BTHC Brochure and Booking Form 2014

bthcBookshops have been at the centre of the trade’s activity from the beginning. This year’s conference will explore some aspects of the arrangement of bookshops and the way in which they framed social and commercial interaction of many kinds. Leading scholars in the field will present original papers, drawing evidence from different countries and different historical periods.

The Book Trade History Conference will take place on Sunday 16th & Monday 17th of November 2014 at Stationers' Hall.

Download the BTHC Brochure and booking form here

Books Thefts: Pontremoli


Hundreds of books – incunables and early printings – and historical sketches have been announced missing from the Biblioteca del Seminario vescovile di Pontremoli and the Archivio storico della cattedrale di Massa. The attached list contains pictures of the library stamps and ex-libris as well as book descriptions.

If you come across of one or more of the items listed in the pdf file below, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (President of ALAI) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Download the Pontremoli List of stolen books here

De Caro and the Girolamini Thefts - ILAB Protest Note

Official Note of Protest of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellersilablogo14

Since spring of 2012 the issue of the massive thefts in the Girolamini Library and other Italian libraries had kept busy both the Italian Justice as well as the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). ILAB understands fully that this is a complicated issue as the main suspected person, Marino Massimo de Caro, has carefully – and partly successfully - tried to cover up the traces of plundering he had left in the National Heritages. ILAB has, however, offered from April in 2012 onwards its help and cooperation to clear up this mess in many ways, an offer, which unfortunately had never been accepted and had not even been answered by Italian authorities. 

The latest developments in this case – the arrest of the Danish dealer Christian Westergaard and the confiscation of eleven books out of his stock – gives ILAB no other choice as to announce an official note of protest against the department of investigation. This note of protest will be sent to officials in both the Ministry of Culture of Italy and the Ministry of Justice of Italy, and it will be spread out to librarians, journalists, and the public worldwide.

A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps

A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps

The October 2014 seminar in the book-collecting series organised jointly by the Institute of English Studies (London University) and the ABA Educational Trust will be given by Tim Bryars and Tom Harper.

Tim Bryars is a well-known mapseller, with premises in London’s Cecil Court, while  Tom Harper is a curator at the legendary Map Library at the British Library.  Their book, A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps, is scheduled to be published in September 2014.  The twentieth century was a golden age of map-making, and maps permeated almost every aspect of daily life.  It was a century overshadowed by war which was also marked by tremendous social and technological change ...

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Medieval peace treaty to modern, international rallying cry


On the eve of Independence Day in the United States, we are excited to announce that original copies of two of the most famous documents in the world, the Declaration of Independence and the US Bill of Rights, will be on display at the British Library next year. They will be major highlights of our exhibition to celebrate the 800th anniversary of that other extremely famous document, Magna Carta. Our exhibition – Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy – will provide the first opportunity to see these American documents on display in the UK. The exhibition, which will include our two original copies of the 1215 Magna Carta, will tell the story of its medieval roots and track its evolution from medieval peace treaty to modern, international rallying cry against the arbitrary use of authority. Open from 13 March to 1 September 2015, the exhibition is sponsored by Linklaters, the global law firm.

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Original copies of US Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights


“We hold these truths to be self-evident” – original copies of US Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights to be displayed in UK for first time at British Library’s Magna Carta exhibition next year

Two of the most celebrated documents in American History - the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence - will be on display in the UK for the first time next year on loan from the US National Archives and New York Public Library. They will be displayed at the British Library as part of a landmark exhibition: Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, which runs from 13 March - 1 September 2015 and is sponsored by Linklaters, the global law firm.

The Declaration of Independence is loaned by New York Public Library, and is the text which Thomas Jefferson copied in his own hand in 1776, incorporating the changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to a draft version. Jefferson’s document also indicates the passages subsequently excised in Congress, notably his lengthy condemnation of slavery. The Declaration established the separation of America from Great Britain, and paved the way for the drafting of the American Constitution as we know it.

British Library Website

Grief, grit and humour at the British Library

women of britain say go

Grief, grit and humour – Enduring War opens at the British Library to mark the centenary of the First World War, running from 19 June to 12 October 2014

Key items in the exhibition include a letter from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to his mother describing his worries about his son serving at the Front, written in the light of his belief in Spiritualism. Also included in the exhibition on rare display is a letter from Isaac Rosenberg and the manuscripts of well-known war poets, such as Rupert Brooke.


Gutenberg Bible Theft

gutenbergbibleRussia has sentenced three of its Federal agents after they attempted to sell off a Gutenberg Bible. Colonel Sergei Vedishchev had offered it to a collector for under $1.15m (£700,000; 1.07m euros), a fraction of its estimated value.

Court spokeswoman Irina Zhirnova said the book was "priceless" and that experts expected it to fetch at least $20.4m. "These people were not art specialists," she explained. 

An interview with ILAB President Norbert Donhofer

President Nobert“My highest priority is to build up confidence in the professional antiquarian book trade” - ILAB President Norbert Donhofer

In mid-April 2014 the Austrian antiquarian bookseller Norbert Donhofer was elected ILAB President. In this interview he talks about recent challenges of the international antiquarian book trade and his plans for the upcoming two years of his presidency. 


By Bettina Führer

The British Library's Online Treasures

As the British Library posts its greatest literary treasures online, new research reveals that young people could be struggling to engage with the classics. 

The British Library has posted over 1000 of its greatest literary treasures online in a new website, Discovering Literature – including the manuscripts of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Austen, Dickens and Wilde, the largest collection of childhood writings of the Brontë sisters, and other unique artefacts which shed new light on their life and works.

“The launch of Discovering Literature enables lovers of literature to come face-to-face with some of our most treasured collections online anywhere in the world."

Visit Discovering Literature

Norbert Donhofer's speech to the ILAB Congress

Norbert DonhoferDear Anne, dear Presidents, Presidents of Honour, Treasurer of Honour, Members of Honour, colleagues and friends, 

The 41st ILAB Congress, which is this time an accompanying programme for the 100th anniversary of the SLAM, is coming to an end, and on behalf of ILAB, its member nations and all its affiliates, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you, dear Anne, in your capacity as representative of the many people who have assisted in bringing to life this towering event. As in 1988, and that was one of the earliest congresses I personally attended, not only is it difficult to single out any particular one of the magnificent libraries we had the privilege of visiting in the last few days or the riches within them, it would be utterly unfair ...

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Norbert Donhofer - New ILAB President

Norbert DonhoferDear colleagues,

At the General Meeting during the 41st ILAB Congress in Paris the Presidents of ILAB's twenty-twomember associations elected a new Committee, and I had the honour of being elected new ILAB President. The members of the ILAB Committee - now consisting of Gonzalo Fernandéz Pontes (Vice-President), Ulrich Hobbeling (General Secretary), Bob Fleck (Treasurer), Sally Burdon, Stuart Bennett, Umberto Pregliasco and Michel Bouvier - are looking forward to serving the League and its affiliates.

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Associate Membership

ABA BadgeThe ABA has introduced a new type of membership to be known as Associate Membership. At £120 a year – or £10 a month – it represents an ideal opportunity for booksellers at all levels to join the ABA at modest cost. 

There are three main categories of eligibility. The first is for newer booksellers who have been buying and selling books for at least two years, but are not yet qualified for full membership under our five-year rule. Booksellers in this group will be offered help from the ABA in developing their skills through mentoring schemes and will be eligible for ABA grants and bursararies to attend the London Rare Books School and other courses. They will also have full access to the large ABA reference library.

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Next Fair

Chelsea FairThe 24th Chelsea Book Fair will be held at the Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London on 7-8 November 2014.

The Chelsea fair has become a strong fixture in the November calendar for book collectors and dealers. Warmer than Boston, more intimate than York, less formal than Paris – Chelsea has it all.

For more information visit: www.chelseabookfair.com

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Fairs and Events

A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.

John Milton, Areopagitica (1644)