AbeBooks' Reading Copy » AbeBooks http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:17:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 1951 manual to the first computer game sells for $4,200 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/08/20/1951-manual-to-the-first-computer-game-sells-for-4200/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/08/20/1951-manual-to-the-first-computer-game-sells-for-4200/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:44:31 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21433

The Ferranti Nimrod Computer Manual from 1951 (pic supplied by Any Amount of Books)

A copy of the manual for the first computer game has been sold for £2,500 (around $4,200) by Any Amount of Books in London via AbeBooks. The Ferranti Nimrod Digital Computer Manual is a key piece of technology and gaming history. The game in question is a long way from Minecraft and Angry Birds – it’s a match-stick game called Nim that was played in the French movie L’Année Derniere a Marienbad and is said to have originated in China. Here’s a link to a game.

The computer was built to play the game alone. The manual was used at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and the cover offers a little early branding with the words ‘Faster than Thought’.

To quote the manual:

 The game is for two players, being played nowadays with matches. At the beginning of the game one of the players arranges the matches in any number of heaps in any way he chooses. The players then move alternatively taking any number of matches from any one heap but at least one match must always be taken. In the normal simple game the player who succeeds in taking the last few matches wins but in the reverse simple game the player who takes the last match or matches loses.

At the exhibition the public could play against the machine. The famous Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing beat it. At the conclusion of each game, the machine flashed up the message ‘Computer Wins’ or ‘Computer Loses.’ It’s interesting to hear that the manual referred to ‘memory’ as ‘storage’.

Any Amount of Books posted about the manual at its excellent Jot 101 blog – I love the picture of the two dancers from the Windmill Girls playing against the computer.

L’Année dernière à Marienbad is a cult 1961 film known for its hard-to-understand narrative. Two men play the match game as the movie explores the relationship between them and a woman through flashbacks. Ferranti was an electrical engineering firm that began in the Victorian era but went bankrupt in 1993. The best bibliography of computer literature is The Origins of Cyberspace by Diana Hook and Jeremy Norman but it’s not cheap.

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/08/20/1951-manual-to-the-first-computer-game-sells-for-4200/feed/ 0
Paws for thought: bronze Scottie dog bookends sell for $6,000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/08/07/paws-for-thought-bronze-scottie-dog-bookends-sell-for-6000/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/08/07/paws-for-thought-bronze-scottie-dog-bookends-sell-for-6000/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 16:47:39 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21392 A pair of bronze Scottie dog bookends sculpted by famed animal artist Marguerite Kirmse (1885-1954) have sold for $6,000 on AbeBooks. They are the most expensive bookends to ever sell on AbeBooks and were the 10th most expensive item to sell on the marketplace in July. The Scottie pictured to the right is signed by Kirmse.

The English-born artist contributed drawings and etchings to many magazines and books, including Eric Knight’s classic children’s story, Lassie Come Home. Her prints and illustrated books are very collectible.

Kirmse lived in Connecticut where she raised Scottish Terriers with her husband George W. Cole. They also bred Airedales, Irish Terriers and other breeds. Kirmse was often drawn to hunting dogs and this is reflected in her art. Dogs in the Field, a limited edition book produced by Kirmse in 1935, offered many studies of hunting dogs in action and is treasured by collectors of canine art. Only 685 numbered copies were printed.

Although etchings were her forte, she began to sculpt dogs in bronze in the 1920s. Lassie Come Home was published as a book in 1940 with the movie version following three years later. Kirmse’s artwork adorns the memorable front cover.

A 1940 first edition of Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight featuring artwork by Marguerite Kirmse

FoxhoundA 1931 print of a foxhound etching produced by Marguerite Kirmse

The FoxA 1931 print of a fox etching produced by Marguerite Kirmse

Tyke the Little Mutt by Dorothy L’Hommedieu and illustrated by Marguerite Kirmse

A 1926 first edition of My Friend, The Dog by Albert Payson Terhune illustrated by Marguerite Kirmse

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/08/07/paws-for-thought-bronze-scottie-dog-bookends-sell-for-6000/feed/ 0
Bill Gates reveals his favorite business book & AbeBooks sells every copy of forgotten title from 1969 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/07/13/bill-gates-reveals-his-favorite-business-book-abebooks-sells-every-copy-of-forgotten-title-from-1969/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/07/13/bill-gates-reveals-his-favorite-business-book-abebooks-sells-every-copy-of-forgotten-title-from-1969/#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 16:44:34 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21295

**UPDATE – The new edition of Business Adventures by John Brooks is now available.**

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal printed an interesting article written by Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates about this favorite business book – Business Adventures by John Brooks. It is a long forgotten out-of-print book published in 1969 containing 12 essays about business that had originally appeared in The New Yorker magazine.

Thanks to this article, Business Adventures by John Brooks was the top search term on AbeBooks.com on Friday and Saturday. This morning (Sunday), there are no copies left on the site.

Brooks – the Michael Lewis of his day – was a long-time contributor to The New Yorker. The essays include Ford Motor Company’s epic failure with the Edsel, the rise of Xerox, and scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur.

Gates discovered Business Adventures after fellow tycoon Warren Buffett lent him a copy in 1991 (I hope Gates returned it!). In the WSJ article, Gates writes:

Unlike a lot of today’s business writers, Brooks didn’t boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success. (How many times have you read that some company is taking off because they give their employees free lunch?) You won’t find any listicles in his work. Brooks wrote long articles that frame an issue, explore it in depth, introduce a few compelling characters and show how things went for them.

Brooks died in 1993. His obituary in the New York Times reveals a little about the breadth of his writing:

Mr. Brooks was known for his ability to give Wall Street trends, history and personalities a narrative flavor far beyond standard financial reportage. He wrote three novels, all published by Harper: The Big Wheel (1949) about a news magazine resembling Time; A Pride of Lions (1954), and The Man Who Broke Things (1958). He was also the author of 10 non fiction books on business and finance, including Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street, 1920-1938 (Harper, 1969); The Go-Go Years (Weybright, 1973), a history of the speculative 1960′s on Wall Street, and The Takeover Game (Dutton, 1987), about the epidemic of mergers in the 1980′s. A collection of his work, Business Adventures (Weybright, 1969), included his most famous New Yorker article, ‘The Fate of the Edsel.’

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/07/13/bill-gates-reveals-his-favorite-business-book-abebooks-sells-every-copy-of-forgotten-title-from-1969/feed/ 0
Signed copy of Robert Galbraith’s Silkworm sells for $1,720 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/06/20/signed-copy-of-robert-galbraiths-silkworm-sells-for-1720/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/06/20/signed-copy-of-robert-galbraiths-silkworm-sells-for-1720/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 13:42:39 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21245 One day, that’s all it took for The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith to become a collectible book. Yesterday, the day of the novel’s release, a signed copy of The Silkworm written by JK Rowling under the Galbraith pen name sold for $1,720 on AbeBooks.

The book was sold shortly after being listed for sale on the marketplace. It had been signed on the title page by ‘Robert Galbraith’ with a JK Rowling hologram attached to the opposite page. It appears a small number of signed copies were distributed to certain bookstores in the UK.

The Silkworm is Rowling’s second novel writing as Galbraith. The book is a crime mystery starring Cormoran Strike – a one-legged ex-military policeman. The sale confirms that the Rowling magic has not dimmed and that book collectors are still interested in anything that carries her signature. There are currently five signed copies for sale on AbeBooks ranging from $1,600 to $2,100 in price.

Yesterday, AbeBooks also sold a first edition of The Cuckoo’s Calling – the first Robert Galbraith novel – for $1,206. The book was not signed. It appears only a small number of first editions of The Cuckoo’s Calling were printed, perhaps 1,500.

The most expensive Rowling book to ever sell on AbeBooks was a rare first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which sold for $37,000 in 2005.

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/06/20/signed-copy-of-robert-galbraiths-silkworm-sells-for-1720/feed/ 0
Copy of first Playboy Magazine sells for $2,000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/05/16/copy-of-first-playboy-magazine-sells-for-2000/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/05/16/copy-of-first-playboy-magazine-sells-for-2000/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 18:05:09 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21156 A copy of the first ever Playboy Magazine, published in December 1953, has sold for $2,000 on AbeBooks.com. Aside from being a landmark moment in popular culture, the magazine famously features Marilyn Monroe on the cover (clothed) and on the centerfold (naked) against a red velvet background.

This issue is undated and cost 50 cents at the time. Apparently 53,991 copies were printed. The magazine had been produced by Hugh Hefner from his kitchen.

This is the only time that I have heard of a copy of the first Playboy for sale on AbeBooks since I joined in 2005, and it’s by far the most expensive copy of the magazine to sell through this marketplace. I think $2,000 might be a bargain.

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/05/16/copy-of-first-playboy-magazine-sells-for-2000/feed/ 0
Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar 2014 contest http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/04/22/colorado-antiquarian-book-seminar-2014-contest/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/04/22/colorado-antiquarian-book-seminar-2014-contest/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:02:08 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21077 Are you thinking of becoming a rare bookseller? Or have you just started to sell collectible books? The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar is a week-long educational event held in Colorado Springs in August, 2014 for booksellers, librarians and collectors that offers expert discussion about rare books.

This is your opportunity to enter for a chance to win admission to attend the event, including instructional materials, breakfasts and lunches, and accommodations. There will be two lucky winners. Each prize package is worth U.S. $1,610.00. Transportation to and from the event is not included.

More details about the contest.

Contest rules.

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/04/22/colorado-antiquarian-book-seminar-2014-contest/feed/ 0
Letter signed by Joseph Stalin sells for $4,500 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/29/letter-signed-by-joseph-stalin-sells-for-4500/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/29/letter-signed-by-joseph-stalin-sells-for-4500/#comments Sat, 29 Mar 2014 11:56:02 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20944 A letter signed Russian dictator Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) has sold for $4,500 on AbeBooks.

The “confidential” two-page typed letter dates from World War II, and is dated April 1943. It commands the creation of a ‘Major General’ position within the tank section of the Soviet military. Stalin has signed in red, “I, Stalin”

 “National Commissar of Defense, Union Socialist Soviet Republics, April, 1943,

To: Commanders of Fronts and Military Districts

To: Commanders of Tank & Military Camps

To: Superiors of Armor Tank Centers,

“Issue a position of Vice-Commander of Department into Staff # 010/418 of Administration of Tank and Mechanical Department. The Military Title is – Major General (VUS) – 1. Salary is 2200 rubles. March of Soviet Union, I. Stalin.”

In the early months of 1943, the Soviet war machine was attempting to replenish its top ranks after suffering heavy casualties in the Siege of Leningrad. Stalin seized power in the mid-1920s and died from a stroke in 1953. More than eight million Soviets soldiers and around 15 million civilians are believed to have died in World War II under his rule.

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/29/letter-signed-by-joseph-stalin-sells-for-4500/feed/ 0
21 Booksellers Who Blog http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/18/18-booksellers-who-blog/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/18/18-booksellers-who-blog/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:00:25 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20847 BookstoreMany AbeBooks booksellers are also dedicated bloggers. Each seller’s blog is one of a kind, created with a deep love of books – from sharing images of vintage cover art, to cataloging recent acquisitions and sales, to publishing in-depth educational articles, to recounting highly entertaining stories of personal experiences, both in the trade and about the book life in general.

Check them out – we think you’ll be impressed. We certainly are.

If you’re an AbeBooks bookseller who blogs, let us know – we’d love to add you to the list. Send the URL for your blog to media@abebooks.com.

Any Amount of Books – London, UK

Any Amount of Books’ blog, Jot101, wants to be a place known for its “dogged curiosity and thirst for knowledge – however abstruse”. It’s a blog where anyone can submit a ‘jot’ – notes and comments on readings, obscure data discovered through a variety of sources. Their old blog, Bookride, is still available and also contains many fascinating stories about rare books and their values.

Bauman Rare Books – New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas

Bauman Rare Books blog features the stories behind great works in literature. The blog also includes Rare Books 101, an online mini-course covering all the fundamentals of collecting rare books. Rebecca Romney, manager of Bauman’s Las Vegas location, also maintains her own blog, called Aldine by Rebecca Romney.

SimonBeattieSimon Beattie – Chesham, UK

Simon Beattie’s blog is about ‘The Books You Never Knew You Wanted’ – featuring rare books, manuscripts, music, and ephemera with a European cross-cultural focus.

The Book Faerie – Las Cruces, New Mexico

The Book Faerie uses her blog, Journey of a Bookseller, to “write reviews from a reader’s point-of-view and spread the magic of reading”.

Books Tell You Why – Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

One of our long-time favorite blogs, Books Tell You Why is an invaluable resource for collectors, booksellers, journalists, and anyone interested in the world of books. Covering an eclectic mix of topics, recent posts range from ’10 Surprising Facts about Albert Einstein’ to ‘How to Identify First Editions from Doubleday’.

Bromer Booksellers, Inc. – Boston, Massachusetts

Bromer Booksellers’ blog, called Books @ Bromer, features rare and beautiful books in their inventory, as well as news and events from the bookselling world.

Cabin Fever Books Ltd. – Calgary, Alberta

Cabin Fever Books’ blog focuses on books in their inventory, book events, and collecting.

Callum James Books – Portsmouth, UK

Callum James Books’ blog, Front Free End Paper, is an “eclectic mix of book collecting and dealing” covering a wide range of subjects, combined with “a personal journal of life and memoir”.

Hang Fire Books – Brooklyn, New YorkHangFireBooks

The Hang Fire Books’ blog – a personal favorite – is one of the best repositories of vintage pulp fiction cover art I’ve ever come across.

Peter Harrington – London, UK

Peter Harrington’s Rare Books Blog is another perennial favorite, presenting well-researched, interesting articles on treasures in their inventory and the stories behind them.

Hoonaloon Books – Derbyshire, UK

The Hoonaloon Books blog is an online newsletter highlighting interesting books in stock and new acquisitions.

Indy Library Store – Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indy Library Store’s blog, called Bookselling for Libraries, is an educational blog intended to help librarians and Friends of Library groups with the business of online bookselling.

Logos Books & Records – Santa Cruz, California

Logos sells books on AbeBooks and books and records in their store. Their blog features both.

Old Scrolls Book Shop – Stanley, New York

Old Scrolls Blog covers collectible books and authors of interest but especially fascinating are the stories and photographs of visits to other bookstores around the US.

Pistil Books Online – Seattle, Washington

Pistil Blog features interesting books, news, items ‘found in books’, etc.

Powell’s Books – Portland, Oregon

Powell’s Books’ blog includes everything from author interviews, book reviews, buyer Q&A, book lists, and more.

Rainy Day Books – The Basin, Victoria, Australia

Rainy Day Books’ blog features some of their recent window displays and book events.

Reed Books/The Museum of Fond Memories – Birmingham, Alabama

Jim Reed is as much a writer as he is a bookseller, and his blog, redclaydiary.com, is a rabbit-hole of entertaining stories and ramblings on a wide variety of topics, from musings on an unfamiliar customer to memories of childhood roller skates to the beauty of the book.

Sekkes Consultants – North Dighton, Massachusetts

Sekkes Consultants’ blog, called Rare Books Digest, is an educational and informational site about rare, old, and antiquarian books.

Sleepygirl’s Used Books – Joplin, Missouri

Sleepygirl’s Used Books’s blog, called Bound4Escape, features book reviews and book related news, images, and quotes.

BookPatrolWessel & Lieberman Booksellers – Seattle, Washington

Wessel & Lieberman’s blog, called Book Patrol: A Haven for Book Culture, is “a blog to celebrate the book in all its forms … spanning the internet to bring you book news, images and related content from all corners of the globe.”

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/18/18-booksellers-who-blog/feed/ 0
A fishy rare book tale from the pope’s doctor http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/08/a-fishy-rare-book-tale-from-the-popes-doctor/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/08/a-fishy-rare-book-tale-from-the-popes-doctor/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 23:37:01 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20820

Who needs to sail when you have Rome’s fish markets?

Last month’s most expensive sales on AbeBooks.com span five centuries of natural history, physics and philosophy, and fiction from John Steinbeck. There is also 20th century art and the ultimate book for North American tree-spotters.

The oldest book to sell last month, published in 1554, was also our most expensive – Aquatilium animalium historiae, a study of Mediterranean fish, from a Vatican doctor called Ippolito Salviani, who showed that research can come in many forms. Rather than going to sea to find samples, the man who kept popes healthy trawled the fish markets of Rome.

See the list

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/08/a-fishy-rare-book-tale-from-the-popes-doctor/feed/ 0
Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible in Victoria, B.C. http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/14/heritage-edition-of-the-saint-johns-bible-in-victoria-b-c/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/14/heritage-edition-of-the-saint-johns-bible-in-victoria-b-c/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 17:54:33 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20667 Saint-Johns-Bible-Historical-Books

Anyone in the Victoria area on February 26th will enjoy a rare opportunity to view two volumes of the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible at the University of Victoria.

In 1998, the Benedictine Monks of Saint John’s Abbey in Minnesota commissioned the first handwritten illuminated Bible since the advent of the printing press. Created by a team of scribes and artists under the artistic direction of British calligrapher Donald Jackson, the seven-volume Bible took 15 years to complete.

The Heritage Edition is a full-size reproduction of the original – and ‘full-size’ means two feet tall by three feet wide when open. Limited to 299 signed and numbered sets, many of the illuminations were touched up by hand and burnished in gold leaf. The set is also available in a less expensive folio-sized trade edition, about the size of coffee table books.

A Heritage Edition is being donated to the University of Victoria’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society by the friends of Bishop de Roo as the inaugural text in the Found in Translation Collection. Bringing the Bible to Victoria is Jim Triggs, Executive Director of the Heritage Program at Saint John’s University. Triggs, who has worked closely with institutions that have acquired the Bible, including Yale University and the Vatican, will give a talk on the Bible and display two of the seven Heritage Edition volumes.

The event is free and open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, February 26, at 7:00 pm, in Room B180 of UVic’s University Centre.

Saint-Johns-Bible-Gospels-and-Acts

Saint-Johns-Bible-Pentateuch

Saint-Johns-Bible-Psalms

Saint-Johns-Bible-Prophets

Saint-Johns-Bible-Wisdom-Books

Saint-Johns-Bible-Letters-and-Revelation

]]>
http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/02/14/heritage-edition-of-the-saint-johns-bible-in-victoria-b-c/feed/ 0