Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It's the Cafe New Year's Encore!

Last January we wrote,

No one can accuse Howell of being heartless. He not only has one, he will sell it to you in a fortnight.

And he did! A buyer at the 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair snapped up Jack the Ripper: A Bloody Alphabet (Illustrations by Kristi Wyatt. Richards, Sean E. Norman, OK: Byzantium Studios Limited, 2014. Limited edition of 95 copies, this is one of 20, signed and numbered 14, and housed in a human-heart-shaped box, and includes a wooden anatomical specimen stand for display). “I have been specializing in miniature books, fine press books, especially those of California presses, and have a mix of Limited Editions Club titles, as well as scholarly books in all fields and most Western Languages. I also carry material on California and the West. My catalog Number 1 was published in May of 2011 and included 113 books issued by the Book Club of California. Since then I have been issuing occasional lists on California History, early printing, and a few miscellanies,” Howell reports on his website.


The model of a modern rare bookseller, Howell does business online and at California book fairs. Among them, you’ll be able to find him at this year’s 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Oakland, February 10-12, 2017 at Booth 914, heart and all.

In addition to showing Rare Book Cafe viewers a number of rare works he planned to offer at the book fair, Howell also discussed the latest developments in the story of AB 1570, California’s ill-considered and controversial rare book regulator’s law. The law, adopted in September 2016, was repealed this past summer.

Last January was Howell’s first appearance at the Cafe since it launched its second series in December 2016. He’s a graduate of California State University, Fullerton (European and Church History), and an Ph.D. aspirant in American Colonial and the Early Republic History at UCLA. Of the latter, he jokes he holds an ABD- “All But Dissertation, the bookseller’s degree!” (which calls to mind another hoary academic wheeze: “How many doctoral candidates does it take to change a lightbulb?” “One, but it will take forever”).

Howell got his start in the book trade with a five-year stint at Barnes & Noble, He moved into rare books as an eight-year cataloguer for Jeff Weber Rare Books before hanging out his shingle online in 2004.


Rare Book Cafe is streamed by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair 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’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; ephemera expert Kara Accettola; 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; 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

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