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The IOBA Standard is the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association and covers the book world, with a special focus on the online used, out-of-print, and collectible bookselling markets.



Hartfelt Gratitude

Letter to the editor.

“Please contact Jim Hart and express my heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful article he wrote about Dr. Len Lanfranco [‘Thoughts on a Friend’s Passing—Leonard Lanfranco,’ IOBA Standard, May 2002, Volume 3, No. 2]. I met him as an employee of the Columbia SC Post Office and worked closely with him on the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Journal and many mailing projects. He was a ‘king’ among men.”

Andy Koin, Columbia, SC

Happy Hits

Excerpts from recent online book descriptions.

– Dust jacket is made from pieces of dust jacket pasted to color stock—looks good.

– This may be one of a kind. Front endpaper map is upside down.

– DJ is somewhat worn due to “big book” stress.

– Hardbound ex-library naturally in very good condition as it appears to have been checked out only two times.

– The Roman Numerals on the title page state 2047 (MXMXXXVII), however the copyright page states 1937.

And this last one was spotted by Joel Dilley of Outpost Books.

– If your name is Hazel M. Phillips you won’t need to sign the front pastedown again.


The Economy of Prestige

– “This is a book about one of the great untold stories of modern cultural life: the remarkable ascendancy of prizes in literature and the arts.” So begins the dust jacket inside flap blurb for this interesting work by James F. English (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005). The title on the front panel of the dust jacket reads, The Economy of Prestige: Pri ds, and ion of Cultural Value. That’s because there are four medallion decorations which obscure the text. Over all this, there is a round sticker with the full title, revealing such words as “prizes,” “awards,” and “circulation.” I queried the author and publisher as follows. “Good day. I was curious about the dust jacket design for this book. The subtitle on the front panel is partially obscured by some of the design work. Is the round sticker over that a corrective action, or part of the original plan?” They do not win any prizes or awards for favoring me with a response.

The Unusual Suspect

– From the rear inside flap of The Unusual Suspect: My Calling to the New Hardcore Movement of Faith by actor/family man/born-again Christian Stephen Baldwin (NY: Warner Faith, 2006).

“When thinking about the cover for this book . . . early on, I thought the idea of half my face would look suspect and cool . . . Later it occurred to me that with one side of my face on the front and the other on the back it would convey what this book is for me . . . The experience I’m having on the pages between these halves of my face . . . that’s what makes me whole.” [His pauses.]

Book Blogs

Bibliophile Bullpen (A Whiff of Old Books with Your Coffee.)

Posted 3/5/2007

Yes, a bomb went off in Baghdad’s book district – big freaking surprise. Did the war finally get your attention? News Flash – we invaded Iraq FOUR YEARS AGO and it is still a war zone. People and things are getting blow up, killed and destroyed there EVERY DAY. Children, old folks, cab drivers, 95 journalists. What? did you think that bookstores were safe zones? whatever gave you that arrogant idea? War doesn’t care about bookstores, or museums, or architecture, or children who may grow up to doctors. War is loud, messy, destructive and heartless and ultimately unwieldy enterprise. Did you think it could be contained? restrict it to certain ‘zones’? Do you really think putting more bright young green soldiers riding around in humvees would some how placate a city 81 square miles of terrified civilians and screaming insane combatants? War will not be contained. Whomever had the bright idea that WAR was the first, best and controllable answer to a problem should be tied to an IED with small children throwing rocks at their head. I am sorry if I disappoint folks I won’t rend and wail because a bookstore was bombed instead of an emergency room. It was inevitable. Besides I am already running at full pitch because of every bombing, every IED, every kidnapping, every mealy mouth denial that this was a

Blackwell’s Brochure

BAD FREAKING IDEA to begin with. You want to help the booksellers of Baghdad? don’t offer to take up a collection – buy a stamp and tell your fat ass congressman/senator to get us the hell out of a country that we shouldn’t have invaded in the first place.

Ye Olde Booksellers

Things that fall out of books can be as interesting as books themselves, as this 6.5” by 10” four page brochure for Blackwell’s in Oxford, England demonstrates. The only date we find is 1966, when the map was drawn, and the images have been cropped a bit for better resolution.

To find out more about this venerable establishment, opened by Benjamin Henry Blackwell on New Year’s Day in 1879 with an inventory of 700 books, click on the following link. Speaking of book fallouts, browsers in the shop were once treated to a “much publicized row” between Lewis Carroll and George Bernard Shaw.

Blackwell’s Brochure
Blackwell’s Brochure
Blackwell’s Brochure

Made in IOBA

My name is Craig Horle and I am a partner with my wife, Laurie Wolfe, in Classic Books and Ephemera. 

The Quakers and the English Legal System, 1660-1688

Included in my publications are the following: Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania. A Biographical Dictionary: Volume Three: 1757-1775 (chief editor; author of 28 out of the 131 essays, published by the Pa. House of Representatives, 2005, available from Penn State University Press); Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania. A Biographical Dictionary: Volume Two: 1710-1756 (chief editor; author of 48 of the 228 essays, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997); The Records of the Courts of Sussex County, Delaware, 1677-1710, 2 vols. (editor, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992); Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania. A Biographical Dictionary: Volume 1: 1682-1709 (chief editor; author of 89 of the 325 essays and several introductory essays, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991); The Quakers and the English Legal System, 1660-1688 (author, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988); The Papers of William Penn, 1701-1718 (co-editor, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987); and The Papers of William Penn, 1685-1700 (co-editor, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985). Laurie Wolfe was an editor and author on Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania. A Biographical Dictionary: Volume Three: 1757-1775 and on Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania. A Biographical Dictionary: Volume Two: 1710-1756.

House Calls

Most house calls are neutral to pleasant affairs, with some negotiating, some manual labor, and mutual benefits on both sides. Everything is relative, of course, but it can also be said that there are book buying house calls from Hell.

It was a dark and snowy night. The kind you wouldn’t go out into unless you had a chance to oust unsuspecting Redcoats from a distant Revolutionary War fort, or something like that. A hundred and fifty miles of Northway and muddy back roads (round trip), with nothing between the howling wilderness of the lower Adirondack Mountains and your bare skin but a heated Plymouth Grand Voyager and winter clothing. Sunshine patriots would have waited, but the whole region was about to be socked in for weeks, and the prize was some deceased guy’s early science fiction library. Yes, early science fiction, a holier grail than most. I interrogated the caller for ten minutes the night before, looking for all the telltale signs of a wasted trip. She was specific but nebulous, insistent yet not anxious. Something said Don’t Go, Don’t Go, Don’t Go, thrice no less, but I had to. It’s my job. I’m a bookseller.

I’ve been on countless backwoods roads, but this one was especially grim and endless. Perhaps it was the time of year, drear early winter, with fading light and slippery conditions; or perhaps it was because Google Maps and cell phones hadn’t quite been invented yet. When you don’t know where you are going, trips seem to take longer. Just when I began to doubt the county map, houses and farms appeared again, and a crooked mailbox displayed the correct number.

Knock knock. “Hi. We spoke last night. I’m here about the books.”

“You made it. Follow me,” she said, donning a winter coat over the house dress. Lead on to the cold room, I thought, but she goes back outside. To the garage! Location was a topic we covered on the phone. She had said something about them being inside, which was correct, strictly speaking. Strike One. Fifty years of hundred degree temperature swings and book bugs, with a possible topping of raccoon or bat poop.

Strike Two. There above the faithful old workbench in a frigid setting with very little molecular activity, on a short shelf over the window, sat a pathetic row of sawdusted and misshapen Popular Science magazines from the 1940s and ‘50s. My breath hung in the still air like a deflated dollar sign. Virtually worthless, even in perfect condition. Not even real science fiction. Not even hard cover. Thinking back, she referred to colorful dust jackets with futuristic designs on the phone. Technically correct in a way, I guess.

It was true then. I shouldn’t have gone. There was so much to do back at home, and this fruitless and somewhat dangerous trip had been a complete waste of time. How could it have been any worse, short of being murdered by rural miscreants or something?

“Sorry but I’ll have to pass on these. They aren’t exactly what I pictured from your description.”

“Well I’m just going to get rid of them then. None of the other booksellers who came out were interested either.”

Sheeee struck him out!

Library File

The following item appeared in the Youngstown Vindicator on 7/25/2006 and was reprinted in the 9/2006 issue of American Libraries, succinctly titled there as “Library Toe-Sucker Indicted.”

“A grand jury indicted Joseph Colella, 28, for felony gross sexual imposition after he allegedly kissed a woman’s foot and sucked her toe at the Boardman branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio.

“The woman said she was in a study room at the library July 11 when Colella entered and closed the door. She said Colella told her he needed to kiss people’s feet and record their reaction for a sociology project. She refused, but eventually allowed him to because he kept insisting, and she didn’t think he would leave unless she agreed. She went home and later called the library; a staffer told her to call the police.

“Detective Michelle DiMartino told the paper that Colella is also a suspect in a similar event at the library from 2000. If convicted, Colella could be imprisoned for six to 18 months and fined up to $5,000.”


The Standard can always use interesting, well-written articles on subjects of interest to the bookselling trade. Please query first, however, to You will be supplied with submission guidelines, but to summarize, the material should be original, it is subject to editing, you retain copyright, and of course there is no payment other than most everyone’s satisfaction. You do not need to be a member of IOBA, except for the IOBA Bookseller Profiles section, though we would surely like you to join. We are very interested in the book trade outside the U.S. as well.

Currently we are seeking short pieces for the following self-explanatory columns. House Calls; Garage/Estate/Library Sale Tales; Auction Action; Book Show Impressions; Book Store Lore; and Library File.


Entry number one in my online catalog and meant to stay there forever sold this week,

an undated eight page conundrum titled Price List, Cortland Corundum Wheel Company,

grinding machinery and large corundum and emery wheels their specialty.

Comic Books

From the comic section of the Sunday Mirror dated 8/22/1948, the final panel of “Mickey Finn” by Lank Leonard.

Mickey Finn




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