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For the Love of Tennis


Tennis instruction from the 1908 book Lawn Tennis.

Tennis – the athleticism, the rivals, the outfits, the tantrums, the underdogs – it’s an exciting sport to say the least.

AbeBooks has a tremendous selection of books dedicated to the game, including biographies from some of the best players: Open by Andre Agassi, Rafa, My Story by Rafael Nadal, The Outsider by Jimmy Connors, Pressure is a Privilege by Billie Jean King and Getting a Grip by Monica Seles.

A must-read book for any dedicated tennis fan is Levels of the Game by Pulitzer winner, John McPhee – a retelling of the 1968 U.S. Open semifinal match between Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner. The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese, A Terrible Splendor by Marshall Jon Fisher and A Handful of Summers by Gordon Forbes are all essential reads.

The history of tennis is fascinating and there are a number of books written in the latter part of the 1800s dedicated to the sport. Instructional manuals, etiquette and tournament play were all popular topics to write about. We’ve served up some early tennis books, written pre-1920, featured below. It’s unlikely that Serena Williams or Andy Murray will consult these books for tips on how to improve their play, but the covers are beautiful and worthy of a place on any tennis fan’s bookshelf.


Lawn Tennis With a Chapter for Ladies by H.W.W. Wilberforce


Lawn Tennis by Lieutenant S. C. F. Peile & Richard Sears


Lawn Tennis by Jas. Dwight


Lawn Tennis, Croquet, Racquets


How to Learn Tennis by Charles Hierons

Diving Into Vintage Swimming Books

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than splashing through vintage books dedicated to the art of swimming and diving. Although the techniques may be dated, we can’t help but fall in love with these covers depicting swimmers, divers and swimming techniques from yesteryear.

Several of the featured books were written by Sid G. Hedges (1897 – 1974), a prolific author focused on books and articles geared towards young people. Some of Hedges’ most popular titles include: Swimming: How to Succeed (1950), Crawl & Butterfly Swimming (1954) and The Book of Swimming and Diving (1938).

Cool off with this delightful selection of vintage swimming books.


Swimming; In All It’s Branches by T.W. Sheffield (1924)

Swim at Home: a Guide to Home Swimming Pool Building (1953)

Swim at Home: A Guide to Home Swimming Pool Building (1953)


Swimming; How to Succeed by Sid G. Hedges (1950)


How to Swim by Capt. Davis Dalton (1899)


Swim: Teach Yourself to Swim! by Margaret Penton Hamilton (1936)


Swimming – How to Succeed by Sid G. Hedges (1933)


Competitive Swimming & Diving by D.A. Armbruster (1942)


The Book of Swimming and Diving by Sid G. Hedges (1938)


Modern Swimming and Diving by Sid G. Hedges (unknown date)


How Well Do You Swim? by Sid G. Hedges (1936)


Swimming by Sid G. Hedges (1933)


Swimming Simplified by Lyba & Nita Sheffield (1931)


Crawl & Butterfly Swimming by Sid G. Hedges (1954)

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