Are we there yet?

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!