Nicholas Basbanes

Times are supposed to be tough, right? The market is flat, people are cutting back, collectors, like everyone else, are supposedly hunkering down. That may well be true, but one must be ever mindful of human nature when it involves the desire to own great stuff. This was best expressed to me some years ago by the eminent bookman Stephen Massey on whether or not he was concerned that a hot
It is an axiom in book collecting that the market value of an object is not necessarily determined by what one person is willing to pay for the privilege of ownership, but by the lengths to which a determined underbidder is willing to compete for the prize in open bidding. This dynamic was in persuasive evidence last night a few miles north of West Palm Beach in Stuart, Florida, at an auction
Indulge me, please, as I make a connection between the recent victory in the World Series of the New York Yankees--their 27th championship--and what so many futurists perceive to be the imminence of a paperless society, and what, by extension, all that portends for the traditional book as we know it. It's a stretch, I agree, but an amusing concept to consider all the same.

If you were
History in the grand tradition--including one new edition of a classic written 2,500 years ago--comprise my choices for this current batch of new releases, each one worthy of your attention.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy for me, starting off with a keynote address in Columbus, Ohio before the Ohio Preservation Council on the occasion of the group's 25th anniversary--the theme for the event was irresistibly titled "A Celebration of Paper--followed in quick succession by presentations in Worcester, Mass., to benefit the
A little bit of something for everyone with this quartet--solid nonfiction, a scholarly biography, a charming novel, a new selection of poetry from the work of a grand master. Fall, indeed, is here, and the new releases not only are plentiful, but remarkably rich, surprisingly so, given all this noise we've been hearing lately about good books being in decline, and publishers cutting back on
You talk about adults who should know better making block-headed decisions. There is a piece in today's Boston Globe by reporter David Abel bearing the startling news that a prep school here in Massachusetts, Cushing Academy in Ashburnham--to all
When you publish a book with a university press, the likelihood, far more often that not, is that you will generate a modicum of attention in your field of enquiry, and if you are lucky, earn the recognition you so richly deserve among your peers. Very rarely--though there certainly are a number of remarkable exceptions--do you get the kind of traction in the mainstream media that will attract