Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Give 'em an experience they'll never forget

For the book lovers on your Christmas list, here's the perfect gift idea. Don't give 'em a book. Give 'em an experience they'll never forget: a weekend at the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It's an adventure.

Consider this. At the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, more than 100 top-notch antiquarian book dealers from all over the country converge in St. Petersburg for one weekend. For the book lover, that's Paradise. Your book lover can browse beautiful, rare, unique, and amazing volumes that go for thousands of dollars or delicious reading copies of favorite classics that cost only a few dollars.

Here's the best part for you, the generous gift giver. Right now there's a Holiday Gift Special promotion available online at Eventbrite that lets you purchase four Weekend Pass tickets for the price of two. That means you can create an event for your book lovers that is remarkably reasonable. For what you would pay later on for just two tickets ($20), you can get four tickets. That's two for you and your best book lover, and two more for other book lovers in your life. What you're giving here is not just some tickets to an event. You're giving a special weekend of quality time spent in pursuit of joy!

Now what are you going to do with all that money you save? Well, you could make one of those gifts extra special by putting some spending money in the envelope, too. Something toward those incredible treasures you're bound to find at the book fair. Just sayin'

Just click on the link to Eventbrite where you can purchase tickets and you'll have this plan in the works without ever leaving your computer screen. Your book fair adventure starts here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tavistock Books' Vic Zoschak knows his Dickens

Vic Zoschak, of Tavistock Books, ABAA, in Alameda, California, is an authority on Charles Dickens. Vic started his Dickens obsession in the 1980s when he discovered a first edition of Dickens' first book, Pickwick Papers, in an antiquarian bookstore in Vancouver. If you want to talk the dickens out of Dickens, he's your man.

By wonderful serendipity, back in February, on the occasion of the great Mr. Dickens' birthday, Books Tell You Why, ABAA (which will also be returning to the book fair), published a very interesting interview with Vic about Dickens, trends in collecting, and the future of rare books. We suggest you take a look.

Meanwhile, we're looking forward to seeing Vic, and Joachim Koch of Books Tell You Way, ABAA in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, when they return to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

For Whom the Bell Tolls hooked Dan Whitmore

When Dan Whitmore, of Whitmore Rare Books, in Altadena, California, was in law school in Philadelphia a few years ago, he discovered a first edition of For Whom The Bell Tolls in a local bookstore, and he was hooked. He credits Kevin Johnson, of Royal Books in Baltimore, with helping him get started in book collecting and then giving him sage advice as he became a rare book dealer.

Nate Pedersen of Fine Books and Collections interviewed Dan for the magazine's Bright Young Things feature a couple of years ago. We hope you'll check it out and learn more about Dan.

We look forward to seeing Dan and his wife Darinka when they return for their second year at the book fair in March.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Some of our dealers have non-book lives (Oh, my!)

Our dealers at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair have lives other than books. (Imagine!) In fact, as knowledgeable and accomplished they are in the world of antiquarian books, some of them are equally accomplished in other areas as well.

Here's an example: Randall Dollahon, of Dollahon Fine Books in Miami, is jazz guitar director at the University of Miami.

Randall has been called one of the greatest living guitar players in the world. He is a graduate of the University of Houston and holds a master's degree in music from the University of Miami. He has played concerts, toured, and recorded with the likes of Burt Bacharach, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Placido Domingo, Bob James, Davie Liebman, Steve Morse, Jaco Pastorius, Ira Sullivan, and other jazz, country, rock, and Latin artists and groups.

Here's a session he did a couple of years ago with UM colleague Vince Maggio, who is professor of piano jazz. If you like jazz, it's worth a listen. And don't forget to stop by Randall's booth at the book fair and say hello.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

You never know what you'll see at the book fair

We were looking back through some of the photographs taken at the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair last March and we came across this delightful little scene that had slipped our minds.

It looks like Marlowe has made a new friend. Marlowe the puppy came with Sunday Steinkirchner and Josh Mann of B&B Rare Books, Ltd., ABAA in New York. Sunday and Josh will be back for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair next March. Betcha Marlowe comes, too. 

Anyway, we thought we'd share this little vignette of cuteness. It was delightful surprise not only for us but for many fairgoers who saw it in person. That's what we love about the book fair. You never know what you're going to see. One year a couple of the dealers burst into a spontaneous fiddle concert. (We'll have to dig that out of the archives and share it sometime soon.)

The point of all of this, of course, is to remind you to expect the unexpected at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Steinway Artist BK Davis to perform opening night

Steinway International Artist BK Davis
Sarasota musician BK Davis will perform live classical music for opening night at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. He is part of the Steinway International Artists roster that also includes Elton John, Billy Joel, Harry Connick, Jr., and Herbie Hancock. Davis has been performing for four decades, since he was a teen.

With his group, the BK Davis Trio, Davis is a frequent headliner at The Fox Jazz Club in Tampa. He returned earlier this year from a national Steinway concert tour that took him to venues in the East, South and Midwest, including his hometown of Davenport, Iowa.

Davis grew up in a music family. His father, a church bishop, pressed him into service as a teenager to serve as musical director for seven churches he oversaw. His mother, an accomplished vocalist, taught him to sing and play. Davis also plays guitar, organ, drums, and a dozen other instruments.

At 13, he composed his first song. At 14, he directed a 150-member church choir performing his song on national television. He wrote theme music for the Boy Scouts of America and for an Indianapolis 500 race, and for numerous television commercials. He co-wrote music with Little Richard and played in bands for B.B. King and Billy Preston. Though known as a jazz artist, Davis is accomplished in classical music, gospel and Latin genres as well. 

At home, Davis composes on a gold-trimmed ivory Steinway Concert Grand, a gift from his wife Rasheen for his devotion to her as she underwent chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer in 2011. She wrote of her experiences in her new book The Chemo Room, which will be available at the book fair. A former corporate executive, Rasheen Davis is now her husband's manager.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

New NYC top cop's special childhood book

NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton with his special book. | NBC News via The New York Times
Our theme for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is built on the principle that reading for children and to children is a good idea for civilization. The childhood reading experience is fundamental to a person's development. So it was a delight to see The New York Times' article about the city's newly appointed police commissioner. During a news conference, he was holding up a children's book.

2014 book fair children's theme poster.
This is actually the second time Bill Bratton has been Gotham's police commissioner. The first time was back in 1994, when he had a hand in significantly reducing the crime rate during his two years in the job. The passion of the prominent crime fighter for police work, though, began when he was a nine-year-old Boston youngster. That's when he went to a local library and picked up an illustrated book titled Your Police (Garden City Books, 1956) by George J. Zaffo.

In its day, the book was a favorite and found in libraries throughout the country. It told how to become a police recruit, the training involved and the duties of officers. Bold illustrations and typography showed guns, police helicopters, mounted police, and a forensics lab and equipment. It had everything a kid needed to know to become a policeman.

A Times article quoted ILAB rare book dealer Helen Younger, of Aleph-Bet Books in Westchester County, as saying the book was beautifully designed and unusual for its time. The book is long since out of print, and remaining copies listed online were bought immediately from and other websites. 

Turns out the book has had a special place in Bratton's life throughout his four-decade career in law enforcement. He has taken his copy to every police department he has work for, including Los Angeles, where he was police commissioner for seven years.

"I've taken this book everywhere I've ever gone, every department," The Times quoted him as saying at the news conference. "It's always proudly displayed because it had such a profound influence on me."

We hope fairgoers will have equally good fortune in finding the meaningful books in their lives when they come to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in March.

Here's a link to The New York Times article about Bill Bratton's appointment and a video from the news conference.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why we say: 100+ bookstores. Paradise.

So, this "100+ bookstores. Paradise." What's that all about?

Well, to a book lover, having more than 100 bookstores all in one place is paradise. That much is pretty clear. Book lovers revel in the experience of leisurely perusing volumes in a single bookstore. Give 'em many more times that one and they're joyous beyond reason.

We know one such happily afflicted fellow whose wife is always thrilled to find a bookstore (or a bevy of them) when they travel. She's a reader, too, just not as fanatical as he is. She claims she can drop him off at the bookstore, go shopping to her heart's content in all the little curio shops and gift shops and dress shops in whatever place they happen to be visiting, and return hours later to the bookstore where he's still contentedly grazing in the stacks. Hope she drops him off at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in March.

The other reason we use the slogan "100+ bookstores. Paradise." is that the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair happens to be presented in the leading tourist destination on the gulf coast. More than 13 million visitors drop by every year. And why not? We live in paradise! World-class beaches. Great accommodations. Fine dining. Spring training. Great museums. People make coming to the Suncoast a vacation.

No reason why book lovers shouldn't do the same.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

You'll find amazing ephemera at the book fair

Famous Chicago Tribune of November 3, 1948 was on display at the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.
Sometimes people who haven't been to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair before wonder if it's all books, and nothing else. Not that that would be a bad thing but the book fair is so much more.

Case in point. Ephemera, those pieces of printed matter not intended to last a long time but that give us insight into our past. There is always tons of ephemera at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

Correction type was put in upside down.
Last year, one of our dealers had this gem. The famous 1948 Chicago Tribune edition that prematurely declared that Republican Thomas E. Dewey had defeated Democratic incumbent Harry S Truman for president. Oops!

Story is that the returns were coming in very slowly and early returns showed Dewey would win. Deadline was looming and editors decided to go with a story based on the early returns. In fact, there was such haste to get the edition out that a compositor inadvertently put a five-line correction into the page upside down. Another oops!

When they discovered the major error, Tribune executives sent circulation employees out to recover papers from newsstands and the Chicago suburbs. Naturally, they didn't recover all of them. Staffers took some home and some were recovered from the trash after they had been clipped to indicate they were returns. This particular copy was completely intact and not clipped – a remarkable find!

All of this just serves as an example of the kinds of amazing items you'll find at the book fair. No, it's not just about the books.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book fair tickets are available online

Tickets for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair can be purchased online now.

For a limited time, you can take advantage of a special offer that gets you tickets at a remarkably low price.

Just in time for the season of gift-giving, we have the Holiday Gift Special. What a great opportunity! You can purchase four Weekend Pass tickets for the price of two. That means you can buy the tickets you were going to buy anyway to go to the book fair and get two more tickets free to give to other book lovers you know.

Tickets for the entire weekend normally cost $10 each but with this deal you can get four tickets for the price of two. Wrap up three of them as gifts and you've made great progress on your Christmas list.

When you give tickets to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, you're giving so much more than admission. You're giving a weekend experience that you and your friends will always remember. Plus, when you and  your friends discover the remarkable treasures that await at the book fair, you've given delight for the ages.

Who knew a simple, very astute purchase on your part could give so much?

Here's a link to Eventbrite where you can purchase tickets

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Too early to talk about the book fair?

We don't think it's a bit too early to start talking about one of the most anticipated events of the coming year – the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Sure, we're still three and a half months away from that wonderful weekend in March when book lovers from far and wide gather at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg for their annual tryst.

No, indeed! Not too early at all.

Consider this. That other widely anticipated event – the premiere of Downton Abbey Season 4 – happens on January 5, and devotees have been in the throes of longing since the summer. Heck, if truth be told, frenzied anticipation began as soon as Season 3 was over. By September, (about the same distance from the Downton premiere as we are now from the opening of the book fair), the Downton-sphere was already atwitter about the new season. Indeed, PBS was showing teasing little previews to increase the salivation.

The foreplay has continued and will continue right on up to that glorious first Sunday of the new year, when, at last, there will be relief!

We know where we'll be on that Sunday night. We have a date with the Granthams and the Crowleys, and, of course, Mr. Carson and his staff.

We also know where we'll be on that glorious Friday night in March when we hear those sweet, sweet words: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is now open."

But pardon us while we salivate in the meantime.

Monday, December 2, 2013

And now, a bookmark for all seasons

Our new bookmarks are in and they have a special distinction. There's no date on them so they never go out of style. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is always the second full weekend March and that's what it says on the bookmark. So it's true for 2014 (our next book fair) but it's also true for 2015, 2016 and so on. It saves money because we don't have to do them over again next year and it reminds our fans when to plan for the book fair. If you'd like some bookmarks, stop by the St. Petersburg Public Library and ask for one, or send us an email at

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Book Thief looks like a winner!

With Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, there is no doubt that The Book Thief is headed for Oscar consideration. And why not? It's an amazing story based on the 2005 bestseller by Australian Markus Zusak. It is set in Nazi Germany and concerns a young girl who steals books and shares them with others, not exactly the sort of activity booksellers want to encourage. On the other hand, the books in question were in the process of being burned.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair: What dealers say

We asked dealers who participated in the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair to tell us about their experiences. Here is some of what they shared with us.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Florida Book Fair: A collector finds what he wants

Here's a word from bookseller Ken Hebenstreit of Royal Oak, Michigan, one of the rare book dealers you'll meet at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, March 8-10, 2013 at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is the southeast's oldest and largest antiquarian book fair. It features more than 115 dealers in books, maps, photographs, prints, ephemera and autographs. You can find rare books, collectible books and out-of-print books at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. BUY TICKETS ONLINE | GET MORE INFORMATION

Monday, February 25, 2013

Florida Book Fair: It only happens once a year

Here's a message from Tom Congalton of Between the Covers Rare Books in Glouster, New Jersey, one of the rare book dealers you'll meet at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, March 8-10, 2013 at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is the southeast's oldest and largest antiquarian book fair. It features more than 115 dealers in books, maps, photographs, prints, ephemera and autographs. You can find rare books, collectible books and out-of-print books at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  BUY TICKETS ONLINE HERE | GET MORE INFORMATION

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Win FREE Book Fair tickets!

WIN FREE TICKETS! Did you get a Florida Antiquarian Book Fair t-shirt last year? Now is the time to wear it around town. Send us a picture of you wearing your t-shirt and you'll be entered in our drawing for two free tickets to the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

E-MAIL YOUR PICTURE to Include your name and address, and a phone number to contact you. Tell us where you were and what you were doing.

NEED A T-SHIRT? You can order a Florida Antiquarian Book Fair t-shirt online. Send an e-mail to Tell us how many shirts you want, and what sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) you want.

PAY ONLINE: Shirts are $11 ($12 for XXL) plus $3.50 for shipping and handling in the continental United States. For overseas addresses, please include $12 for shipping and handling. (If you are ordering more than two t-shirts, please e-mail us before making your payment so that we can calculate shipping costs). You can pay online at PayPal. Use Here's the link.