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Update 3 from the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar

AbeBooks.com’s Maria Hutchison has another update for us from the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar.


We finished off the last full day of classes today and I think everyone feels like they’ve taken in more information than they thought possible!

Our day started with a presentation from Kevin Johnson of Royal Books. Kevin specializes in modern literature, science fiction, crime fiction and has a special interest in books on film. This presentation was one of the most engaging and amusing sessions this week. Kevin used some entertaining stories and great photos to explain how he found his way from working for the CIA and into bookselling and then evolved from doing bookselling on the side to running a bricks and mortar store.

The highlight of the day and the entire week was the auction we had today. Mike Ginsberg reviewed auction etiquette, online auctions and traditional live auctions. There were 25 lots of donated items and both students and faculty were able to bid. Some of the highlights included a not-yet-printed first edition of Kevin Johnson’s upcoming book on American film noir books and movies, coveted Between the Covers t-shirts and book cards, a handmade clamshell box made by Angela Scott and probably the most coveted item…. A gourmet dinner for two with all of the Rare Book School faculty at the home of Jim and Mary Francis Ciletti of Hooked on Books. The gourmet dinner was auctioned off at over $600. We had some seasoned bidders in the audience, I didn’t have a chance! All funds raised go back to supporting the Rare Book School.

We finished up the day with some more tours of local Colorado Springs book stores. I managed to buy a few more obscure cookbooks that I’ve been looking for and a lovely 1941 Heritage Press edition of Aesop’s Fables. I think most people here will need to buy another suitcase or at least invest some money in postage to send home their treasures.

One thing is clear at this event, there are more and more booksellers that are choosing to operate purely online. There are some here that operate bricks and mortar shops or are planning to open shops but I would say these people are in the minority. The seminar has offered such a great opportunity to meet people that all care about books, we’re not all book sellers but everyone has a shared passion for books. As more booksellers choose to operate internet-only bookstores, events like the Rare Book School will become even more important, offering a way to network and share knowledge with colleagues.


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