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Beautiful Broadsides

One of the best parts of my job is being able to spend time looking at different listings on the AbeBooks’ website. Today I learned something new – a type of ephemera called broadsides. The definition of a broadside is a large piece of paper printed only on one side – similar to a poster. In the past, broadsides were used to highlight an event, or advertise a product. Today they are not as popular but are still used by smaller printers and publishers.

AbeBooks has a vast number of broadsides offered for sale, many affordable – all interesting.

What will we discover next on AbeBooks…?


Taffy’s Revised Football Rules. 1895


Baked Bean Benefit. 1917


The Here World Balancing by Clive Matson, 1968


Dracula. Frank Langella in the Edward Gorey production of Dracula Directed by Dennis Rosa. 1977


Issued by the Bauer Type Foundry to celebrate their 125th anniversary. 1962


Come to the Hootenanny Sponsored by Friends of the Children’s Theater Workshop. 1965


The Backshooter – drawing by Fred Mason. 1969

AbeBooks’ Literary Link Lineup


Donald Trump’s new book, secret messages in Harry Potter books and a wonderful essay by author David Sedaris – all in this week’s edition of the Literary Link Lineup:

1. The appeal of magical boarding schools.

2. The Daphne Awards – Celebrates the best book of 50 years ago.

3. The Guardian reports on the sad passing of novelist Jackie Collins.

4. Apparently Salman Rushdie is just like the rest of us says the Globe and Mail.

5. Author David Sedaris talks about A Modest Proposal.

6. Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy says that Donald Trump will publish a new book in October.

7. Harry Potter fans are leaving secret notes in JK Rowling’s books.

8. Huffington Post presents 7 famous novelists who only published one novel.

9. The Guardian blog asked its readers to submit a picture of their favourite book cover. Tell us what your favorite book cover is!

10. Follow this Instagram account: Bookshelf Porn.

AbeBooks’ bestselling signed books

Bestselling Signed Books on AbeBooks - September, 2015

Once a month we like to take a peek at our top-selling signed books. This month’s list features an ex-president, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and an astronaut.  British neurologist Oliver Sacks’ book Awakenings makes a special appearance following his death on August 30th, 2015.

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

2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

3. Armada by Ernest Cline

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

6. The Year of Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

7. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

8. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

9. Awakenings by Oliver Sacks

10. Game Changer by Louise Phillips

Stay tuned for next month’s list of bestselling signed books!

A golden ticket? Signed first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sells online for $25,000

This copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sold for $25,000

It’s time to dig out your old Roald Dahl books – prices for rare copies of Dahl’s classic children’s books are hitting new heights. Late last week a signed first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sold for $25,000 on the AbeBooks online marketplace.

The book is a first edition that had been signed and inscribed by the author with the words “For Jane and Alex with much love Roald Dahl October 1964.”

The bookseller was Raptis Rare Books located in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The inscription from Roald Dahl

Published in September 1964 by Knopf, just 10,000 copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were published and they sold out within a few weeks.

This copy is by far the most expensive Roald Dahl book to sell via AbeBooks and probably the most expensive Dahl book to ever be sold. In March 2015, a signed first edition of Matilda sold for $5,000 through AbeBooks, and then a month later a signed first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sold for $7,500 indicating that Dahl is more popular than ever with high-end book collectors.

As always, condition plays a vital role in rare book pricing and the copy sold by Raptis Rare Books was in stunning condition considering its age and the fact that it is a children’s book.

AbeBooks has sold 31 Roald Dahl books priced $1,000 or more since 2002. The most expensive Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book currently available on AbeBooks is a signed first edition offered for $17,500. Raptis Rare Books is offering a signed first edition of James and the Giant Peach for $20,000 that is also inscribed to Jane and Alex.

Interest in Roald Dahl, who died in 1990, has not dimmed in recent years. A musical version of Matilda was launched in 2010 and is currently running in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York. In 2005, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre opened in Great Missenden in Buckingshire – the village where Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years until his death. Also in 2005, Tim Burton released a movie version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka.

A memorable illustration from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Ultimate Alice in Wonderland Birthday Cake

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, AbeBooks has created a video describing how to make the ‘Ultimate Alice Birthday Cake.’

Have you made a literary cake?

Bookslut blog announces 2015 Daphne Awards shortlist

The Daphne Awards are back. Organised by the Bookslut book blog, these awards celebrate literature from 50 years ago – in this case 1965. This year’s shortlist has just been announced by Jessa Crispin who has run Bookslut for as long as I can remember. AbeBooks.com is thrilled to be a partner once again.

The fascinating thing about these awards is the role that ‘time’ plays. Does a book that was decent in the middle of the 1960s still hold up today? Jessa had a team of judges plowing through hordes of books in order to produce this year’s shortlist. The winners will be announced in early December.


An Area of Darkness by VS Naipaul

Giordano Bruno by Frances Yates

Shadow and Act by Ralph Ellison

A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir

Bastard by Violette Leduc



Arrow of God by Chinua AchebeThe Ravishing of Lol Stein

The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy

The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras

Albert Angelo by BS Johnson

The Passion According to GH by Clarice Lispector

Short Friday by Isaac Bashevis Singer


PoetryLanguage by Jack Spicer

77 Dream Songs by John Berryman

The Sonnets by Ted Berrigan

Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara

O Taste & See by Denise Levertov

Language by Jack Spicer

The Dead Lecturer Poems by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka

Cameron’s Used Books & Magazines is a treasure trove of nostalgia

IMG_8116 - Version 2

At first glance, Cameron’s Used Books & Magazine doesn’t seem all that different from any other used bookstore. Row upon row of well-loved paperbacks and hardcovers fill towering shelves and spill onto the floor, and customers quietly scan spines for their next great read. So when owner Jeffery Frase invited me to browse beyond the ‘Employees Only’ sign, I didn’t expect to discover a treasure trove of pristine magazines dating back decades and decades. Snapshots of a time long since passed, issues of Life, Time, National Geographic, and Popular Mechanics line the walls. Encased in plastic sleeves, the magazines are safe from dust and the oily fingertips of browsers. Beyond the magazines are a set of narrow stairs the lead into a dimly lit hall tall enough only for a hobbit. This is where Jeff keeps his most prized vintage paperbacks – long forgotten pulp fiction all for sale on AbeBooks. Established in 1937, Cameron’s is a must-visit for any bibliophile, and those who aren’t in the Portland area can virtually browse Jeff’s treasures on AbeBooks.

Browse their books.








Watch Cameron’s Books in this video by Universal Magnetic

2015 Man Booker Shortlist

The judges have announced the 2015 shortlist for the Man Booker Prize and the list is full of interesting choices. The judges commented on the different writing styles, the literary backgrounds of the writers and the cultural heritage. The list includes both new and well known, established authors including Tom McCarthy and Anne Tyler. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 13 October 2015.


The 2015 shortlist is:

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
James brings to life the people who walked the streets of 1970s Kingston, who dominated the crack houses of 1980s New York, and who reemerged into a radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Brilliantly inventive, A Brief History of Seven Killings is an “exhilarating” ( The New York Times) epic that’s been called “a tour de force” ( The Wall Street Journal).

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
From the author of Remainder and C (short-listed for the Man Booker Prize), and a winner of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, comes Satin Island, an unnerving novel that promises to give us the first and last word on the world – modern, postmodern, whatever world you think you are living in.

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river they encounter a madman, who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of both its characters and its readers.

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
The Year of the Runaways tells of the bold dreams and daily struggles of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance. Thirteen young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar; and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the choatic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

Who do you predict will take the prize?

AbeBooks’ Literary Link Lineup


1. The National Book Foundation on Monday announced the 10 books longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The winners will be announced November 8th.

2. The Guardian discusses who might be on the Man Booker shortlist.

3. Patrick deWitt, author of the bestselling The Sisters Brothers, talks with CBC Books about his new book Undermajordomo Minor (which has been longlisted for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize).

4. Harry Potter themed bar has opened in Toronto as seen on Flavorwire.

5. AbeBooks talks about Beautiful Book Covers on Amazon’s Omnivoracious.

6. Certainly a favourite in our house, Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came To Tea (written in 1968) has  a new book called Mister Cleghorn’s Seal. Read more about the book on The Telegraph.

7. An interview with Jessa Crispin (founder of Bookslut) about her first book The Dead Ladies Project.

8. Dinner party themes inspired by favorite heroines in literature – see the menus on The Week.

9. The Rise of Twitter Fiction on The Atlantic.

10. Instagram feed to follow: American Antiquarian Society

San Francisco’s Russian Hill Bookstore – Loved by Locals and Tourists

A sign in the window of the Russian Hill Bookstore

The Russian Hill district of San Francisco is a quirky area full of artists and creative types, and the Russian Hill Bookstore is a key part of that community.

Owned by Carol Spencer, who has been selling books for almost 40 years, the business can be found on Polk Street in the west side of the Russian Hill neighborhood. Late night book browsing is possible here as the store stays open from 10am to 10pm daily. There’s usually a mix of tourists and locals perusing the shelves.

The neighborhood is one of San Francisco’s oldest and dates back to 1806 when Russian ships regularly docked in San Francisco Bay.

It’s a genuine community-based used bookstore with a fantastic selection of vintage paperbacks, including some remarkable pulp. You’ll find lots of cookbooks, modern bestsellers and books about San Francisco. There is also a large selection on cards, journals, calendars, board games and gifts suitable for bookish types. This isn’t a large bookshop but Carol makes every inch count and you won’t be short of inspiration when you walk through the door.

Browse their books.

Russian Hill offers many rare books

Carol Spencer and Benjamin Bellouin from Russian Hill

Vintage paperbacks abound like this Ace Double