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John Green and his unusual love affair with AFC Wimbledon

The wonderful story of how American John Green – author of The Fault in our Stars – became a supporter, and sponsor, of tiny AFC Wimbledon.

A Passion for Maps

We’ve been thinking a lot about maps lately. We recently featured a selection of vintage maps from around the world. We also got lost browsing through vintage road maps and travel guides from the first half of the 20th century.  These pieces of ephemera – an item created with a short-lived purpose in mind, are wonderful snapshots of how people lived before things like smart phones and GPS were at our fingertips. Today, maps published between 1920 and 1960 are in high demand as collectors scramble for pieces of travel history.

We recently came across this fantastic short documentary presented by the Los Angeles Review of Books about maps and those who are passionate about collecting them. LA-based filmmaker Alec Ernest, features Glen Creason, Map Librarian at LA Central Library and author of Los Angeles in Maps. Creason talks about his experience with discovering a vast collection of vintage maps that doubled the library’s archive in a single day.

The 55th Chicago Book & Paper Fair

AbeBooks is pleased to sponsor the Chicago Book & Paper Fair taking place this weekend.

Celebrating its 55th year, the fair features booksellers from the Midwest and the US. Sellers will display a fine selection of antiquarian, rare and collectible first editions and books in a variety of fields including: Americana, art & photography, literature, poetry, cookbooks and more.

Several AbeBooks’ booksellers will be at the fair highlighting some of their best items. Some of the sellers attending the fair include: Evening Star Books, Old Editions, Kenneth Mallory, Kurt Gippert, Bookseller, Jeff Hirsch Books and Peter Harrington.

The fair takes place Saturday June 11th from 9am to 5pm at the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall at 1340W. Washington Blvd. Admission is $6 or $4 for students with ID.

kurt-gibbertKurt Gibbert, Bookseller


Kurt Gippert of Chicago will offer for sale a Cuban Peso signed by Ernest Hemingway.


Cecentenary edition of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, published by The Folio Society, 2008. Offered for sale by Stick Figure Books from Lake Zurich, IL

Judging Vinyl Albums by Their Cover

AbeBooks isn’t just for books – we also have a wide selection of vinyl records spanning many different genres – jazz, rock, folk, blues, the list goes on.

People who collect vinyl are serious about finding the next great album to add to their collection. Record junkies claim that there’s no better way to listen to music than on vinyl. But, this post isn’t about finding a first pressing of The Beatles debut album. Rather, we’re highlighting 1970s vinyl, based on the album cover. Just like we (sometimes) judge a book by its cover, we’re picking our favorite albums based on the art.

What’s your favorite vinyl album cover?

genius-lee-morganThe Genius of Lee Morgan (date unknown)

Air Conditioning by Curved Air (1970)

mariachiMariachi! The Sound of Mexico (1975)

hungarian-folk-musicLiving Hungarian Folk Music 5 (1978)

For Those Who Chant by Luis Gasca (1972)

jj-cale5 by JJ Cale (1979)

kings-swingCount Basie and Orchestra by Kings of Swing (date unknown)

feeling-goodFeeling Good by Big Youth Jamaica Tinga Stewart (1976)

 conversationConversation by Frank Rosolino & Conte Condoli (1976)

images-guitarImages on Guitar by Powell Baden (1971)

Rose City Book & Paper Fair – This Weekend!


AbeBooks is thrilled to be a sponsor at the Rose City Book & Paper Fair taking place this weekend (June 3-4, 2016) at the DoubleTree at Lloyd Center in Portland Oregon. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this book & ephemera fair.

Presented by the Cascade Booksellers Association, the Rose City Book & Paper will offer thousands of used and rare books, prints and ephemera from more than 50 independent sellers. Many AbeBooks’ booksellers will be showcasing their items at the fair including: Wrigley-Cross Books, Crooked House Books & Paper, Barbarossa Books, Pam’s Fine BooksLouis Collins Books and several others.

The DoubleTree at Lloyd Center is located at 1000 NE Multnomah Street. Doors open on Friday from 2-8pm and Saturday from 10-5pm.  Admission to the fair is $3 for both days with proceeds benefiting the Oregon Food Bank. For further information, please email bookfair@cascadebooksellers.com.


Visit the Granite State Book & Ephemera Show this weekend

The Granite State Book and Ephemera Show takes place on Sunday June 5 at the Everett Arena in Concord, New Hampshire. AbeBooks.com is thrilled to be a sponsor of this event, which attracts sellers and collectors from across New England and far beyond.

Admission is free and families are very welcome. More than 70 dealers will be present. More details about the Granite State Book & Ephemera Show.

Organizer Marvin Getman said: “This fair presents a full spectrum of antique books and quality ephemera.  Ephemera are items made from paper that were not made to stand the test of time, and have since become collectible.  You will see correspondence, advertising, historical documents, posters, tickets, brochures, cards, and other things.   Many dealers at this show are members of the New Hampshire Antiquarian Booksellers Association, a professional society that advocates for the study, preservation, and celebration of fine books and ephemera.”

A Boy's Will by Robert FrostNew Hampshire’s favorite literary son is, of course, poet Robert Frost and there will be several Frost items available at the show, including:

Larry Druckenbrod, of Holly Books, will present a first edition, first printing of the “expanded version” of Frost’s Selected Poems from 1923.  This rarity, one of only 3,473 copies printed, is signed by the poet on the title page.

John Townsend, of Town’s End Books, will spotlight several Frost selections, including a first edition of A Boy’s Will (pictured right), one of only 750 copies printed; a first edition, signed copy of West Running Brook; a signed, limited edition of Collected Poems, one of only 1,000 printed; and a first edition of Steeple Bush in its original dust jacket.

Deborah Lavoie, of Deborah Lavoie Fine Books, will feature a fifth printing of The Complete Poems of Robert Frost It is inscribed, “To Anna Carelton Hurd, from Hervey’s Friend, Robert Frost, Boston, Nov 30, 1955.”

Ben Koenig, of The Country Bookshop, will offer a signed, first edition of Frost’s In the Clearing in its original dust jacket.

The Everett Arena is found at 15 Loudon Road in Concord, and doors open at 10am with a 4pm finish.  The venue, located right off of I-93 at exit 14 and offers ample free parking. Don’t miss it.

Amazon’s Best Books of the Month – June 2016

Amazon’s book editors have done it again. Here’s a list of 10 must-read books for June, with a bonus Debut Spotlight to finish the list.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

On a foggy summer night, eleven people – ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter – depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

Barkskins: A Novel by Annie Proulx

Barkskins: A Novel by Annie Proulx

Award-winning author Annie Proulx tells the stories of two families over three hundred years – their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions – the revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation.

Grunt by Mary Roach

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries―panic, exhaustion, heat, noise – and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see America’s defenders in the same way again.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page and never lets you go.

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

Security: A Novel by Gina Wohlsdorf

Manderley Resort is a gleaming, new twenty-story hotel on the California coast. It’s about to open its doors, and the world – at least those with the means to afford it – will be welcomed into a palace of opulence and unparalleled security. But someone is determined that Manderley will never open. The staff has no idea that their every move is being watched, and over the next twelve hours they will be killed off, one by one.

End of Watch by Stephen King

End of Watch by Stephen King

The spectacular finale to the bestselling trilogy that began with Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers. In End of Watch, the diabolical “Mercedes Killer” drives his enemies to suicide, and if Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney don’t figure out a way to stop him, they’ll be victims themselves.

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty: A Novel by Ramona Ausubel

From the award-winning author of No One Is Here Except All of Us, an imaginative novel about a wealthy New England family in the 1960s and ’70s that suddenly loses its fortune – and its bearings.

Never A Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded by David Hepworth

Never A Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded by David Hepworth

A rollicking look at 1971 – the busiest, most innovative and resonant year of the ’70s, defined by the musical arrival of such stars as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Joni Mitchell.

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

Hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the most visible and successful feminists of her generation,” Jessica Valenti has been leading the national conversation on gender and politics for over a decade. Now, in a memoir that Publishers Weekly calls “bold and unflinching,” Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes on women’s lives, from the everyday to the existential. From subway gropings and imposter syndrome to sexual awakenings and motherhood, Sex Object reveals the painful, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescence and young adulthood in New York City.

This Is Your Brain on Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe

This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society by Kathleen McAuliffe

In this mind-bending book, McAuliffe reveals the eons-old war between parasites and other creatures that is playing out in our very own bodies. And more surprising still, she uncovers the decisive role that parasites may have played in the rise and demise of entire civilizations.

Debut Spotlight:

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls: A Novel by Emma Cline

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

Mowgli’s legend lives on – signed copy of Jungle Book sells for $3,800

The Jungle Book by Rudyard KiplingJon Favreau’s Jungle Book movie, released last month, continues to spark interest in Rudyard Kipling’s classic children’s stories, first published as a book in 1894, with a signed copy selling for $3,800 via the AbeBooks marketplace. The book in question was an early printing but came in near fine condition with a super clear signature from the author. No other signed copies of The Jungle Book are available on AbeBooks but signed copies of the The Second Jungle Book can be found.

As far as animal stories go, The Jungle Book is hard to beat. Rudyard Kipling‘s collection of short stories was first published in magazines before appearing in book form. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi remains my personal favorite story from the collection.

Find collectible copies of The Jungle Book.

Rudyard Kipling's signature

May’s Bestselling Signed Books

May's Bestselling Signed Books

What were the most sought after signatures on AbeBooks in May? The list ranges from award-winners and a children’s book to science and science fiction.

1. Zero K by Don DeLillo

2. Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo

3. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

4. Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo

5. Mort by Terry Pratchett

6. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

7. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

8. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

9. Underworld by Don DeLillo

10. LaRose: A Novel by Louise Erdrich

Interview with AbeBooks’ ‘Heritage’ seller Zubal-Books

The Zubal bookselling family – from left to right: Thomas, John, Marilyn & Michael

To celebrate AbeBooks.com’s 20th anniversary in June, we are profiling one of our ‘Heritage’ sellers, Zubal-Books from Cleveland, Ohio. Any bookseller who joined our marketplace in 1996 is classified as a Heritage seller.

Michael Zubal, son of the founder John Zubal, was kind enough to answer our questions about a bookselling business that was created in the year that John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the United States. This family business specializes in providing books to libraries, researchers, collectors, and avid readers, and has steadily expanded over the decades, adding warehouse after warehouse to contain their ever-growing inventory. They even acquired a bakery facility in the 1990s as another venue for storing books and journals.

John and his wife Marilyn had four children – Vicky, Michael, Jean, and Tom – and they have all worked in the business from an early age with Michael, Jean and Tom still on board today. The company was quick to adopt computing technology in the 1980s and swiftly moved online in the early 1990s, and joined AbeBooks on December 7, 1996. Let’s hear Michael’s story.

Q&A With Michael Zubal

AbeBooks: Zubal is a family business. When and how did it start?

Michael Zubal: “Established in 1961 by John T. Zubal, who at that time was an inveterate book collector and historian. Space at home was running out and he had to do something with all those books.”

AbeBooks: Do your mother and father, John and Marilyn, still play a part in the business?

One of the Zubal buildings

Michael Zubal: “Yes. They arrive every day at 8:00 a.m. and go home at 4:30. Most Saturdays you can find them at the office. I, on the other hand, prefer to be on the third or fourth tee at 9:00 on a Saturday morning.”

AbeBooks: When did you become a bookseller and join the business? Were you tempted to do something else?

Michael Zubal: “Possibly flaunting child labor laws, Thomas and I began working with our parents around the ages of nine or 10 and went full time after college. Aside from being part-time jazz and rock musicians, we’ve worked only in the book business our entire adult lives.”

AbeBooks: You joined AbeBooks in 1996, our first year of operation – what do you remember about those early days of online bookselling?

Michael Zubal: “The sudden realization that the Internet was revolutionizing how books were marketed.”

AbeBooks: Can you remember the first book you sold on AbeBooks?

Michael Zubal: “That’s asking a lot.”

AbeBooks: Describe your storage building (are you still in a former bakery) and tell us about the size of your business (such as number of employees).

Michael Zubal: “Our facility consists of a half dozen congruent buildings that total around 400,000 square feet, including the repurposed Hostess Twinkie bakery. Some of the pipes still contain the stuff that when whipped makes the Twinkie filling. Yummy! The oldest structure on the premises was built in the 1890s and the most recent one in 1984. Supporting the six family members are nine additional employees, many of whom have been with us for more than 10 years.”

AbeBooks: “What are your specialties and who are your target customers?”

Michael Zubal: “We specialize in scholarship and scarcity in all fields. The majority of our clients are involved in advanced and intensive post-doctoral research. Some of our most popular subjects are math, physics, philosophy, anthropology and occult, as well as collectible first editions.”

AbeBooks: What do you love most about selling books?

Michael Zubal: “Satisfying our customers by supplying them with the books they need and want.”

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

Michael Zubal: “1776 Greenwich, Connecticut, edition of Common Sense by Thomas Paine. It connects us directly to the Founding Fathers of the USA.”

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

Michael Zubal: “A first printing of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. As close to ‘new’ condition as one could ever hope to find. Apparently, it was purchased in 1900 and stuck in a sock drawer for decades.”

Like any good bookseller, there are cats in the Zubal buildings

AbeBooks: How and where do you source books?

Michael Zubal: “Since we’ve been in the business for over 55 years we’ve amassed a huge network of scholars and collectors. When the time comes for them to divest themselves, they know that they can trust us to purchase their books. Very often we end up buying back books that we previously sold to them.”

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

Michael Zubal: “Ladies’ stockings and other kinds of ‘unmentionables.’”

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

Michael Zubal: “Finding in an otherwise unremarkable book a check drawn on the bank account of Thomas Jefferson and signed by him on its face.”

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

Michael: Moby Dick or The Great Gatsby

Tom: Be Here Now by Ram Dass

John: Tarzan of the Apes or Atlas Shrugged

Marilyn: Don Quixote