last six months of a terminal patient's life for the monthly premiums it will collect. Again, there needs to be some form of pool for folks with pre-existing conditions. I'm not willing to let them die through no fault of their own. But another facet of this is that folks with all sorts of conditions, pre-existing and otherwise, have to be treated when they go to any hospital in America. My son works for a hospital and tells me that they regularly treat patients with no insurance knowing they are not going to be paid. It's the law. Not only do they have to treat them for the emergency which brought them there but they must test and examine them and treat them for any other condition they find.
One other point, in passing, I have never understood why it is the responsibility of one's employer to even provide health insurance in the first place. An employer should provide a salary and a pension for x number of years of service, but how did we arrive at the point that the place where you work has to provide your health insurance? After all, you're at work about a third of the time and at your leisure the rest of the time. Most folks who get sick, or are hurt at work, will be covered by unemployment compensation.
There are many reasons I oppose the bill, one being that there is no mention of tort reform which accounts for a good portion of our health insurance premiums, about 300 billion by current estimates. Of course, we know why that hasn't been addressed. Look who the trial lawyers support.
But the most basic reason is that I don't want the government in any more aspects of my life than they already are and I can only imagine the bureaucracy that's running a program of that size would entail. One of the proposed bills mandates that a patient's tax returns could be examined to determine if they qualify for whatever treatment. Another bill calls for abortion to be covered. Being a pro-life person, I want to see fewer and fewer abortions and I certainly don't want my tax money to be paying for them.
The government couldn't handle the Cash for Clunkers program, a mere drop in the bucket, percentage wise of the almost unfathomable amounts of debt we will be placing on our children and their children.
I am sorry you have to pay so much for health insurance. Mine is relatively cheap, and at age 71, I hardly ever use it. I have been very fortunate and I might add, very health conscious.
I have sympathy for those folks who are genuinely hurting regarding this issue, but there have to be many better options than those I've seen so far from the Democrats. I've seen some from the Republicans, parts of which seem fairly reasonable and not nearly so expensive, by a long shot. But you'll never see the Republican proposals in the mainstream media, of course.
I think this was a good discussion for you to start, and I suspect you will generate a lot of buzz, pro and con, which I think is a good thing.
Larry Dean, Legacy Books.
Anonymous September 01, 2009
The last thing I need is another ill-informed diatribe on health care from those who support a president who is destroying the country.
. September 01, 2009
Subject: Your health care comments
I am very disappointed that you used your AE monthly as a platform for political advocacy.
Yes, you're entitled to share your view. But in an otherwise well-focused and enjoyable publication, your item on health care reform was out of place and obviously an attempt to foist a specific message upon an audience not expecting it. I feel like I received SPAM mail, or as if an uninvited guest has invaded what has been a pleasurable sanctuary to visit.
Certainly some, if not most, of your recipients will respond favorably. But some won't. I wish you hadn't felt led to foist this matter upon your readers. It's so out of character with the contents AE Monthly has provided for so long.
Jan August 01, 2009
In addition to the rare books sold by UCSF, a group of Old Master prints, some of them very fine, were put up at auction in April at Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco as well.
The state of New York is making it illegal for university museums (and presumably rare book libraries) to sell their collections to raise money for the university.
Ed. Note: To clarify the material sent to auction this spring were Durer engravings, not books.
. August 01, 2009
M$ / Yahoo v Google
Michael Stillman's article on M$ and Yahoo v Google was interesting
but for those of us outside of North America omits one important
Google recognises me as a .za user and tailors results accordingly.
When I search for 'Business against crime' it pops up the local
organisation as hit no.1. With Yahoo it lists the British hits, and
one local .za branch office appears on page 4 and one link to content
on the main site shows on page 6.
Until M$ takes time out to fix this, it's Google Google all the way.
Fables Bookshop (Proprietor: Ian Balchin) Est. 1990
119 High Street, Grahamstown, 6139, South Africa
. August 01, 2009
In spite of past duplicity from Fr. President's Office as well as the apparent plan approval by the Board of Trustees at USF, the Gleeson Library Associates and I as co-president, are seeking resolution to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the legacy of William Monihan, SJ, - a discerning bibliophile and institutional collector of impeccable honor and stature.
We respect and value the efforts and generosity of our generations of contributors to an awesome collection of treasures. Donors have proffered suggestions with regard to raising funds. There has been no response from USF other than to sell off items from the collection anonymously and without consultation or notice.
Today, I may have found a good opportunity to bring over $400K to help protect the Donohue RBR at Gleeson Library. Having done considerable homework, made calls to confirm that the proposed plan was legitimate and applicable to us, we shared all the information with the library Dean, several members of USF's administration - including Fr. Steven Privett - as well as members of the GLA. The response has been enthusiastic and gratifying with indications of support in the pursuit of these funds. So far though, there has been no contact from Fr. Privett's office.
For us, the Gleeson Library collections at USF are about integrity, transparency, ethical decisions, and promise keeping. We look toward a secure and vibrant future for Gleeson and the University.
Thank you for allowing us to respond to questions raised in your article.
Co-president of the Gleeson Library Associates
. July 30, 2009
Thanks for your article. A few points:
I think it is very likely that the next decade will see many university libraries get out of the business of maintaining special collections. This in itself is not unhealthy. You make a very good point about the economy of scale with Columbia, and as general access grows electronically, the number of places willing to be what I call "holders of record" will diminish. This has already happened with public libraries; a large amount of what has flowed into the market in recent years has come from antiquarian holdings of local, and state public libraries.
Right now the American Association of Museums (AAM) has a very clear policy on deaccession by members of institutions - they allow it if the money is spent on other collections. This is not USF's intention - the money would go for bricks and mortar. They might justify it in my mind if they spent the money on enhancing resources, including electronic. But spending on buildings has been condemned by their peer institutions for decades, when funded through collection sales. In the museum world, that is formalized. There is no such firm standard in the ALA or even the Rare Book and Manuscript section of ALA.
If USF cannot care for its special collection, it has the option of transferring it to another institution, perhaps with the agreement that they will retain duplicates and sell them. This would get them out of the special collections business and keep faith with their donors.
People give things to institutions for all kinds of motives, as you point out; some selfish, and some because of a belief in scholarship and learning. Don't be persuaded by arguments that you could get all this stuff somewhere else - the Gleeson collection in its areas of strength is unique.
Gentleman's club? I don't agree. When Wilmarth Lewis, a consummate gentleman, gave his collection to Yale, it was protected by a hedge of legal documents that stipulates it reverts to Harvard if not kept as he wanted it. This has had the sad effect of lessening the usefulness of the collection after the Paul Mellon gifts, when the collections should sensibly have been combined. Terry Belanger is right: this kind of thing will change the way donors act, to the detriment of the institutions.
As to the dealers, they won't mind if good material comes back on the market, even if they mourn the loss of a fine special collection.
The public and the students have never cared - didn't 50 years ago, don't now.
My solution: either USF lives up to its obligations or it transfers the collection to a place that will. UC Berkeley, Stanford, I'm sure would both want to take it in, probably others.
Thanks for writing the piece.
William Reese Company
Rare Books & Manuscripts
ABAA - ILAB
409 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511 USA
greatwar June 05, 2009
With regard to dust jackets, your readers may be interested to see my site - one of the few on the web dedicated to preserving the images of rare dustjackets - www.greatwardustjackets.co.uk.
Its shows images of over 1200 jackets on works of World War 1 literature published between 1914 & 1939. I am constantly receiving contributions from other collectors and the site has recently been archived by the British Library.
. June 04, 2009
re: Dust Jackets
To the Editor:
I just saw your report about the 1829 dust jacket on the English annual Friendship's Offering for 1830, which was discovered years ago at Oxford. I just wanted to ask if you could mention my website nineteenthcenturydustjackets.com.
I am writing a book called "Nineteenth Century Dust Jackets: An Illustrated History." In March this year, I asked Oxford about the famous 1833 Keepsake jacket that John Carter had discovered in 1934 and subsequently lost when he was showing it at Oxford in 1951. During the course of that enquiry, Oxford told me about the earlier jacket they had found and gave me images of it for my book. The existence of this jacket was first announced on my website in March, where it is posted with much more information.
Your readers may also like to view the 1857 jacket on the Poetical Works of the late Richard S. Gedney, which is also an all-enclosing "sealed wrapping" jacket like the 1829 model - except that the 1857 jacket is still sealed around its book! Many other early jackets are posted there as well.
I am gathering images from institutions, collectors and dealers all over the world. If any of your readers has early or interesting jackets, I'd like to hear from them (email@example.com).
North Canaan, CT
. June 01, 2009
re: Early Dust Jackets
When I was a full-time antiquarian bookseller with the Prince and the Pauper Collectible Children's Books (1988-2000), I was interested in the concept of early dust jackets. Of course with juvenile books, the jackets are often among the first parts to be damaged or lost entirely.
My own collections focus on authors like Jules Verne and books written by Edward Stratemeyer and those produced by his Stratemeyer Syndicate. Among the early Stratemeyer jackets in my collection are:
1898: Estella the Little Cuban Rebel (Street & Smith, 1898) by "Edna Winfield". First and only printing in hardcover.
1902: Malcolm the Waterboy (John Wanamaker, 1900) by "D. T. Henty". Originally published by Mershon. 1902 date is an estimate. Very scarce title in any form, partly because the G. A. Henty collectors also seek it even though it was not written by that famous author. Wanamaker editions for any Stratemeyer titles are scarce. Dust Jackets on any Wanamaker books are almost unknown in collections. Hence, having a Wanamaker of this title in jacket is especially interesting to Stratemeyer collectors.
1908: Rover Boys in the Mountains (Grosset & Dunlap, 1902) by "Arthur M. Winfield". Originally published by Mershon. Reprint from the first year that G&D issued the books with the jacket design replicating the cover that Stratemeyer claimed to design himself.
1909: First at the North Pole (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1909) by "Edward Stratemeyer". Probable first printing. Jacket and book list to Dave Porter and His Classmates (1909).
1913: The Campaign of the Jungle (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1900) by "Edward Stratemeyer". Originally published by Lee & Shepard. Early reprint with the original cover design on the book and jacket. Pre-text list of titles includes Dave Porter and the Runaways (1913).
For Stratemeyer I know from photographic evidence that jackets were issued on the 1897 books issued by W.L. Allison. Not enough copies from Merriam in 1894-1895 survive to know if any of them were issued in dust jackets.
Finding jackets on pre-WWII juveniles can be quite a challenge unless they were from the cheap mass-market publishers (Saalfield, World Syndicate, etc.).
I have handled earlier jackets on books no one has heard of. And this is the basis of one of my complaints about this article. The survival of a jacket depends on many factors but chief among these is how well and often the book was handled.
Jackets for children's books are less common because the kids who read and reread and loaned and traded the books they liked were not always careful in doing so. They say that you only hurt the ones you love. This seems to be especially true for children's books.
In my experience, jackets on modern books (I'll use WWII or later) generally represent 50%-80% of the value of the potential value of a book as you indicated in the article. That means that a copy in a jacket is generally worth double to as much as five times that of a similar-condition copy without a jacket.
Some books won't sell at all to a collector unless the jacket is present and in nice condition. The more recent or more common the book, the higher the baseline standards are among the savvy collectors. For scarce books, those same savvy collectors will be wise to find a book without a jacket until one with a jacket may be located.
However, as with prices of any collectible, the supply and demand factors come into sharp focus. There have to be at least a few people who want something and it has to be somewhat elusive for the value to exceed the intrinsic value of the pile of paper, ink, and cloth (or the retail price of a new reprint, if available).
For that reason, I question your off-hand analogy that because this is presently the earliest known dust jacket that it is somehow the Gutenberg of jackets. For the Gutenberg Bible, the notion is that it is the first major book composed with movable type. It is a significant milestone in the history of printing, publishing, and information transfer.
The first dust jacket might be a milestone in advertising but this is not as strong of a claim. It is interesting that this early example has any printing on it at all. Many of the early jackets I have seen (even from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries) have little or no printing on them at all.
Further, even if this is the earliest jacket or at least the very first one to include advertising (some documentation needed here!) I can see no reason why the value of the jacket on this book has any relation at all to the value of a Gutenberg Bible.
Instead, the value of the jacket is some multiplying factor (perhaps with a bonus for the earliest extant jacket) based on the value of that book in the same condition in the market. I don't recognize the book and perhaps it is valuable in some circles or maybe the reason the jacket survived is that no one read the book :)
Jackets on significant printings of significant books have been discovered in unique or almost unique copies and these tend to be the most valuable compared with the books themselves. The examples which come to mind include The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Moby Dick, an early Sherlock Holmes, etc.
Numerically, one example I can recall is Tarzan of the Apes (A.C. McClurg, 1914). The true first printing in VG condition generally sells for $2,000. A couple copies in VG dust jackets have sold in the $50,000 range. In that case, the jacket represents 98% of the potential value of the book. However, find a jacket on another 1914 A.C. McClurg book not by Burroughs and you might have a very low-value item indeed.
James D. Keeline
. May 01, 2009
re: Objects of Desire
Thanks for highlighting "Objects of Desire," one of the best books ever written on collecting, American antiques and a love of the past.
. May 01, 2009
re: Auction Search and Results
Right you are, the auctions are making the market. Love your coverage and love your new
searchable base. Keep up the good work.
Prints Pacific Ltd
. March 02, 2009
Your website was nicely laid out before.
Why do companies with good websites always
change them for the worse?
We appreciate your kind words about the former structure of our website. However, your view seems to have been something of a minority. The old site included 25 links on the side and a jumble of features in the middle. Some of these links were important, others of at most minor significance. What we have done is combine these into the 7 main features offered by the site. They can be reached via the side links or the "wheel" on the home page. It is no longer necessary to search through dozens of links to find them. Less important features can be still be reached, but as subsets to the main feature. In other words, everything now follows a logical outline.
We think the site may have seemed fine the way it was because you were used to where to find things. New viewers were mostly confused. In addition, many of our regular visitors and members were only using the site for one or two features, unaware that others existed because of the jumble of confusion.
We are confident that after using the new site a little while, you will soon find it at least as friendly and probably more so than the previous version.
With our best wishes.
. March 01, 2009
Congrats on your new website. Works really well, even with Safari (before it wouldn't work with Safari). Now I can finally junk my old Internet Explorer.
. February 03, 2009
Problem with Overseas Mailing
I very much appreciate your monthly mailing. What I have is a scary happening
that occurred on a fairly recent sale to a collector in France that might be worth
relaying to other dealers. This collector had previously purchased several ebay
offerings from me in the $2000 to $3000 range, so he was a good customer. On the
occasion of concern, he purchased two titles from me for a combined value (purchase
price) of $2800. He asked for and received insurance and I sent them out via USPS
to Paris. Fortunately, notation of the weight of the package was made at the local
post office of 7 lbs. and 6 oz. Insurance value was $3,000.
Several weeks went by
before the customer received the delivery. It weighed slightly over 6 lbs. and
consisted of a several hundred pages of typing paper. The purchaser was quick to email
me with the information and I sent him (at his request) the insurance paperwork from
the Post Office. He submitted it to the International Postal Union in Paris along
with the contents of the package (but apparently not all of the wrapping). The
insurance was denied and my purchaser was out his $2800 plus insurance cost. There
was nothing I could do from this end, except that now all overseas shipments to
France, Italy and Germany (where I have heard of similar "missing delivery items")
are via FedEx. The rationale is that FedEx is reported to have their own "resident"
customs inspectors. In the case of this incident, the loss was traced to the
customs office in Paris. Just thought you might want to pass on this type of
information to your readers...and thank you for the very pertinent content and
information your monthly mailing contains.
stephenb February 01, 2009
I enjoy reading the AE Monthly and occasionally check the Letters to the Editor, but I'm not a book seller but a book buyer. Mostly they are books for myself to read (ancient history and languages, mostly). Usually the transactions are not worth mentioning, but perhaps you will enjoy the following story of a book purchase that went very well.
About three weeks before Christmas my wife asked me to make nine copies of a book called "Smith's Barn, A Child's History of the West Side of Worcester," by Robert M. Washburn. She wanted to give them to her two sisters, five nieces and two sons.
She was interested because her grandmother's family was the Smiths of Worcester, and quite a few of her great- or great-great aunts and uncles were mentioned in the book. Her copy had been her mother's, and she and her sisters had all wanted to have it for their own. I think they drew straws and of course this meant two disappointments.
Instead of making copies, I did a quick search on ABE (not the only one I might have used, I know), and found that there were eleven first edition copies for sale, and two reprints. This was a bit of a surprise, since the family had always thought that this book must be quite uncommon, but also uninteresting to most of the world.
Since eleven is greater than nine, I knew I had it made. From the descriptions, I selected what seemed like the nine "best" copies. So, nearly cornering the market on Smith's Barn, I ordered all nine, and each of the nine booksellers responded quickly. This is a good record, but is consistent with my past experience: people who sell books are good, reliable people.
One day we opened all nine parcels. Some were packaged with an astonishing number of layers. Some made good use of stray pieces of cardboard, bubble wrap or old newspaper (I enjoyed reading again one of the humorous pre-election stories). One even came with a pencil imprinted with web address.
It worked out so well that I sent each seller a special thank-you for making this part of our Christmas quick, easy and meaningful.
And this letter is to thank the bookseller community as a whole for a much-needed and much-appreciated service.
Blue Bell, PA
Editor's Note: Thank you for your kind comments. The rare bad experience is usually the only one that gets retold. Your batting nine for nine attests to how the vast majority of sales are transacted. And, as for its rarity, you have made it a rare book. There is now only one first edition available on Abe. Thanks again.
. January 02, 2009
I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter. It's always fun to read and contains very useful information. I appreciate that a lot of work must go into everything you do for the site.
Happy New Year to you!
Kind regards from Sabine.
Sabine's Fine Used Books Ltd.
3101-115 Fulford Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC
Canada V8K 2T9
. January 01, 2009
Price Correction (re: AE Top 500)
Please note that your numbers 63 and 64 are in fact Old Master Prints, and not books!
Otherwise your list is greatly appreciated, and quite interesting. Keep up the good
. December 15, 2008
I must formally disagree with the article by Michael Stillman regarding the future
of Real Books.
I think we are dealing with different sorts of people here. On the one hand, you
have those who appreciate the Real Book, love its feel, the paper, the covers, the
dustjacket or leather binding. Once read, it keeps on giving. That can never be
replaced by plastic.
The look of the book on the shelf and in your library enhances your environment, and
I have had a lot of customers comment on that recently. The Real Book is the art of
the environment in your home, that constantly offers positive, in most cases, feed
On the other hand, you have a piece of plastic.
Useful if you just want information.
No aesthetic value whatsoever.
Different people will use this.
. November 11, 2008
Hi, I've been remiss in not thanking you earlier for the very nice article you wrote about me and my upcoming book auction. I did want to tell you and others that I am not retiring from the book business - just paring down personal collections plus many duplicates from my book stock.
Now if you could just convince my new computer (with the lovely Vista features) that I really want to look at a page when I hit a link for it, I will be forever in your debt.
. November 04, 2008
RE: Alibris pricing data
Being an Alibris seller, I checked out this new tool after I saw your write-up. It
seems to be as much of a JOKE as the pricing info they provide on the Sellers
The first book I checked was 0810912228, The Story of Kodak, their recommended price
point is $7.98. Unfortunately it weighs 6 pounds without packaging. With the Alibris
postage allowance, that isn't going to be very profitable.
The second book checked is 0486236544, The Book of Wood Carving. Their
recommendation is $1.99. However I sold that book on Alibris on Nov. 1 for $4.99.
Third try is 1567312640, A Fly Fisher's Life. Alibris recommends $2.44. Their
current listings show a range from $4.99 to $99.00, with an average of $16.37.
Thanks for the good info, Alibris.
It must just be a rehash of the garbage you get when you check their pricing
recommendations. The data I saw in these trials tells me it would just be a waste of
time and feed me a ton of intentionally misleading misinformation.
They must be suffering from the eBay disease, an overabundance of MBA's who don't
know how to do anything else but sell on price. What do they care, it isn't their
P&L statement! Make it cheaper and we'll sell more and the consumers will love us!
Same thing on Amazon with their little blue checks for the lowest price. Designed to
push the seller's prices down.
But being brain-dead MBA's, they don't realize that in the real world, there are
other things to do with books. Dump them on the ground at a flea market for a $1 or
$2 each and they will sell. Why bother to grade, describe, inventory, pick, pack and
ship them for that kind of money? Selling books for a penny? You might get more from
a re-cycler. Or feed them into a box stove.
Thanks for trying but that tool isn't worth a darn.
. November 01, 2008
Regarding your article on the Google settlement, I think it really misses the boat
in one area. When huge quantities of out-of-print books will be easily purchased in
a download form at a very inexpensive price, it will make vast amounts of actual
printed books very unsalable. This lawsuit, which I have been watching for a long
time, is probably the biggest event since the advent of the internet in terms of
effecting the used and rare markets. For example, the value of bibliographies which
are already vastly declined because of information available on the internet will go
down to almost nothing. All kinds of books will follow this form. Also, the number
of sales of rare books by dealers to libraries will decline. Rare book dealers who
sell obscure and odd editions of material from the 19th century on back will face
the problem of that the library can get a digital of the book for free that is being
flogged to the library by the dealer. The material which is the information in
physical form is no longer obscure in that only three libraries actually have the
physical book in their holdings, it is accessable to anyone in seconds. We are
already in the era of the penny sellers, but this is different. Great quantities of
books will get trashed because their information status has been eroded and they are
not commercially viable. There will, of course, still be plenty for the dealers to
sell, but when the 7 million and expanding Google books come on line, it is going to
be a whole new world.
. November 01, 2008
Not all your readers are politically liberal, though it is evident in your pronouncements over the years that you labor mightily to further that goal.
An article supporting the election of John McCain and Sarah Palin would doubtless have cost readers and caused you mental anguish.
It would have been inappropriate.
Supporting Barack Obama and John Biden? Well, that's perfectly appropriate, isn't it?
Graham October 30, 2008
As an abebooks dealer I think this may be of interest to many readers. I
have just been used as a pawn in an unsuccessful bank fraud scam. Cannot
go into details as it is under investigation but basically I got an order
for over 3,000 GB pounds worth of books directly from someone in Sweden who claimed
to be setting up a bookstore, he said he could pay by GB pounds check so I
agreed. He then said check had erroneously been made out for too much and
could I refund by Western Union when I received it. Eventually check
arrived (for 3,210 GB pounds) from a bank in Northern Ireland drawn to a different
name. Meanwhile he told me the Western Union transfer should go to Dubai.
Unfortunately for him the check bounced 'drawer unknown' with check
retained by bank suspected of being counterfeit. Over last couple of days,
while check was due to clear, he phoned me and I assured him I would
transfer money around noon, but notification of it bouncing came just
before he made what was his third phone call - as soon as I told him he
just put the phone down. Clearly the aim of this strange
Sweden-Dubai-Londonderry triangle was to defraud the bank of around 2,000 GB pounds,
leaving me none-the-wiser - presumably his 'shipping agent' (to whom he
kept refering) would have collected the books (5 antiquarian items) so they
would have had those as well. Seems to me to be going to great lengths
for a fairly small sum of money, but presumably it was part of a bigger
scam. I might have twigged something was odd from the books chosen - an
odd volume of Wolff's Theologia Naturalis (instead of both), A.R.Wallace's
Autobiography, Stahl on Haemorrhoids, Palmer's 1710 Essays on proverbs and
the 1852 volume of Mullers Archive!