AbeBooks' Reading Copy » design http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:56:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 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.







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Art Deco ephemera collection on display at Book Club of California http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/24/art-deco-ephemera-collection-on-display-at-book-club-of-california/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/24/art-deco-ephemera-collection-on-display-at-book-club-of-california/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 16:46:44 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20420

The Book Club of California is hosting a fascinating exhibition for fans of Art Deco, which opens on January 27 and runs until April 28. ‘Design for Modernity:  Art Deco Ephemera from the Collection of Bruce Shyer’ displays art deco motifs printed on programs, menus, travel brochures, matchbox and luggage labels, catalogs, playing cards, business cards, signs, sheet music, letterheads, blotters and much more.

Bruce Shyer, a retired attorney, currently serves as vice-president of the Ephemera Society of America. He is also a collector of books and ephemera about bookselling.

His collection is an insight into the stylish design era of the 1920s and 1930s. You will see chevrons, sunbursts, zigzags, lightning bolts, ray bands, and silhouettes galore if you go along to the Club, which is located on Sutter Street in San Francisco.

The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and it’s free. It opens with an event on January 27 between 5pm and 7pm where Mr Shyer will introduce his collection.

The Book Club of California celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. It’s a true haven for bibliophiles.

More details on the Art Dec exhibition.

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Literary pumpkins carved by AbeBooks http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/10/31/literary-pumpkins-carved-by-abebooks/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/10/31/literary-pumpkins-carved-by-abebooks/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:11:51 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20069 The AbeBooks’ marketing has celebrated Halloween with a pumpkin carving session where carvers had to create literary pumpkins. The one lesson that we learned is that artistic pumpkin carving is actually very challenging. We have a new appreciation for the people who create detailed masterpieces out of a common, rather bland-tasting, squash.

Behold, literary pumpkins from Sherlock Holmes to a Penguin and a Penguin bookshelf to Pynchon to V for Vendetta to Oliver Twist to The Raven.

And the odd thing was that no-one did Harry Potter.

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Andy Warhol’s Index: The 1967 Pop-up Book for Hipsters http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/14/andy-warhols-index-the-1967-pop-up-book-for-hipsters/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/14/andy-warhols-index-the-1967-pop-up-book-for-hipsters/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 16:42:31 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19491 andy-warhol-index

American pop artist Andy Warhol‘s glory days were the 1960s. Warhol was firmly ensconced in the New York art scene and had a decade of exhibitions and acclaim under his belt. Art-wise, he had already worked his way from shoe advertisements and silkscreened record album covers up to what he became best-known for: the iconic, colorful exaggeration of Americana. From Campbell’s soup cans to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe to mushroom clouds, Warhol blew up everything on Americans minds, in technicolor. But he didn’t draw the creative line at painting – Warhol experimented with sound, film and more, including the written word.

There are several Warhol books available on AbeBooks, some very rare: A Gold Book, Wild Raspberries, and Holy Cats (a collaboration between Warhol and his mother, Julia Warhola).

Perhaps the most interesting Warhol book I keep running across on the site is much more than a book – it’s a novelty item and activity center, a pop-up book meets scrapbook meets photography exhibit. It’s hard to define, is what it is. Andy Warhol’s Index was published in 1967 by Random House. In it, one can find photographs, quotations, bits of art here and there, and myriad things to interact with (think “Pat the Bunny” for adults). It contained pop-ups, fold outs, a 45 rpm record, a balloon, a geographic shape attached to a string and more. They were printed in a limited run of and each copy is numbered. At only 74 pages, the slim volume is hardly your typical enormous coffee table book, but it boasts unbeatable value as a piece of 1960s New York pop memorabilia.

Collectors would be delighted with it for the photographs alone, but there’s much more in store. There are a surprising number of copies available on AbeBooks, at varying price points depending upon condition (apparently, it is almost universal that the accordion no longer squeaks – as well that the balloon has deteriorated over 46 years and stuck two of the book’s pages together; a copy with an intact balloon is exceedingly rare).

Andy Warhol’s Index is a fascinating little piece of art history. Other contributors to the book include American photographer Stephen Shore, Nico (yes, that Nico) and many more.

From Vince Aletti’s Book of 101 Books, The: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century: “One of the earliest and most thoroughly documented [books] of the Factory’s crews is memorialized in [this book], the artist’s first publication to use photography and text after an earlier series of privately printed illustrated books. A disjointed and playful pastiche, Index (Book) has the impromptu feel of a project thrown together as a lark. Most of its pages are filed with high-contrast, snapshot-style black-and-white photographs taken by . Billy Name.As if to puncture this glam bubble, Index (Book) is also filled with an ingratiating array of gimmicks. Among them: a pop-up illustration of a castle under attack (with photos of Warhol & Co. collaged into its windows), a red pleated accordion tucked into a gatefold, another gatefold with Andy’s nose in profile sliced into a series of colored flaps, a balloon, a Velvets record, a Chelsea Girls ad on a spring, and a Hunt’s tomato past can that pops up between two head shots of International Velvet.”




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AbeBooks 10 most expensive sales – June 2013 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/07/09/abebooks-10-most-expensive-sales-june-2013/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/07/09/abebooks-10-most-expensive-sales-june-2013/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:43:47 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19380 Granite-and-Cyprus-by-Robinson-JeffersEvery month AbeBooks lists the ten most expensive books that have been purchased on the site, it’s a very interesting list that keeps a finger on the pulse of what collectors are adding to their libraries around the world.  I look forward to putting the list together each month because, not only does it give me a great excuse to learn more about the scholars of the 15th and 17th centuries, or forgotten Renaissance artists, that are featured in these fantastic books but it lets me live vicariously through the collectors who now get to place these fantastic books in their libraries.

Usually I covet the books because of their significance, but sometimes I simply think the book is wonderful because of the beauty and design of the book itself.  Last month we sold one such book.  Granite and Cypress by Robinson Jeffers is a beautifully designed book which was limited to just 100 numbered copies and printed on handmade Hayle paper and bound by the Schuberth Bookbindery.  It was issued in a slipcase made of Monterey Cypress and with a window of granite from Jeffers’ own stoneyard.  It sold last month for $9,500.

See the rest of the most expensive books sold in June 2013

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The Color Coding of Vintage Penguins http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/04/24/the-color-coding-of-vintage-penguins/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/04/24/the-color-coding-of-vintage-penguins/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:28:52 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19079

Our latest video is brought to you by the letter P: Penguin, Puffin, Ptarmigan, Peacock and Pelican – apparently not even all of the “P-birds” in the Penguin pantheon. It also sheds some light on the different colored covers on the vintage Penguin paperbacks you no doubt come across in bookstores. Orange, cerise, dark blue, green, red, purple – even yellow and grey, though they’re scarce – all had meaning behind the color choices. And light blue means the Pelican imprint – but what does THAT mean? Watch and find out.

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20th Century Hand-Illuminated Book http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/03/13/20th-century-hand-illuminated-book/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/03/13/20th-century-hand-illuminated-book/#comments Wed, 13 Mar 2013 15:49:51 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=18586

Today’s gorgeous and unusual find is this hand-illuminated book. Not much appears to be known about it, but it’s just stunning (An illuminated manuscript is any manuscript whose text is accompanied by decoration. It originally referred only to silver or gilt adornments, but came to be acceptable terminology for any manuscript with drawings, paintings or decorations such as ornate initials, borders, floral accoutrements and the like).

From the bookseller’s description:

An undated volume, probably from the mid 1920′s. A large folio covered in royal purple velvet, bevelled boards, with brass edges and ornamental brass initials on the upper cover. Bottom of spine is frayed with about 1/2″ of cloth missing. . An elaborately-crafted volume of nine small photogravure prints surrounded by hand-colored illumination. Each page is mounted on heavy matte board framing the scene. All edges heavily gilt. Mattes edged in gilt. The gravures depict various religious themes, each plate protected by interleaved pages. The illumination is quite appealing, displaying a sensitive use of colors. The borders range from intertwined foliage and miniatures to rather simple Gothic window frame decorations. This is a one-of-a-kind volume, illuminations signed by Ada Samoda. We are unable to find any information on the artist, but we know that she was a very talented illuminator. We would assume that the book was created as a gift for a member of the religious community.

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The Intelligent Reader’s Guide to Vintage Pelicans http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/03/04/the-intelligent-readers-guide-to-vintage-pelicans/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/03/04/the-intelligent-readers-guide-to-vintage-pelicans/#comments Mon, 04 Mar 2013 17:34:29 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=18527 In the publishing world, pelicans are related to penguins. Famous for affordable paperbacks, Penguin launched a non-fiction imprint called Pelican and published thousands of titles between 1937 and 1984. The first Pelican was George Bernard Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism & Fascism, and today you will find these books in used bookstores around the world. Like virtually all of Penguin’s efforts, these are some gorgeous paperbacks that look great on a shelf (and the insides aren’t bad, either).

Every corner of science, life and nature, from wildflowers to electricity to the economy and beyond, can be found inside a Pelican.

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Amazing movable bookshelf http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/24/amazing-movable-bookshelf/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/24/amazing-movable-bookshelf/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2013 19:32:27 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=18262 You may have noticed that many of us here have a bookshelf fetish; always on the lookout for the most unique new design.  This isn’t to say that we have anything against the traditional six foot by three foot, four shelf standard but a secret door bookcase or a shelf that defies gravity are much more the conversation piece.

Enter Korean designer Sehoon Lee who has taken a basic three by three box design and given you the opportunity to flip it on its head, or side, or in any direction you want really. The shelf is mounted by the middle box and allows the surrounding boxes to swivel around each other into different shapes.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want this…


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Build Your Own Secret Bookcase Door http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/21/build-your-own-secret-bookcase-door/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/21/build-your-own-secret-bookcase-door/#comments Mon, 21 Jan 2013 16:35:30 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=18213

When I was in Atlanta, Georgia in October, our friends took us for dinner at Pizzeria Vesuvius (damn fine pizza). When I went to the bathroom towards the back of the restaurant, I saw there was a bookcase against one wall – which then swung open, and a guy emerged. Behind the bookshelf was a speakeasy-themed bar, and the bookshelf was a fun, intentional secret passage. A secret bookshelf entrance. Are you kidding me? Oh, be still my nerdy, Nancy Drew heart! I’ve despaired ever since that my photography attempts all came out either blurry, too dark or too flash-exposed (conspiracy theorists might say some secrets want to stay that way…). And now, I find a thorough instructional post detailing how one might make their own, should they be inclined. Rapture.

And the author certainly seems to know what he’s talking about:

Without a doubt, I’ve never built a perfect pivot bookcase, one that’s completely invisible to the eye and works smooth as silk years down the road. Even the bookcase in this article isn’t perfect. Each time I build one I learn something new, after all, hidden bookcase doors are a lot more complicated than an ordinary door—there’s a lot of variables, both in design and construction, especially on openings that have to swing out, where there isn’t space inside the closet or small room for the bookcase to swing in.

It comes from garymkatz.com, which is, according to the blurb at the top, “a comprehensive educational community devoted to trim carpentry, finish carpentry and architectural millwork. Hosted by nationally recognized author and finish carpentry specialist Gary M. Katz.”

It has all kinds of blueprints and enticing words like piano hinges, wheels, ball-bearings, scale drawings, and more. There are extensive notes and photographs of each step of the process, as well. I have no doubt that someone (who is not me, at all) could follow these directions and actually have themselves a very cool, serviceable and enviable bookshelf door at the end of the process.

This project shows the creation of the swinging bookshelf door as a cover of a secret compartment, like a closet or storage space, but I see no reason the same process wouldn’t work as a door between rooms, if you wished. You’d just have to decorate the back, too.

The finished product can be seen at above (closed) and below (open).

If anyone makes one, please let us know and send photos!

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