The Annual IOBA Scholarships

Christine Volk, Chair of the Independent Online Booksellers Association Scholarship Committee, has announced three IOBA scholarship winners: two will be attending the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) in August – Adam Schachter of Langdon Manor Books in Houston, Texas, and Elizabeth Saunders of Tannery Books, in Archdale, North Carolina. The final scholarship was awarded to James South, of Treasure and Relish, Harrogate, North Yorkshire to attend the inaugural Yorkshire Antiquarian Booksellers Seminar (YABS) in England this fall.

“I’m excited to receive the scholarship,” says Adam Schachter, “I’ve spent the last two and half years reaching out to anybody who would help me learn the trade as I tried to determine if I could make a living at it full time. All of my study has been self directed. Now that I am on the cusp of leaving the practice of law, I am very hopeful that CABS will give me that final push to where my joy of the business and knowledge and contacts made at CABS will equal a full time living as a bookseller.”

“After three years in the book business,” says Beth Saunders, who will also be attending the Colorado school, “I was looking for ways to make Tannery Books more successful and professional. Attending CABS this year is perfect timing. We get to learn from experts from all around the country. I’ll be surrounded by ‘book people’ — I can’t wait!”

James South established his online business, Treasure & Relish, in the spring of 2011, “building a business selling the things that have always interested me – art, books and decor.”  “For the last year or so,” James continues, “I have concentrated my efforts into acquiring, presenting and selling books, though working alone, buying stock, making decisions, etc., can be daunting when you’re relatively new to the bookselling world. Being awarded the IOBA scholarship to attend the York Antiquarian Book Seminar in September presents a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from some of the leading book dealers and specialists through their lectures, discussions & demonstrations. I am delighted to have received this generous scholarship, and excited to find out where it will take me next.”

Both CABS and YABS are intensive bookselling programs designed not only to make better educated booksellers, but to grow the next generation of leaders in the field.

Annual IOBA Scholarship Contest

The Independent Online Booksellers Association is offering three scholarships this year.  IOBA awards these scholarships to support the professional development of its member booksellers, without regard to their level of accomplishment or the length of their time in the book trade.  We believe that every well-educated, well-informed, and ethical bookseller is a credit to the trade and to our organization, and we consider these scholarships to be our investment in the future of bookselling.

These scholarships are available to any current IOBA member in good standing, excluding members of the Scholarship Committee and current Officers.

One scholarship is restricted to the 2014 Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, to be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA from August 3-8, 2014 . A second scholarship is restricted to the York Antiquarian Book Seminar,  to be held in York, England from September 15-17, 2014. The third scholarship may be used for either of these, or for any one of these other opportunities:

Rare Book School

California Rare Book School

London Rare Books School

(In order to allow time for the LRBS, RBS and CALRBS admissions process, a scholarship awarded to one of these schools is valid until December 31, 2015.)

Each IOBA Scholarship covers tuition, plus up to $400 (£180 for YABS) for expenses.  Non-North American winners who elect to attend CABS will receive an additional $500 travel stipend.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *
Application Procedure:
Please answer all questions, and provide the requested additional information.

1) What is your business name?

2) How long have you been selling books?

3) How long have you been a member of IOBA?

4) Which program do you want to attend? Please let us know if you only wish to be considered for the open scholarship.

* Please provide correct working URLs to your website and/or to other websites where you are currently selling books. Do you have an open shop, exhibit at book fairs, or sell at other venues? If so, please provide details.

* Write an essay of up to two pages about why you wish to attend and how this might aid your professional development.  Due to the nature of IOBA, relatively few of us have met one another in person, so think of this as your opportunity to introduce yourself to the Committee. Who are you? Why are you a bookseller? Are you involved in volunteer work in the community or the trade? What are your accomplishments? Your shortcomings? Your hopes and dreams? Why should we invest in you?

* A letter of recommendation is required; this can be written by any bookseller, except those who are either IOBA officers or members of the Scholarship Committee.  (The recommending seller need not be an IOBA member.)

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

All entries must be received via email no later than June 1, 2014.  Applications and letters of recommendation should be addressed to: (Please include “IOBA scholarship application” in the subject headers of all emails.)

The winner or winners will be chosen by the IOBA Scholarship Committee, and will be notified by telephone and by email no later than June 15, 2014.

Best of luck to all!

Is it a “Magic Page”?

From the Chalkboard: Back to School Edition:

IOBA received this query from a school librarian in Maine:

“Many teachers call the page in the book that matches the cover image the ‘magic page’.

“Is there a correct term for this?”

Can anyone help? As an example, see Maud and Miska Petersham’s 1947 The Story Book of Ships, where the Viking ship used on the cover appears on what would be page 11 of the unpaginated 28 page picture book.

Martin Frost 2012 Tour: Canada and the US

Talks and workshops on ‘Fore Edge Painting a Book’ by Martin Frost, coincide with two new titles on Fore Edge by Jeff Weber and Jeanne Bennett.

A series of whole day workshops teaching the technique of water-colour painting
onto bookedges, structured to appeal to painters, bookartists and bookworkers of all
levels and anyone with an interest in the unusual. Having completed the course, the
student will be well-primed in the practice of edge-painting and will take home an
example of their own painting, hidden under the gilded-edge of their own book.

Separate illustrated lectures describes the genesis and progress of this little-known
art form, supported by a display of painted books from the artist’s own collection.

Toronto 12, 13 October 2012

Rochester 16, 17 October 2012

New York City 19, 20 October 2012

Can Less Be More?

By Timothy Doyle


Here’s a question to ponder: Can less be more? Four simple words followed by a question mark. On the face of it, the question makes no sense. It’s like asking if day can be night, or if hot can be cold. But then maybe it’s a matter of context and perspective. For someone who works the night shift, maybe night is their day. I can remember 85 degree summer days that certainly felt hot at the time, but after this recent stretch of 100+ degree weather those days would feel cool if not actually cold.

A couple months ago I arrived at my local Goodwill shortly after they had put a large lot of Easton Press and Folio Society books on the shelves. They were in immaculate condition, without the bookplates one so often finds, and no scuffing or chipping to the gilt edges or the gilt lettering and designs on the boards. Knowing that each one was worth at least a crisp $20 bill, I didn’t hesitate to take all of them. I ended up with 75 books at $2.50 each, for a total cost of $187.50.

As an aside, during checkout I heard the dreaded words: “Oh, you should have been here yesterday!” There was another equally large lot that went on the shelves the day before, which were all bought by a single person. Lucky for me he didn’t think to ask if there were more in the back.

So now I had 6 large boxes of new, uncatalogued stock taking up room in my already crowded book garage. I did a quick inventory, and determined that while each book was a solid $20 to $25, there weren’t any higher value items. No signed editions, and nothing from the Easton Press science fiction series. I already had a backlog of higher value uncataloged stock waiting for my attention, so these were going to go on the back burner. Then I started thinking: what if I could find a buyer for the whole lot at a discounted price? There’s something to be said for a quick flip that lets you double or triple your money.

I continued to think about this over the next couple of days, and then while driving I saw a car with one of those magnetic door signs advertising a local interior design company. I recalled hearing from other dealers about selling leather bound books by the foot to interior decorators, so I jotted down the number. I called to pitch the lot of books to the owner of the firm. She was very interested in the idea, but said she had no immediate projects that fit. I followed up the phone call with a letter, which included a business card.

So there it sat for a while. I looked up some more Baltimore area interior design and decoration firms, but didn’t really pursue it. I continued to work through my older backlog, moved everything out of my garage so the plumbers could tear up our sewer line, and prepared for and recovered from Balticon (big local science fiction convention that I sell at every year). I did start a thread on the ABE bookseller board outlining my thoughts on flipping a large lot for a quick profit. Predictably, the responses were across the board. Some thought it a good idea and liked the idea of marketing to interior decorators. Some couldn’t understand why a real bookseller would ever want to sell a $20 book for $10 (there is a small but constant element of “real bookseller” chauvinism on the ABE forum). Then the thread degenerated into a multi-sided argument about the difference between direct marketing and spamming.

Then a few weeks ago, there was an IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) mail list discussion going on, and someone mentioned selling a large lot of Easton Press books to a US East Coast dealer. I got the dealer’s name, and I emailed him with a list of what I had available. Within a couple hours he replied with an offer to buy, at a price roughly 50% of what I figured the resale value to be. Better yet, though located a couple hours south of me in Virginia, he would be in Baltimore a few days later. We arranged to meet, and the transaction concluded without me having to pack and ship the books.

This worked because I was lucky enough to find the books at a really cheap price, and they were a tightly focused lot of books in as new condition – in this case classic literature and history in fine bindings. I found a dealer who specializes in Easton Press and Folio Society, who felt sure enough of his knowledge and marketing skills that he could offer close to 50% of market value. In the long run, he and I will probably profit by about the same amount. Theoretically, this could work for any focused lot: vintage science fiction, aviation history, Americana, etc. A specialist will know their market, and will feel more confident in offering you more for books that they want and that they know they can sell.

With very little work and no listing or commission fees, I cleared an almost $800 profit – roughly four times my initial investment. I also freed up the shelf space that would have been taken up by 75 books. I certainly could have – and eventually would have – listed them individually, and sold them over the course of the next several years. This would undeniably have earned me more money in the long run. But I would have paid commission, and it would have taken time to list, pick, pack and ship each individual order.

By selling this lot in this manner I have cash in hand to buy more and better stock, I have more time to research and list new stock, and I have space for it. I’ve established a relationship with an area bookdealer, which may continue to bear fruit in the future. I also sent a cash bonus to my IOBA colleague who gave me the referral that led directly to the sale – in the interests of good karma and building professional relationships.

This is certainly not suggesting that selling all of one’s stock at 50% estimated value is a good general business model. This was a no lose situation for me: at the worst I had 75 books that I could list and sell for a nice profit over time, and as it happened I was able to sell them for 50% cash in hand with no commission fees and almost no work. For this particular situation and in the context of my business, less was definitely more.

Copyright 2012, Timothy Doyle. All rights reserved.

Scary Reading for the Online Bookseller: Wired on the Ease of Hacking

Matt Honan writes:

“In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

“In many ways, this was all my fault. My accounts were daisy-chained together. Getting into Amazon let my hackers get into my Apple ID account, which helped them get into Gmail, which gave them access to Twitter. Had I used two-factor authentication for my Google account, it’s possible that none of this would have happened, because their ultimate goal was always to take over my Twitter account and wreak havoc. Lulz.

“Had I been regularly backing up the data on my MacBook, I wouldn’t have had to worry about losing more than a year’s worth of photos, covering the entire lifespan of my daughter, or documents and e-mails that I had stored in no other location.

“Those security lapses are my fault, and I deeply, deeply regret them.

“But what happened to me exposes vital security flaws in several customer service systems, most notably Apple’s and Amazon’s. Apple tech support gave the hackers access to my iCloud account. Amazon tech support gave them the ability to see a piece of information — a partial credit card number — that Apple used to release information. In short, the very four digits that Amazon considers unimportant enough to display in the clear on the web are precisely the same ones that Apple considers secure enough to perform identity verification. The disconnect exposes flaws in data management policies endemic to the entire technology industry, and points to a looming nightmare as we enter the era of cloud computing and connected devices.”

The full article continues here:


IOBA 2012 Scholarship Winners

From IOBA President Joachim Koch:

There’s many different reasons for being a member of the IOBA.  One of them is the opportunity to share knowledge and to learn from others.  As one way of fostering a learning environment for our member booksellers, the IOBA has been offering scholarships for some of the best institutions in the trade.

On behalf of the IOBA Scholarship Committee, chaired this year by Vice-President Howard Prouty, I am honored to announce this year’s recipients of an IOBA scholarship:

Gabe Konrad
Bay Leaf Used & Rare Books
9 E. Lake
PO Box 105
Sand Lake, MI 49343
Telephone: 616-636-8500

Gayle Williamson
Champ & Mabel Collectibles
PO Box 741
San Pedro, CA 90733-0741
Telephone: 310-833-8629

Both winners have chosen to use the $1,500 scholarship to attend this year’s Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar.  The only regret that the Committee had was that they could not make an award to each of this year’s field of applicants.

Congratulations to Gayle and Gabe. We wish both of you a great time in Colorado!

Booksellers’ Seminar in Seattle

Booksellers’ Seminar






Digital Tools and Tricks for the Bookselling Trade

Thursday June 28th, 2012: 9:30 am to 4 pm.

Seattle Public Library ** Sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the ABAA

Seminar Speakers (via Skype)

Joel Silver, Associate Director and Curator of Books, The Lilly Library, Indiana University: My Favorite Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books.

Dan Gregory, from Between the Covers: Rare Book Photography for the Busy Book Professional.

Luke Lozier, from Bibliopolis: Don’t Trust the Cloud: Maintaining Control over your Digital Assets: Protecting and maintaining control of your own business assets including book data, images, social media posts, blog posts and ultimately customers.

Joachim Koch, from Books Tell You Why: The Ins/Outs and Importance of Social Media for the Rare Bookseller: Twitter, Blogging, Facebook, et al.

  • Question and answer session for attendees
  • Reception Courtesy of the PNW Chapter to follow.
  • Held at the Seattle Public Library Level 4, Conference Room 2. (also known as the Howard S. Wright Family and Janet W. Ketchum Conference Room).

For directions and parking information:

Please Note: Tickets are complimentary, but pre-registration is required.

To register for the event please contact:

Priscilla Anne Lowry

Lowry-James Rare Prints & Books, ABAA

Langley, Washington (360) 221-0477

The CABS Shadow Knows: A thrilling adventure in 5 episodes

An unknown correspondent (“The CABS Shadow”) shared perceptions of the experience in the best tradition of serials. IOBA is happy to bring this thrilling adventure to you in 5 parts. It will only be “complete” when you have attended.

Episode I: How to Double Your Money

Take a deep breath, flex the trigger finger, and then click “send”.

That’s it.

You have just sent in your application for 2012 CABS, and enabled a great opportunity for you to engage with some of the brightest and best book people on the planet.

Ever fold your own signature?  Collate an amazing book?  Back-up your computer files?  Work with a real live book photographer?  How about having the luxury of asking any book, printing, illustration, business or special collections question that you could ever dream of – and get the straight goods (business is off the record of course!) from an expert in the field?  Or attend a live book auction? Or ….phew!

Your classmates will consist of specialists in all fields, the curious, collectors of all stripes, librarians and even some second time attendees. And you will have a great time earning your 2012 educational tax write-off!

So start saving up your energy and your passion – you’re going to need lots of both for this incredible week.

Now take your cash, fold it in half and put it back into your pocket.

There – you just doubled your money.

 Episode II: Bookselling as a Community

No one does it all, and it takes a very special and dynamic group effort to create a place of learning where the acumen, skills and knowledge of booklovers (collectors), booksellers (business people) and keepers of the flame (librarians) can gather to share it with others.

Why would a successful business person, academic or career professional, share their hard earned secrets with strangers, you ask?

It is because they have acquired an awareness of a simple truth,

“If there is any hope, it is in the future” The Dalai Lama, 1989.

You are the future, so come and find an important piece of yours – at CABS 2012.

 Episode III: The CABS Handbook

A reference book unlike any other.

The record of combined knowledge that has been gathered and distilled through multiple lifetimes of working in the book trades. Updated yearly with modified, improved and proprietary techniques, it unveils the practical and hands-on secrets that will help deepen the commitment to success made in your chosen field.

CABS handbook 2012 however, like many of the best things in life, cannot be bought.

The wisdom and insights held within can only be given.

“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life”   Stone Tablet, n.d.

Topics in this new addition to your reference library will include:

  • Evaluating, Buying, and Pricing Books
  • Refurbishing & Conversation
  • Data Bases
  • Bibliographic Description
  • Book Photography
  • Qualified Appraisals
  • Book Fairs
  • Fakes, Forgeries & Theft
  • Types of Illustration (and ID techniques)
  • Consignment, Selling & House Calls, inc. legal paperwork and templates.

Best of all, the CABS 2012 handbook is included as part of the course materials – and yours to keep – along with the great personal notes, contacts and to-do lists that will be created by you!

Episode IV: The People – The Experience (unplugged & uncut)

Who knew….?

Any CABS alumni will crack a smile at those words, having heard their echo many times as yet another pearl was being strategically placed for seekers to find.

CABS faculty bring forward their “A” game to generate the best single learning experience currently available to the book community.

A quick look at the faculty profiles will give you an idea of the high caliber of experienced professionals you will soon be swapping stories with.

Profiles off the record – why not?

L.B.: This tall drink of educated mountain air sees all through his radical eyes, quick wit and “steady-on” approaches – nary an unclear or ambiguous sentence is allowed passage under his watchful gaze.

D.De S.: Accomplished literary sleuth with many moons of experience as a bookseller and curator, he brings the broad perspective earned through intimacy with both sides of the trade – along with his ready smile – to the table.

D. G.: Expert in many fields, his willingness to share database, photo and technical details, as well as bookselling concepts and general hilarity, will force you to fine tune your hearing-aid.

K.J.: Master Wizard. This ex-CIA guy is not the fellow you want to be knocking on your door (or email) if he hears that the “…no tape recorders or other similar devices, please” edict has been breached. “I do remember those dark knights …”

N.M.: Incunabula specialist with the best catalogs in the room. Honed her skills duking it out with the big boys in some of the most famous auction rooms and galleries in the world. She knows that of which you speak…

D.P.: Straight shooting sheriff that helps ensure higher global standards in the wild west of the online marketplace.

K.L.: Nothing – and I mean nothing – happens without the nod of this omnipotent dynamo!

R.R-M.: Team captain, and always sounding a key note. Has the trade in his veins and shipped out early on his career voyage. A capable bloke, still selling more good books – and with more panache – than Bob’s uncle. Better watch this guy.

S.S.: a.k.a. Super Savvy. Can spell disambiguation backwards, and knows what it means. He can hand press 4to’s and folios, so not to be trifled with. Frequently seen with K.J. when there is a need for added muscle.

T.B.: One of a kind – and very kind. Emphatically states “I do nothing!” but Humphrey Bogart still says it best regarding this scholarly giant: “The whole world is about three drinks behind”. If you have a thirst for knowledge, come have a drink from this CABS fountain!

T.S.K. (The Shadow Knows): There in spirit. With the proper afternoon light, can be seen pantomiming Oscar Wilde’s “Work is the curse of the drinking class.”

Episode V:  Dealing with Institutions

How does your cash flow look this month?     How about this year?

If your sales are approaching a commensurate nosedive mirroring the general malaise of the world economy, why not try something different – like selling to the great institutions, libraries and museums of the world?

Institutions will have a presence at CABS 2012, and the faculty can help you understand how to approach their venerated acquisitions departments, how to research institutional collections prior to contacting with quotes and also how mutual benefits can be extracted not only from your acquired knowledge, but their budget requirements as well.

Some of the topics covered are:

-Including libraries as part of a sales strategy

-Annual budgets

-Organization of acquisitions departments

-25 Institutions with large budgets

-Local libraries and historical societies

-Creating bibliographic lists

-Meeting with librarians

Besides all that – what bookseller doesn’t want to know what the Library of Congress is looking to buy this year?

For more information, visit the website of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar





CABS Scholarships Available

Courtesy of Cynthia Gibson for CABS:

Here is a list of scholarships still available for the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, sorted by application date (soonest first). As you can see, they are many, and quite generous. For full details, please visit  Please help us make sure that they all go to good use by applying to as many you are eligible for — and come join us in the shadow of Pike’s Peak in August!

Chrislands: Apply by May 31st

ABAA: Apply by June 1st

IOBA: Apply by June 1st

ABE: Apply by June 4th

Barnes & Noble: Apply by June 13th

Bibliopolis: Apply by June 15th

CABS: Apply by June 15th

Foreseeing Solutions: Apply by June 15th

Alibris: Apply by July 1st

Biblio: Apply by July 1st

RMABA: Apply by July 1st