Are we there yet?



How long until the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair?

Friday, September 7, 2018

Congratulations to the winners for the 2018 Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize: five young women who love books


Word comes today of the 2018 Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize winner and runners-up. It was announced in The Paris Review daily blog. The winner is Jessica Jordan, a graduate student in English at Stanford University and former bookseller. Her extensive collection of books illustrated by Caldecott Medal-winning artists Leo and Diane Dillon captured the judges' attention. The couple worked together for half a century and produced illustrations for children's books, magazine covers, and adult paperback books, some of which are shown in the images accompanying this post.

Heather O'Donnell and Rebecca Romney, owners of Honey & Wax Booksellers in Brooklyn, N.Y., created the prize last year to encourage young women book collectors. It is open to women book collectors under 30 years old. The winner receives $1,000. Four runners-up are chosen, too, and they receive $250 each. Congratulations to the winners. We are proud to provide tickets to the next Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in April to all the winners.

You can get more information about the Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize on the bookstore website.

Monday, April 16, 2018

It's Book Fair Week at last!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Don't miss this week's BookWeek!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April 14: the book laird of Kentucky



April 14th’s Cafe guest is a true legend. John Glover runs one of the oldest bookstores in the state of Kentucky, Glover’s Bookery in Lexington. A regular exhibitor at the Florida Anntiqurian Book Fair, he is also coming to see us Saturday on Rare Book Cafe!

Glover's Bookery is a large general used & rare bookstore with a well organized stock of over 80,000 mostly hardback books, antiquarian maps & prints, and tribal art. They have been buying and selling books since 1978. In their Lexington, Kentucky store, you can find thousands of used and rare books for the scholar, collector, and general reader. The Bookery started selling books on line in 1998 and never looked back.

Another account has it,

Glover’s Bookery is perched prominently on South Broadway, beckoning customers with its array of used and rare book selections for “the scholar, collector, and general reader.” A true shopping experience, this unique storefront offers a well-organized stock of more than 80,000 mostly hardback books, along with antiquarian maps and prints and tribal art.

It is one of the longest-running bookstores in Kentucky, selling a majority of rare and collectible books and fueled by a self-professed “passion and love,” according to owner John Glover. Outside of the books housed within the store itself Glover has more than 20,000 selections for purchase through an Internet database. Nearly one half of his profits are garnered from online sales.

“In this business, you must shift gears and adapt,” he said. “If you don’t go with the niche market, you will die.”

Glover is not a mere book collector but an antiquarian, or one who deals exclusively in collecting, selling or studying old valuable items. His main interest lies in the highly collectible and aesthetically cherished titles. However, this should not discourage anyone from bringing him boxes of books, which he fields on a daily basis.

“If it’s neat, interesting and unique, I will look at it,” he said. “I’m a book lover, so I will never retire from this.”

While he echoes the feelings of fellow proprietors that book-selling is changing, he remains confident about the sustainability of books and the bookstore. Glover does an inordinate amount of travel and has seen the unfortunate demise of his favorite independent bookshops across the nation. Some of these operations simply could not justify the overhead required, which has moved many to run their book businesses out of their garages. While this is not the traditional storefront, physical bookshop, it still purveys the persistence of collectors.

“There will always be used bookstores in some form,” he said, “just in a passionate, somewhat reduced degree.”

*****

Rare Book Cafe is streamed every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT. We feature interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.

The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.

The program’s regular guests include Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein;  and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.

We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers:A Bric-A-Brac in Miami;  Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; A-Bric-A-Brac in Miami Beach; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.

Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtual live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

April 7 on Rare Book Cafe: not one but two fascinating guests!



It’s a crowded and entertaining week Saturday on Rare Book Cafe, with not one, but two, of our favorite guests!



Lee Irby, who moonlights as a history professor at Florida’s Eckerd College, is the author of Unreliable, his 2017 hit novel:
Riotous and riveting, this is the story of a charming college professor who most definitely did not—but maybe did—kill his ex-wife. Or someone else. Or no one. Irby plays with the thriller trope in unimaginably clever ways.  
Edwin Stith, a failed novelist and college writing instructor in upstate New York, is returning home for the weekend to Richmond, Virginia, to celebrate his mother’s wedding—to a much younger man. Edwin has a peculiar relationship with the truth. He is a liar who is brutally honest. He may or may not be sleeping with his students, he may or may not be getting fired, and he may or may not have killed his ex-wife, a lover, and his brand-new stepsister. 
Stith’s dysfunctional homecoming leads him deep into a morass of long-gestating secrets and dangers, of old-flames still burning strong and new passions ready to consume everything he holds dear. But family dysfunction is only eclipsed by Edwin’s own, leading to profound suspense and utter hilarity. Lee Irby has crafted a sizzling modern classic of dark urges, lies, and secrets that harks back to the unsettling obsessions of Edgar Allan Poe—with a masterful ending that will have you thinking for days.
Unreliable is Irby’s fourth book. His first, 7,000 Clams (2005) and its sequel, The Up and Up (both were published by Doubleday) centers on the quirks of Florida's history, the interplay of natural beauty and rampant corruption and violence that marked the Sunshine State in the 1920s. 

Indeed, in a story in the Eckerd College student paper  highlighted those crosscurrents:
The interactions between people and the environment in Florida are a passion of Visiting Assistant Professor of History Lee Irby. He teaches classes such as Florida’s Fragile Environment and Florida History to highlight key Floridian environmental issues. He feels the phosphorus levels in Lake Okeechobee is one of the biggest concerns...
Irby echoes nature writer and Everglades conservationist Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ words that “the Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet”... “The ecosystem of the Everglades just doesn't reflect Florida history — it is Florida history, because the natural Glades took up the bottom 40 percent of the state,” Irby said. “The Everglades is dying a slow death, despite the efforts of well-meaning people, because the lifestyle of development and tourism will never mesh with what the Glades needs, which is clean, free-flowing water.”

Of himself, the author writes, “Irby was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1963. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1986 with degrees in English and History. He then set about seeing the world, living in St. Croix, Italy, Mexico, and several major U.S. cities. He came of age in Key West, Florida, where he worked many odd jobs but found his voice as a writer amid the human debris of that island city,” we took him at his word. 

But wait! as the late-night Ronco ads used to shout: there’s more!



While wired readers load up their iPads, Kindles and Nooks with summer reading, one online marketplace is keeping the pages turning for hardcore bibliophiles. For over 10 years, Asheville-based Biblio.com has connected collectors around the globe with used and rare books, growing to become, by some measures, one of the top-three online used-book sellers.

A year to the day since her last visit, we’re also going to be joined by Amber Shehan, Biblio’s Marketing Coordinator and Book Pixie (they also have a CEO/Quixotist; a COO/Minister of Finance; and a CTO/Recondite Gumshoe), is a bookseller down to the ground. Don’t take out word for it; she said so herself, in a Huffington Post article she called “A Childhood Built on Banned Books.”

In her off hours, Shehan is active in the Asheville theater community and cultivates all things herbal via her blog, Pixie’s Pocket, which offers “recipes, foraging tips, weird homebrews, and other wild kitchen experiments you'd expect from a tipsy fae creature.” Mead, anyone?

Biblio.com, founded in 1993, represents some 5,000 independent book dealers around the world, most recently moving into the Australian and New Zealand marketplace. They count among their business collaborators The Internet Online Booksellers Association, the Association of Antiquarian Booksellers of America, and BookGilt. Some one hundred million books rest in Biblio’s internet inventories.

_____

Rare Book Cafe is streamed every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT. We feature interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.

The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.

The program’s regular guests include Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein;  and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.

We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers:A Bric-A-Brac in Miami;  Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; A-Bric-A-Brac in Miami Beach; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.

 Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtual live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

All the news to give you fits.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Today on Rare Book Cafe-

Friday, March 30, 2018

BookWeek ventures into nature, red in tooth and claw

Monday, March 26, 2018

Here's why every Saturday is a good book day!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Here's this week's BookWeek program!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For St. Patrick's Day, a 150-year show-and-tell of popup books!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

We missed you today on BookWeek!




Here's the link to today's BookWeek: Thursday in the sordid world of the rare and collectible: auctions- present and future- promise fortunes; author Sherman Alexie's #MeToo moment; the EU worries booksellers are terrorists' catspaws; and how fantasy author Terry Brooks' comic book collection got stolen. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Bring your inner kid along for this Saturday's Rare Book Cafe!



Spring is the season for kids, as e.e. cummings reminds us:

in Just- 
spring          when the world is mud- 
luscious the little 
lame balloonman 

whistles          far          and wee 

and eddieandbill come 
running from marbles and 
piracies and it's 
spring 

when the world is puddle-wonderful 

the queer 
old balloonman whistles 
far          and             wee 
and bettyandisbel come dancing 

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and 

it's 
spring 
and 

         the 

                  goat-footed 

balloonMan          whistles 
far 
and 
wee


So with spring springing- here and there, other bits it’s cold, and up north, everyone remains homebound by the Weekly Nor-easters- Rare Book Cafe is delighted to welcome rare and collectible children’s book dealer Larry Rakow to our March 17 program!

The Ohio-based rare children’s book expert- one of last year’s most popular guests- returns 51 weeks after his last visit, and, again, while packing for the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

With a brilliant website and blog, an online catalogue, YouTube videos, and a Facebook page, Wonderland Books is an easy find for the online shopper. Here's how Wonderland describes itself:

Wonderland Books began doing business in 1990, dealing in old, rare, and out-of-print children's books. Owner Larry Rakow is a former children's and young adult librarian and the prior owner of Kidstamps and Wonder-Shirts, businesses that create educational items and apparel designed by some of the world's leading children's illustrators to encourage and motivate reading. (Interested? You can check out Wonder-Shirts current website at www.wonder-shirts.com.) A proud member of the Movable Book Society (www.movablebooksociety.org) and the Magic Lantern Society of the U.S. and Canada (www.magiclanternsociety.org) and a past-president of the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society (www.nobsweb.org), Larry lives with his wife, Susan, two children and four grandchildren in Cleveland Heights, OH.

Wonderland Books maintains an inventory of more than 12,000 titles and specializes in pop-up and novelty books, Newbery and Caldecott-award winners, Golden Books, and illustrated titles from Victorian through modern times. We attend a limited number of book fairs each year (check out our blog to see upcoming dates), but tend to do most of our sales over the internet. We pride ourselves on offering collectible books in extraordinary condition and, in the past, have helped customers complete collections of Caldecott-winners and Little Golden Books, rare Meggendorfer, Nister, and Raphael Tuck titles, and many much-beloved books from their childhoods. Looking for a particular title? I'm sure we can help.

____________

Rare Book Cafe is streamed every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT. We feature interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.

The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.

The program’s regular guests include Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein;  and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.

We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers:A Bric-A-Brac in Miami;  Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; A-Bric-A-Brac in Miami Beach; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.

 Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtual live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

Join us for BookWeek Thursday!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

40 days and 40 nights left til the next Book Fair! Here's what's on this Saturday-


Carl Mario Nudi, Letterpress Coordinator at the Tampa Book Arts Studio, discusses the printing action of their Kelsey tabletop press with Allen Singleton and Amber Shehan of the rare book online website Biblio.com at last year's Book Fair. Allen holds the bookmark he just printed. (Photo by T. Allan Smith, Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.)


There may be snow on the ground- and in the air as the third nor'easter in a fortnight forms- March 10 in Asheville, North Carolina, but we’re gonna fight to clear a path through the stormy airwaves to bring you our guest, Allen Singleton. He's COO / Minister of Finance, for Biblio.com, a sponsor of this year’s Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, April 20-22 in St. Petersburg!

Allen is an ex-academic (Ph.D. University of Chicago) with abiding interests in the world of books, computers, and Daoism. He has a Ph.D. in comparative philosophy of religions from the University of Chicago. He left academics over fifteen years ago and decided to pursue a career in IT. He has extensive experience both as an IT administrator and as a manager. At Biblio, he has found the ideal opportunity to marry his interests and help nurture a dynamic and rapidly growing business.

Allen and his wife, Cassie, have three daughters (“wonderful” ones, Biblio adds). Allen enjoys playing guitar and likes to keep his hand in his field of study by reading odd bits of Daoist texts. Favorite books and authors: Don Quixote, Neal Stephenson, and Chuang Tzu (Zhuang Zi).


We’ll be talking with Allen- and trying to keep Cafe producer Allan Smith from taxing Allen Singleton about spelling his name wrong- about all things Biblio-logical and -graphic; who’s coming to the Book Fair and why, and many other things we haven’t even thought of yet. Because, as we learned talking with Allen in last year’s live Book Fair broadcasts, one thing sorta leads to another. 


What’s a Biblio? Ask Founder Brendan Sherar, who ends his story of the company with this:


We've grown, but we've proudly maintained our original vision, becoming a local bookstore on a global scale. Every day we enable our customers - over a million book lovers from every country on earth - to find high-quality books. We've helped people get books they've spent years trying to find, and in the process, we've helped forge lasting relationships between book lovers and independent booksellers. Our technology bridges geographies to help customers form old-fashioned relationships with small corner bookstores around the world.


Every day, we help small businesses in 45 countries develop and grow their businesses. We provide them with technology and tools that allow them to establish and strengthen their identity. We enable them to connect with their customers and form new relationships.


We love what we do. We love it because we have a chance to do something positive for the world around us. Every day we strive to do a little something more in addition to our jobs. Some days we create strategies for reducing our consumption in our office, reusing and recycling more, composting what we can. Some days we collect, sort, and distribute free books to those in need.


We're fortunate to do work we love while making the world a little better along the way. We're proud of our achievements, but we're even more proud of who we've become as a company.


In an epic story, that's called character development.


The story of Biblio.com is constantly moving forward and changing, while our triple bottom line remains constant. We don't know the end of this tale, but we can't wait to find out!


In a 2013 profile, Mountain Xpress added,

The present-day incarnation of Biblio officially launched in 2003. Sherar says the initial growth period was fast-paced. “There was a lot of room out there on the horizon, I guess, available for the picking. That was also during a pretty heady growth period for the Internet and e-commerce in particular,” he says.


Since then, the company has grown to include a catalogue of 85 million books from 5,000 booksellers worldwide. Biblio employs 11 people, who all work at the company’s headquarters on South Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville. Although their sales are nowhere near book behemoth Amazon, Biblio has carved a niche market in rare, collectible and out-of-print books. Chief Operating Officer Allen Singleton says this specialization has given them an edge.


“We’re competing with the likes of Amazon, [which] outpaces us in sales by several orders of magnitude. But we’ve got a strong position in the hearts and minds of booksellers because our business practices aren’t competing with them; we’re trying to get them in contact with customers,” says Singleton.


Sherar reports that the company grosses about $8 million in sales annually, with most of those profits going back into the pockets of the bookstores. Although experiencing steady growth for the majority of the decade, even during the Great Recession, Biblio stumbled in 2010 after making some changes to its site.


“We made a lot of changes at once,” explains Singleton. “We did an overall redesign of the site, did a refactoring of the search architecture, changed the URL structure. … We changed three or four very core things about the site, then we saw a drop-off from the search engines, not immediately, but a pretty steady drop-off from there.”


Like most Internet companies, Biblio relies on steady traffic from Google, whose highly secretive search algorithms make it hard to gauge what making a change might do to a company’s search rankings. “It is kind of a conundrum with Google. … In some ways that stifles innovation. You’re kind of afraid to make a big radical change because you don’t know how that will affect your business. Our approach with Google these days is benign neglect,” says Sherar.


Biblio has also won fame for building over a dozen libraries in Bolivia through its nonprofit charitable arm.


Rare Book Cafe is streamed every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT. We feature interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.


The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.


The program’s regular guests include Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein;  and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.


We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers:A Bric-A-Brac in Miami;  Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; A-Bric-A-Brac in Miami Beach; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.


 Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtual live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.




Thursday, March 1, 2018

This week the Old Bag Lady sits for a spell at the Cafe

old bag lady logo 2.jpg


For decades, an old man in shirtsleeves conducted his business affairs from a table in the Colonnades Beach Hotel in Palm Beach Shores, where he and his wife lived in an apartment above the bar, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Lake Worth Lagoon.


When he died in 1987 he left his fortune to create the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


So you never know about people.


Same’s true if you visit a department store-turned-collectibles mall, also in Florida, and ask around for the Old Bag Lady. You’ll soon learn the bag is full of rare books and the OBL herself is Madlyn Blom, immediate past president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.




Blom is this week’s guest on the Rare Book Cafe, broadcast live Saturdays on all the best internet channels.


In 1995, LA Times writer Dana Parsons wrote,

Every bookstore owner I've met got into the business after trying something else.


Madlyn Blom’s no exception. After getting her MPH at the University of Michigan, Blom made a career in hospital administration, ending up in medical library work.


Then, as she told Tampa Bay Online, came the epiphany.


"I had just gotten married, I was stressed out from working at a domestic violence shelter and I said, 'I really don't want to do that again,'" she said. "My husband, Bob, asked what I wanted to do and I always wanted a bookstore, so this is it."


She opened a shop in Holland, Michigan. Later, she relocated it, moving the business to St. Augustine, Florida.


Five years later, in 2001, it moved with her to Punta Gorda, so she could be near her mother. There, most of her stock were on sale in an antique mall, both of which were destroyed in Hurricane Charlie.


Undeterred, Blom relo’d again to Sun City Center. And now, she’ll be joining us Saturday from her new hangout, Booth 8 - Orange Aisle at Skyline Marina Mall, 4301 34th St. St. Petersburg, FL. She’s there Thursday - Sundays 11-4PM or by appointment.


Among Blom's most popular sellers are auto manuals, military unit histories and black Americana. Serena Wyckoff, owner of Copperfish Books LLC in Port Charlotte, said Blom's experience in finding rare books has made her renowned among rare book sellers. "She's been doing it for years. She knows what a good book to get is and what isn't. She has a real keen eye, for sure," she said. Among the books Blom sells are ones that wouldn't normally be found in a particular genre. For example, "Narrative of Suffering and Defeat of the North-Western Army Under General Winchester," by A. G. Hodges, printed in 1842, is for sale for $167 due to its regional context.




Some of Blom's customers said they've found books through Old Bag Lady that they've spent years trying to find elsewhere. Narges Ahmadi of Cape Coral said she had gone through myriad booksellers trying to find a copy of an autobiography by Ignacio Jan Paderewski, a concert pianist and composer who was a Polish pianist, composer and the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland. She said Blom was able to find it in a matter of months.


"She's really easy to work with and she really has a lot of unique books. She knows what she's doing and has a lot of experience and knowledge," she said. Blom said she likes the challenge of finding diamonds in the rough in the rare book business and hopes to continue doing it for years to come. "I plan to do this indefinitely. It's a fun and rewarding. A lot of these books, the longer someone keeps them, the more valuable they become," she said.


Twenty-some years on, she is still at it.

We'll also be looking at Florida books and ephemera for Florida Statehood Day, March 3!



Rare Book Cafe is streamed every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT. We feature interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.

The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.

The program’s regular guests include Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein;  and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.

We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers:A Bric-A-Brac in Miami;  Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; A-Bric-A-Brac in Miami Beach; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.

Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtual live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

If it's Thursday, it's BookWeek!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Did you miss Saturday's Cafe? We saved it for you-



Saturday's Rare Book Cafe was a fun, wide-ranging program. We had Richard Davies from Abe.com; Edie Eisenstein's miniature books; a contest that stumped everyone, and two searches for the story of obscure books from viewers!

If you missed us live, you can see it on demand right here! Just click this link. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

We got stuck trying to search for a book on Abe.com. So we got the expert in, to show us how this weekend!

Rare Book Cafe is delighted to invite you to visit with us and Abe.com’s public relations director, Richard Davies, on our February 24, 2018 program, at 2.30 pm EDT.
There seems to be little Davies has not seen in the book trade. Of what remains, he is like Aristotle: no matter the direction in which we strike, we meet him on the way back. But among the things we’ll be chatting him up on will be the growth of women in bookselling and collecting, and tips on how to do a search in Abe’s vast databases that will get you useful and timely information!
Abebooks is one of the principal sponsors of this year’s Florida Antiquarian Book Fair as well. The vent will be April 20-22 at the fabulous art deco Coliseum in St Petersburg.
Of his career, Davies says:
I joined AbeBooks in 2005. Although I have always loved books and been an avid reader, I realized that my knowledge of books was actually rather limited when I began working with rare booksellers. I work in the marketing department as the company’s PR person so I deal with books and booksellers on a daily basis.

Davies penguins.jpg

I am fascinated by the rare and collectible items that are listed for sale each day and the sales that are made each day. By studying these rare books for more than 10 years, I have acquired a reasonably sound knowledge of this business. Of course, AbeBooks is an online marketplace so I never have the books in my hand. I am reliant on the information and images provided by sellers. I also spend many hours on the telephone, listening to what sellers have to say. I try to visit used and rare bookshops when travelling – the most expensive book that I have ever handled was a first edition of Leaves of Grass and I felt scared to touch it. That’s a piece of American history right there.  I recently visited both the New York Public Library and the Morgan Library (which are two blocks apart), and found both places to be amazing. The Morgan had a Gutenberg bible on display – it was the first time I’d ever seen one.
Helping to sell an expensive item on behalf of a seller is a very gratifying experience. I am extremely motivated when I come across things that are truly unique or have immense cultural or historical significance.
I am a former journalist and that background means I am drawn to unusual items. Edith Wharton’s baby rattle takes some beating. Listed for sale in 2015, this was no ordinary rattle. Made from sterling silver, it contained a whistle, was engraved with the word ‘Edith’, and had a red coral teething section.
In 2008, George Bernard Shaw’s Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriter was listed for sale. Imagine typing out a letter on that historic machine. Along the top edge of the guarantee in faded ink, Shaw had written the words ‘Bernard Shaw, Ayot St Lawrence, Welwyn Herts.”’
Truman Capote’s birth certificate is currently for sale at close to $35,000 but that’s relatively affordable compared to Jack Kerouac’s signed original painting of his brother, Gerard. Albert Einstein’s childhood building blocks are still very much useable, but would you want to build castles with something that costs more than $160,000?
John Updike’s senior class high school yearbook is just one of many yearbooks on AbeBooks featuring people of significance… before they were significant. There’s a Bolivian catechism from circa 1850 written on llama skin, a check signed by Edgar Rice Burroughs for a mere 50 cents, and many more highly unusual items that we don’t spot. And there was the time that Eugene O’Neill’s underpants were listed for sale.
All these items are well out of my personal price range but I enjoy finding and buying quirky and unusual books that can be picked up cheaply. Examples would be I Seem To Be a Verb by Buckminster Fuller (a crazy book that shows what today’s Internet would have looked like in the early 1970s) and The Poison Cookbook from Peter Pauper Press.

davies king.jpg

I also enjoy reading non-fiction, particularly memoirs and biographies. Travel is one of my favorite genres. I love the writing of Patrick Leigh Fermor, Jan Morris, Eric Newby and Bruce Chatwin. Patrick Leigh Fermor started walking across Europe when he was 18 – that still blows my mind. He walked across Germany as the Nazis were flexing their muscles. How can anyone just walk across a continent? Newby is funny and touching – Love and War in the Apennines is a very, very special book. Chatwin was probably bonkers too – In Patagonia and The Songlines are both remarkable reads. Morris’ book on Oxford – where I lived for many years – is so perceptive.
AbeBooks is thrilled to be one of the sponsors of this year’s Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and I’m sure it’s going to be a great event for visitors and the dealers attending.


Rare Book Cafe is sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It’s broadcast every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT and features interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.
The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s and the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair’s Facebook page; the Book Fair Blog, and the Book Fairs YouTube channel. Shows are archived on YouTube and can also be viewed on the Facebook pages, and the blog after their first run.
Hosted by Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, the program features a revolving set of cohosts and regular guests including Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein; and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.
Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtually live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.