AbeBooks' Reading Copy

AbeBooks book blog

Advanced Search Browse Books Rare Books Textbooks
Advanced Search

Raptis Rare Books, selling the finest books in rural Vermont

Matthew and Adrienne Raptis

Deep in the southern Vermont countryside, you will find an ornate Italianate villa simply packed with sumptuous books worthy of any collector’s bookshelf. Welcome to Raptis Rare Books and the world of husband-and-wife bookselling team Matthew and Adrienne Raptis.

Matthew and Adrienne specialize in fine first editions, signed and inscribed books, and books that are quite simply important.

You will see them at the major books fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, and you can visit their Vermont villa, if you have an appointment.

They have sold via AbeBooks since 2003 and their inventory covers the biggest names in literature.

The home of Raptis Rare Books in Vermont

Raptis Rare Books stands out for the high quality photography that accompanies their listings on AbeBooks. Just browsing their books is fascinating – a first edition of Ulysses, a first edition of The Great Gatsby complete with its dust jacket, a Fourth Folio of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. These are books that are simply important.

Prices range from $20 for signed copy of The Flaming Corsage by William Kennedy to $160,000 for a first edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

Adrienne kindly took a few minutes away from the business to answer our questions.

AbeBooks: How did you get into the bookselling trade?

Adrienne: “Matthew started collecting books when he was a young child. He was very interested in history, particularly the American Civil War, and started with a small collection of antiquarian books. His collection grew over the years to encompass many other fields, such as literature, economics, architecture, and photography. The business in rare books was a natural development from his passions.

“I came into the business by virtue of being married to Matthew, so it was less of a direct journey. My degrees are in the sciences, but I have always loved books and read voraciously. A funny thing is that I used to pretend when I was a child that I was a bookseller. We actually came across a photo a number of years ago after we returned from the San Francisco book fair that shows me with my books fanned out in a very similar way to how our books our displayed when we are at a fair. It must have been destiny because I love this business and being surrounded by such amazing pieces of history.”

An example of Raptis’ photography – The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming

AbeBooks: What’s the most expensive book you have ever sold?

Adrienne: “We’ve sold a number of books in the six figures, but we’d rather not say specific titles or amounts. (Editor’s note – Adrienne is being discreet. In September 2015, Raptis sold a signed 1964 first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl for $25,000 on the AbeBooks marketplace, so you can see their inventory can command top dollar prices.)

AbeBooks: What’s the first edition you have always wanted to offer for sale but never yet found?

Adrienne: “Our holy grail of books would be a first edition Don Quixote. There was one that was known in the 1980s and went for around $1.5 million.​ If you find one in your attic, give us a call.”

Books galore in the Raptis gallery

AbeBooks: How do you acquire your inventory?

​Adrienne: “This is a question we get asked quite often. We do a lot of travelling and have both been to over 65 countries. W​e travel to purchase items from private collections, bookstores, rare books, and auctions.”

AbeBooks: What’s the most thrilling aspect of bookselling – discovery, closing a sale, making customers happy?

Adrienne: “We love making our customers happy and finding specific titles that they are looking for.​”

AbeBooks: “You are located in the heart of New England – would you describe it as a bookish part of the world?

​Adrienne: “This is definitely a bookish part of world. New England is known for its schools of higher education​ and literary events. You can still find many small and used bookstores in the ​area. Brattleboro in particular has a literary history, with famous authors such as Rudyard Kipling, Saul Bellow, and many others living and writing in the area. We also have a wonderful yearly literary festival.”

Search Raptis Rare Books

December’s bestselling signed books

December's bestselling signed books

Here it is, the last signed books list of 2015. M Train by Patti Smith has crept up the list to the number one spot. Despite being released late in the year, the popular memoir was one of AbeBooks’ bestselling signed books of 2015. December’s list includes some brand new reads alongside a few books that have stood the test of time.

1. M Train by Patti Smith

2. A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

4. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello

5. Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving

6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

7. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

8. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

9. Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates

10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

What We Read in 2015

At AbeBooks we have software engineers, accountants, marketers, customer support reps, account managers and we all share one thing in common: a passion for books. We asked people around the office to share some of the books they read this year – it’s a fascinating list and perhaps you’ll be inspired to read some of these recommended titles.

Share your favorite books of the year in the comments section below.


Emily B

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak This was a wonderfully emotional and thoughtfully written book about a young German girl during the 2nd World War. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn’t mind letting a tear or two warp the pages of their novels.

2. The Kingkiller Chronicle (books one and two) by Patrick Rothfuss (waiting on the third one!) Would strongly encourage anyone who’s missing the Harry Potter school days and anxiously waiting for the next Game of Thrones book to give these a read. Lyrically written with action, romance, and music aplenty.

3. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins Funny, odd, and charming, this book has helped stave off winter doldrums with enchanting characters and quirky humor. It has also inexplicably increased my beet consumption by 100%.



Thomas N

Thomas N

1. Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognizes his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognize him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. A strangely entertaining look at today’s media landscape, using one of the biggest taboo subject in Germany.

2. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick Having been to Korea this year I enjoyed this fascinating look into North Korea’s daily lives. A sometimes “scary” trip into my personal past behind the iron curtain.

3. Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho Simply one of the most beautiful written books I ever read. Well, kind of read for the third time…




Dawn P

1. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter I really enjoyed this book, it was a little dark and graphic at times and if you have a teenager daughter it may be a book to avoid reading.  Great story!

2. The Stolen Ones by Owen Laukkanen Human trafficking is not something I ever thought about.  This book is a great story and truly puts it into perspective.  A little dark but a great read!

3. Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs I’ve read a lot of Kathy Reichs and usually enjoy them, I guess reading so many make them a little predicable.  I knew the ending a long way from the end.  I’m probably going to avoid future Kathy Reichs unless her style changes.



Yuriy Z

Yuriy Z

1. Wait Until Spring, Bandini by John Fante I was hooked: will the family stand as catholic mother shuts down seemingly unfaithful and constantly unemployed father? What kind of man will a young Arturo become as he wrestles with his Italian heritage and his attraction to carnal affairs?

2. The Road to Los Angeles by John Fante I was annoyed: a teenager is a teenager, even if it’s Arturo Bandini.

3. Ask the Dust by John Fante I was mesmerized: Arturo meets Camilla Lopez and the drama develops so fast and so strong, yet so gentle and profound by balancing explosive personalities and vulnerable hearts. This is now one of my all time favorite books.

4. Dreams from Bunker Hill by John Fante I was sad: it’s simply impossible to measure up to “Ask the Dust”. Bandini is now an up-and-coming Hollywood writer, and he’s more miserable than ever. Arturo is trying to find his place between hollow and pretentious studios, and gritty and rich Bunker Hill.



Shi H

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez One does not simply write an epic story across seven generations, he shall also name all the characters after their fathers. All those love, hate, pain and struggling that are so vivid at the time, all eventually faded in history and became a part of the eternal time.

 2. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard”. A book that makes you rethink about your life.

3. Takemitsu Zamurai An epic seinen manga series I would totally recommend. It was drawn with ink brushes and very oriental artistic.



Cliff M

Cliff M

1. Future Crimes by Marc Goodman If you want to be scared into taking better care of your data online, this is the book. At times it felt a bit sensationalistic, but after double-checking his stories, it all just plain scary.

 2. I Must Say by Martin Short This is a fantastic auto-biography of a fascinating person. But I have one caveat: don’t read this. You absolutely MUST listen to the audiobook – which is performed by Martin himself.

3. Dear Leader by Jang Jin-Sung An amazing, true-life story of one person’s escape from North Korea. If this doesn’t get turned into a movie, I’ll be seriously disappointed. Reading this sends you through sadness, fear, excitement, jubilation, and then back to the beginning all over again.

4. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe The best science book of the year. Not only is it highly educational, but it’s absolutely, gut-splittingly, hilarious. Ever wondered if you could cook a steak from the re-entry heat of dropping it from space? Yeah, me neither – but the answer is here anyway.

5. The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth The funniest thing ever written about the English language. The best part is how the author uses each technique to introduce the next chapter. Well worth reading a second time.

6. Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia A brand new fantasy novel from one of my favorite authors. Novels always live or die on the strength of their characters, and Larry creates some of the best.



Christi K

Christi K

1. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik This is a non-fiction book about journalist Adam Gopnik who moves to Paris with his wife and child. It follows the trials and tribulations of living abroad.

 2. Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius A non-fiction book about the author who fell ill in grade-school and became completely unresponsive and mostly paralyzed. What no one realized is that mentally he was still very aware, with no way to communicate, until finally someone gave him a chance.

3. The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless Written by the sister of Chris McCandless (of Into the Wild fame) this non-fiction book is about their childhood and gives insight into perhaps why he ultimately made the decisions he did that cost him his life.

4. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald A memoir about the author losing her father. Grieving her loss she closes off the rest of the world and dedicates herself to her passion of falconry and trains a notoriously sour bird, a Goshawk.




Udo G

1. The Fall and The First Man by Albert Camus I was pretty much disappointed by “The Fall” (maybe the translation was bad) but after that began reading Camus’ posthumously published “The First Man” which I enjoyed immensely.

 2. Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow “Mr. Sammler’s Planet” was great too but I got stuck towards the end and still need to finish the last 10% some time.

3. Down and Out in London by George Orwell George Orwell’s first book, published in 1933, is a much thinner book and I finished it in a couple of weeks – highly recommended.




Ryan P

1. The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson Sanderson introduces another refreshing magic system to us in the world of Roshar in an epic fantasy destined to be his magnum opus. Highly Recommended!

 2.Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson Sanderson made 1000+ pages fly by in the follow up to Words of Radiance. If you liked The Way of Kings you’ll love Words of Radiance. My best read of 2015!

3. The Final Empire (Mistborn #1-1) by Brandon Sanderson An innovative and complex magic system based around properties of certain metals keeps the pages turning. Recommended!

4. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge A classic Sci-Fi novel involving many intelligent races from different zones of the galaxy fighting for the fate of millions of lives. Highly recommended!

5. Shift Work by Tie Domi As a big fan of Tie Domi and hockey enforcers in general, it’s a nice insight into how players end up in those roles. Recommended for hockey fans!



Julie O

Julie O

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah This is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve read the last page. As a mother of two young girls, there were parts that were difficult to read as a parent, but it’s just so good (and sad and hopeful and heartbreaking and full of love) that I recommend this book to everyone!

 2. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill Considered a love story, this short novel takes a profound look at a marriage that was once full of love but starts to fall apart as the years go by. Written in a journal-like account, this story is both funny and sad.

3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng An intimate look at a family grieving over the death of a family member. I read this book in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down.

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This shouldn’t come as a surprise that this book has shown up on this list – pretty much everyone has read this Pulitzer prize winner (if you haven’t read it, you must!). This epic story takes place during World War II and focuses on a blind French girl and a German boy whose lives cross paths. What’s so incredible about this novel is how knowledgeable the author is about so many subjects. This book is definitely at the top of my “favorite books of all time” list.



Richard D

Richard D

1. Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby This was my favorite book of year. It’s an amazing piece of non-fiction about how Newby escapes from a German POW camp in Italy and is then hidden in the mountains by various families and lonely souls in remote villages.  It’s a story of kindness and also very, very funny, particularly when Newby is living on a farm with a family that was two very forward teenage daughters.

 2. When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss This is a massive biography of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi – the man who was misquoted to have said: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” It took me 10 months to pick up the book after getting it in Christmas 2014. I loved hearing about how he started out before even ending up with the Packers.


What were the best books you read this year?

Just a smidge of a trailer for JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts

And it never ends (but secretly we are all very happy about that). Here’s the trailer, “just a smidge” of a video, for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off. We have to wait until November 2016. You’ll remember that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was on Harry’s first-year reading list at Hogwarts.

Bookseller Q&A: Bison Books

Aimee Peake, Bison Books

Aimee Peake, owner of Bison Books

We recently caught up with Aimee Peake, owner of Bison Books in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Aimee told us all about her experience as a rare and collectible bookseller, from the oddest thing she’s found inside a book (you’ll never guess) to the literary treasure she covets most.

AbeBooks: How did you become a bookseller?

Aimee: Twenty years ago last fall, I was 19 and taking Philosophy at University. Out for coffee with friends one evening, I saw a “Help Wanted” sign in the window of the adjacent used bookstore, so I went in the next morning armed with my resumé and idealism. I’d happened upon one of Canada’s well-respected antiquarian bookstores, Greenfield Books. In my first year there, I vividly remember moving the shop to a new location, painting and assembling bookcases, and hauling countless loads of books. Trial by fire! I worked there on and off for years, inching along in my apprenticeship as I worked on my degree and came and went from the city. In 2001, the proprietor offered me the management position at the new shop he was about to open: Bison Books. I had my run of the place! I enjoyed the independence and responsibility and wanted more of both, so I became a partner in the business in 2007 and assumed sole proprietorship in 2010.

AbeBooks: What do you love most about selling books?

Aimee: I love the books! Also the customers, and the daily challenge of running my own business. I love the unending possibility of discovery – of anything from a book of poems I know will garner a smile from a particular customer, up to a breathtakingly-illustrated antiquarian treasure to enrich the life of its next owner. I love that every day, I feel a sense of community as customers turn into friends. I love the characters who are attracted to bookstores, and I love that I am contributing to the maintenance of history and literacy by stewarding my books through this era. I have been taking forays into Collections Development with a few clients, and I love having the opportunity to follow them into their niche, help them discover the treasures they covet, and sharing in the excitement when we peel open the packaging on their newest acquisitions!

AbeBooks: What is the most prized item in your inventory? Why?

Aimee: My “pet” book-of-the-moment from my inventory is an 1868 Hachette copy of Fables de la Fontaine: a tall, handsome leather-bound book filled with classic but whimsical stories, profusely illustrated with the engravings of the incomparable Gustav Doré. That said, I have hand-picked every single book in my inventory because I deemed it worthy of redemption, so I love them all.

Bison Books, Winnipeg, Manitoba

It’s a booklover’s paradise inside Bison Books.

AbeBooks: What’s the one book you covet most? Why?

Aimee: I am not very purpose-driven in my acquisitions. I like it when a book finds me serendipitously. But, if my hand was held to fire I would have to admit that for years I have longed to own a copy of the Nonesuch Press turquoise vellum Herodotus. I first handled and fell in love with it years ago during my apprenticeship, and again recently missed the opportunity to acquire a copy, which I regret deeply, price tag notwithstanding. One day!

AbeBooks: What’s the oddest thing you’ve found in a book?

Aimee: A furry animal tail. No kidding. From something smaller than a cat…. maybe a ferret. I find it so perplexing that I cannot consider it logically.

AbeBooks: What’s your most memorable moment as a bookseller?

Aimee: I recently exhibited at my first ILAB-affiliated book fair: the ABAC’s Toronto Antiquarian Book Fair. It was truly an honour to be in the company of so many beautiful books and esteemed colleagues, and such a joy for me to swim around a larger pond for a few days, meeting and learning from so many kindred people, and enjoying the company of more fascinating and consequential books than I had ever before found myself amongst.

AbeBooks: And of course, what’s your favourite book?

Aimee: When I was a kid, I refused to pick a favourite toy for fear of hurting the others’ feelings. I remain egalitarian in my affections, to a fault (it could also be called “scattered” ;) ). I casually collect nice editions of favourite books, unusual things that catch my eye, and beautiful editions of the classics. My favourite authors include Hemingway, David Foster Wallace, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Zadie Smith, Dostoyevsky, Roald Dahl, Cervantes, and L M Montgomery, to name a few, but I also love art/illustrated books, fine bindings, philosophy, history, biography… see? Scattered.

Bison Books, Winnipeg Manitoba

The perfect escape from Winnipeg’s cold winters!

Search books sold by Bison Books

November’s bestselling signed books

November's bestselling signed books

1. Beatlebone by Kevin Barry

2. Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

3. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

4. Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving

5. M Train by Patti Smith

6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

7. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

8. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

9. Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty

10. The Martian by Andy Weir

Sam Wenger and his Quest for Arthurian Literature

Sam Wenger and his Woodstock bookshop sign

Bookseller Sam Wenger’s spiritual home isn’t California, or upstate New York, or any of the other places that he has called home. He would like to settle and enjoy life in Camelot – the residence of King Arthur, still Britain’s greatest hero, and his famous knights of the round table.

Sam (full name Samuel Alton Wenger) specializes in books about Arthurian and Celtic mythology as well as medieval and mythic literature. He’s long been inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien – that professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, who also dabbled in a little fantasy writing.

Today, Sam is found in Los Angeles but his bookselling adventures began in 1977 when he and Moira Joyce opened a bookshop called Three Geese In Flight Celtic Books in Woodstock, New York – yes, that Woodstock.

“Moira’s family were Gaelic speakers from Ireland, as well as Micmac from Nova Scotia,” said Sam. “I was drawn to Celtic culture. The stories, the legends, the poetry. I was then teaching Celtic Myth at the Irish Arts Center in New York City and at Ulster County College in Stone Ridge near our Woodstock bookstore. At the time, combining King Arthur with Celtic Studies was considered odd, and having a bookstore with this as a focus was considered odder still.”

Located in the Catskill Mountains, Sam also began to stock folklore books around witches and legends that Washington Irving made famous with Rip Van Winkle, and the Headless Horseman.

Eventually, Sam moved West where he now teaches, lectures, writes (a little Arthurian fantasy) and sells online and by appointment out of his apartment. “We also feature books about the American Revolution,” he added. “We see that struggle as an extension of the Heroic Age.”

His unique inventory stretches from England’s (or Wales’) Camelot to Yiddish Arthurian legends, as well as many books on Celtic Studies, including Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish and Breton history. He supplies books to collectors of Arthurian folklore around the globe.

Find books from Three Geese in Flight Celtic Books

Selected Items from Sam’s Inventory

A Latin bible from 1602

A 1602 edition of Biblia Sacra Veteris Et Novi

A pre-King James Latin bible (pictured above) containing the Old and New Testaments bound in thick calf skin on wood with four fold-out maps, including a map of the 12 tribes of Israel. The oldest book in Sam’s selection.

The Dwarfs of Arthurian Romance And Celtic Tradition

The Dwarfs of Arthurian Romance And Celtic Tradition by Vernon J.Harward Jr.

Published by E.J.Brill in 1958, this unusual book covers dwarfs in medieval, French Romance and Irish mythology. An uncommon book.

Myrddin Wyllt Yn Nghyd A Ber Hanes O’I Fywyd Wedi Eu Tynu Annan O’Lyfr Y Daroganau (Merlin Chap Book) by Twm O’r Nant / Thomas Edwards.

An eight-page Merlin (that’s Myrddin in Welsh) chap book from 1849. Twm o’r Nant was the pen name of Welsh poet Thomas Edwards (1739-1810), also known as Tom of the Dingle. He was famous for writing short plays.

Baptiste Larocque Legends of French Canada by Paul A.W.Wallace

A 1923 hardcover edition published by the Musson Book Company of Toronto. It includes a hand woven blue, yellow and gray sash. The book contains 25 tales of French Canadian folklore.

Granny’s Wonderful Chair by Frances Browne

A collection of children’s fairy tales written by Browne, the Irish poet and novelist (1816-1879). She was blind from the age of 18 months after falling ill with Smallpox.

Heroes of the Dawn by Violet Russell

Heroes of the Dawn by Violet Russell

Published in Ireland in 1914, this is a piece of Irish mythology retold by Russell and illustrated by Beatrice Elvery. One of the plates features the underworld shooting fire at Finn MacCool, the great hunter-warrior of Irish legend.

Three Middle English Romances by Laura A. Hibbard

A 1911 first edition of Middle English Arthurian romances. Hibbard was the wife of Arthurian Celticist Roger Sherman Loomis.

The Children Of Kings by W. Lorcan O’ Byrne

A 1904 hardcover published by Blackie, a Celtic mythic fantasy novel that combines Welsh, Cornish and Irish Arthurian and Tristan legend.

Shopping habits of the rich and famous: the amazing books that could be unwrapped on Christmas Day

A copy of Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow featuring a fore-edge painting of a baseball game by Martin Frost

One of the joys of this time of year is seeing the orders come in for fascinating books. Here’s a brief list of just some of the amazing books and ephemera being purchased on AbeBooks at the moment. We looked at orders since November 15 in order to identify what the world’s rich and famous bibliophiles are buying for Christmas.

Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by James Bond

Somebody could be unwrapping a copy of Thunderball containing a signed photo of Sean Connery, a bird book written by the real James Bond, a copy of Moveable Feast signed by Ernest Hemingway’s sister, a cookbook signed by Vincent Price, a letter from T.S. Eliot about cricket, a signed limited edition of Go Set A Watchman, a book of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetry (above) featuring a fore-edge painting of a baseball game, or even a book signed by six pioneering astronauts.

Notable AbeBooks’ Sales since November 15

A 1961 first edition of Ian Fleming’s Thunderball containing a photograph of Sean Connery signed by the actor – $570, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies by James Bond, yes, that’s the real James Bond, the ornithologist who Ian Fleming named his character after – $800, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1996 signed first edition of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – $1,000, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

A 1962 copy of We Seven signed by six of the seven Project Mercury astronauts – Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Scott Carpenter and Wally Schirra. Project Mercury was the United States’ first human spaceflight program – $3,250, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A first edition of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams from 1922 – $4,940, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A signed first edition, one of only 300 printed, of The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, which was recently shortlisted for the 2015 Costa first novel award – $913, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 40th anniversary edition of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by Harper Lee – $800, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A page from The Billibonga Bird illustrated by Australia’s Harold Gaze

The Billibonga Bird, an Australian illustrated children’s book from 1919, by Harold Gaze. Only two other copies are available on AbeBooks – $855, purchased by a customer in Australia

A 1964 first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s Moveable Feast inscribed with a message from the author’s sister, Ursula: “For Gayle Hemingway Jepson Schnack, from her mother Ursula Hemingway Jepson, written by her uncle, Ernest Miller Hemingway / August 14th, 1964.” – $500, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

A signed 1979 first edition of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – $2,480 purchased by a customer in the USA.

A signed 1958 first edition of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles – $528, purchased by a customer in France.

A 1927 first edition of Der Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse – $975, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1930 Lakeside Press edition of Moby Dick illustrated by Rockwell Kent – $10,000, purchased by a customer in the USA.

TS Eliot’s letter about cricket

A letter typed on Faber and Faber headed paper and signed by poet T.S. Eliot where he explains that although he likes the game of cricket he has not coached the sport because he’s American and never played it in his youth – $990, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A copy of Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban signed by J.K. Rowling – $601, purchased by customer in the USA.

A 1965 first edition of The Treasury of Great Recipes signed by authors Mary and Vincent Price – $650, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1910 copy of Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow featuring a fore-edge painting of a baseball scene by Martin Frost – $1,250 purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1963 Faber and Faber first edition of A Mind to Murder (pictured below) by P.D. James, her second book – $9,000, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A large folding map of the Siberian Railway from 1910 – $570, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

A History of the City of Strasbourg (printed in German in 1775) – $957, purchased by a customer in Germany.

Among the Bells: The Ringing Career of Rev. F.E. Robinson (who was one of the great campanologists of the Victorian era). It was the only copy available on our site – $532, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

And finally a signed leather-bound limited edition of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, one of only 100 copies – $4986, purchased by a customer in the USA.

The first edition of A Mind to Murder by P.D. James

10 Facts About Lucy Maud Montgomery


The first biography of Montgomery, The Wheel of Things: A Biography of L.M. Montgomery by Mollie Gillen (1975)

“Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” — L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery is without a doubt one of the most beloved authors of all time. In honor of her 141st birthday on November 30th, AbeBooks has put together 10 facts about Lucy Maud Montgomery:

1. Since publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 20 different languages.

2. Maud, as she was called by family and friends, started writing poetry at the age of 9.

3. Montgomery started her career as a teacher, and went on to study English literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Montgomery was one of the few women of her time to seek post-secondary education.

4. Similar to Jane Austen whose manuscript for Pride and Prejudice was originally rejected by publishers, Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables was also rejected. First written in 1905, it wasn’t until 1907 that Montgomery decided to try again and eventually found a publisher. In 1908, Page Company of Boston published the book and it became an instant best-seller.

5. Montgomery moved to Leaskdale, Ontario with her husband and spent the rest of her life in various towns and cities in Ontario. She never lived on PEI again but was buried in Cavendish, PEI.

6. Of the 20 books that Montgomery wrote, all but one were based in PEI.

7. People from around the world flock to PEI during the summer months to visit Green Gables located in the PEI National Park. According to a New York Times article, the site receives thousands of visitors each year – about 20% from Japan.

8. In 1920, Montgomery stopped writing about Anne, stating in her personal journal that she had tired of the character. After a 15 year break, she went back to writing about Anne and released Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936 and Anne of Ingleside in 1939.

9. The last book written by Montgomery was delivered to her publisher on the day of her death. The publisher declined to release the book. In 1974, an abridged version of the book was published as a collection of short stories called The Road to Yesterday. The entire book was published in 2009 by Viking Canada called The Blythes Are Quoted.

10. Mark Twain and Lucy Maud Montgomery share the same birthday. Mark Twain said that Montgomery’s Anne was “the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice”.

A selection of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s work:

Anne of Green Gables - 1st Edition. Published by  L.C. Page & Company, Boston. 1908.

Anne of Green Gables – 1st Edition. Published by L.C. Page & Company, Boston. 1908.

Emily of New Moon published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York . 1923

Emily of New Moon published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York

Chronicles of Avonlea - First Canadian edition, published in 1943 by The Ryerson Press, Toronto.

Chronicles of Avonlea – First Canadian edition, published in 1943 by The Ryerson Press, Toronto.


Mistress Pat: A Novel of Silver Bush. A first edition, published in 1935 by McClelland & Stewart, Toronto.


Anne of Green Gables Library: Anne of Green Gables Library: Anne of Green Gables; Anne of Avonlea; Anne of the Island; Anne s House of Dreams

Judging a book by its size: Sumo by Helmut Newton

Sumo by Helmut Newton for blog

AbeBooks.com has sold a copy of  Sumo, the aptly named photography book published in 1999, for $12,833 (£8,300). Helmut Newton’s famous book is MASSIVE. It weighs more than 77 pounds (35 kilos), is 19.7 inches x 27.6 inches in size and comes with its own folding metal stand. I love the idea of someone unwrapping this huge book on Christmas morning.

Published by Taschen, the book offers 450 photographs in color and black-and-white of scantily clad fashion models. The copy purchased was one of the 10,000 signed and numbered copies that sold out immediately after publication and have since increased in value on the rare book market.

Eight copies of this huge book are currently offered for sale on the AbeBooks marketplace with prices ranging from $6,000 to more than $13,000.

The good news is that a much cheaper version does exist. June Newton, Helmut’s wife, issued a revised edition in 2009 and prices begin around $85.