The Avid Reader August 2008
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In This Issue:

» Collecting Film History

» Ask the Expert

» The American Motion Picture Directory

» Most expensive sales for July

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Hello again, Avid Collectors. We have exciting news in this issue – our Rare Book Room has been redesigned, and we think you’ll be pleased with the results. As well as a more attractive look and feel, videos of rare and antiquarian titles are now available for viewing. We have also introduced a carousel of scrolling book covers to accompany the main feature, more community content, and a more inclusive list of recently archived features, in case you missed something.

We will of course continue to showcase rare books with regular features. This time around we have a feature on Collecting Film History from Fine Books & Collections editor Scott Brown. Enjoy!

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Habit by Darryl Francis Zanuck

Habit by Darryl Francis Zanuck.

Collecting Film History

Scott Brown of Fine Books & Collections Magazine provided this great article on the art of collecting film history.

Let's begin with this short introduction by Pasco Gasbarro to collecting books related to the beginnings of the movies.

“Movies have owned the twentieth century,” claimed screenwriter and director Paul Schrader. “It will not be so in the twenty-first century. Cultural and technological forces are at work that will change the concept of ‘movies’ as we have known them.” Historians and film scholars may look back at twentieth-century cinema as a unique art form. It also will be a discrete field for a collector interested in printed film literature.

The history of cinema can be culled from the autobiographies, memoirs, essays, and stories written by and about the people who made the movies... Read the full article.

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Our Expert Booksellers answer your questions on rare and collectible books.
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This Issue's Questions

  1. I have a copy of John le Carre’s Our Game, published in London by Hodder & Stoughton in 1995. It has the full number sequence (10 to 1) on the copyright page. I understand only a small number of first printings were issued (1,000 to 2,000 copies) and that these were distributed to airports and the former British colonies. In addition, le Carre supposed rejected the dust jacket on this printing. Perusing AbeBooks’ listings for this book, the vast majority of first editions for sale show the jacket with a figure walking through a door. The copy that I own has a dark slate gray jacket with three profiles in black. Is mine the original jacket for the book? — Arthur

  2. I have a copy of John Ogilby’s Homer His Illiads Translated, dated 1660. When I bought it, all the plates had been removed, but it was otherwise intact. I have rebound and rebacked it with its original boards. I have also obtained electronic copies of the plates. Will the presence of facsimile plates add any value to the book such as it is in its incomplete condition? — Ray

  3. I have a first edition (1966) of Sandy Koufax by Sandy Koufax and Ed Linn. It is signed by Koufax and is in good condition. Can you estimate its worth? — Brad

See the Answers

Our Game by John le Carre

le Carré's Our Game

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The American Motion Picture Directory

The American Motion Picture Directory: A Cyclopedic Directory of the Motion Picture Industry, 1914-15.

To coincide with our current feature on collecting cinema books, we present this highly collectible book from the start of the 20th century: it includes censorship guidelines, lists of actors, a directory of movie theaters of the day, and more.

Publisher: Chicago: American Motion Picture Directory Co.
Publication Date: 1915
Binding: Hardcover, with cloth clamshell case.
Seller: Michael Sharpe Rare & Antiquarian Books (Pasadena, CA, U.S.A.)

A scarce, remarkable survivor from the infancy of the movie business.

Read more about this copy of The American Motion Picture Directory

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Win a Bookseller for a day

Win a bookseller for a day.... Thank you for entering the contest. We received an amazing selection of entries. Meet our winner, Stephen M. Matyas, and learn how the Declaration of Independence fueled his passion for collecting books.

Stephen M. Matyas

“I collect books dated 1776-1825 that reprint the full text of the Declaration of Independence (DOI). At first, I limited the collection to books dated pre-1900, later to books pre-1850, and eventually to pre-1826. Limiting the collection to "The first 50 years" prevented it from becoming too large, and unmanageable. Yet, it provided a large enough number of books (approximately 300), so that many were conveniently accessible and reasonably priced. While, a fewer number were of sufficient scarcity, or rarity, to make "the hunt" challenging and improbable that any one person could assemble, or “build,” a collection deemed complete.

Even more improbable, was the reason for beginning collecting in the first place: I started collecting because of a treasure story! The first ‘book’ in my collection was, in fact, a photocopy of a 23-page pamphlet published in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1885, entitled The Beale Papers, containing authentic statements regarding the treasure buried in 1819 and 1821, near Bufords, in Bedford Country, Virginia…”

Read more about Stephen’s collection

See the other entries


Signed Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer

Move over J.K. Rowling; make way for Stephenie Meyer! The mormon mother from Utah authored the Twilight series, which is so enormously popular it’s breaking records. The final instalment of the series, Breaking Dawn, was released on August 2nd. Remember when signed copies of Harry Potter were still affordable…?

Find Signed Stephenie Meyer
Learn more about Stephenie Meyer

Collectible Yearbooks

Collecting Yearbooks

When students finish high school, they line up for their tome and then rush around scrawling signatures, silly notes and poorly written poetry under classmates’ photos. Yes, the yearbook. These books are cherished personal memory capsules, but some become the ultimate acquisition for a celebrity super fan. If you graduated with Ronald Reagan, Larry Bird, or Tennessee Williams your yearbook could be worth a lot of money, especially if the schoolyard superstar signed it.

Read more about collectible yearbooks

Material (Girl) in Demand

Collectible books about Madonna

Life With My Sister Madonna, the most recent biography on the Material Girl, was released by her brother Christopher Ciccone only weeks before the singer's 50th birthday. Add to that the release announcement of yet another photo book, Madonna: Confessions on the first of October, and Madonna is once again in the book world limelight. With many titles by/about the pop icon out of print, Madonna is highly collectible.

Visit the Rare Book Room

The (newly redesigned!) Rare Book Room is your window into a remarkable collection of books, regularly featuring a selection of our booksellers' most precious items.

Visit the Rare Book Room

Most Expensive Books Sold in July

See last month's most expensive sales

Have Your Books Valued

Want to know how much your most prized book is worth? Find out from The Book Guys' Allan Stypeck.

Learn More

AbeBooks Appraisers

Looking for an appraiser to value your collection of books? Many of the world's finest and most knowledgeable booksellers sell through AbeBooks and also offer appraisal services. Use this list to find a AbeBooks bookseller near you who might be able to help.

View the full list of appraisers


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"Imagination is more important than knowledge."   - ALBERT EINSTEIN

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