2010 Bookseller Resource Guide
November/december 2007

THE WRITE STUFF FB&C welcomes your comments, kudos, complaints, counsel, and silly photos. Send letters to letters@finebooksmagazine.com. Or write us at Letters, FB&C, PO Box 106, Eureka, CA 95502. Sending us a letter constitutes permission to publish it. Letters may be edited for reasons of space and clarity.

Art Lesson

Though I read and sell your publication, I must say I was a bit lost when reading Kimberly Howell’s piece, “Art and the Antiquarian” (FB&C 29). Ms. Howell makes the marriage of galleries and bookstores appear to be a modern concept. I find that grossly incorrect.

Numerous booksellers have done this through the ages. I think of the likes of Henry Sotheran in London, a host of Parisian sellers (including Joyce’s patron Sylvia Beach), Graham Arader, Ken Lopez, etc. I manage Spivey’s Rare Books, Maps, and Fine Art in Kansas City, an antiquarian shop that has sold original artwork, prints, and maps for nearly thirty years. In an age of plummeting prices, an inconsistent Internet marketplace, and shifting demographics, it just makes sense to diversify. Offering fine art, maps, prints, framed book illustrations, related ephemera, and illuminated manuscripts is just part of the job. It’s certainly nothing new.

Perhaps a broader perspective might make that more obvious. Your magazine doesn’t really address the concerns of Western Americana dealers, and they’ve seen the coupling of art and books as necessary for their craft and business. Again, I think of numerous dealers, such as Dawson’s, which Ms. Howell cited, and John’s Western Gallery, in San Francisco. I know I’m becoming redundant, but the history of selling art and books together seems history itself.

Hans P. Bremer

Spivey’s Rare Books, Maps and Fine Art

Kansas City, Missouri

Thank you very much for your letter and your long-term support. You’ve been selling the magazine in your shop longer than almost anyone, and we greatly appreciate that. You are absolutely right that many bookstores have sold more than just books for generations. In our story, we wanted to look at shops that set up separate galleries to exhibit and sell art, which does seem to be a growing phenomenon. If that distinction was not clear, it was an error of emphasis.—Ed.

You Marble Heads!

The review by Henry Morris of Sidney Berger’s new book on machine-marbled paper, Edward Seymour and the Fancy Paper Company, in the September/October issue (#29 and the best ever, by the way), perpetuates the myth I have heard expressed by others that there is no documentation about the technology of machine-made marbled paper. Although, as Mr. Morris says, there may not be a book on the subject, one chapter in the book The Treatment of Paper for Special Purposes by Louis Edgar Andés (second edition; London: Scott, Greenwood & Son, 1923) provides nine detailed engineering drawings of equipment for the production of marbled paper with an extensive text describing the operation of the equipment. The machine drawings are labeled in great detail and keyed to the text’s description of how the movement of the paper is controlled and how the ink is distributed onto the surface of the bath.

As the book by Andés is translated from the German, the descriptions may refer to German machinery for marbling paper, but nothing is said about the origin of the equipment described. Possibly, too, the chapter on machine marbling was added by the English editor, as the book is described as “revised and enlarged.” It would be well worthwhile to compare the descriptions of the equipment in the books by Berger and Andés to determine if they refer to the same type of equipment. If not, one might suspect that the book by Andés describes the general industry-standard equipment for machine marbling of paper at about the turn of the twentieth century.

Ronald K. Smeltzer

Princeton, New Jersey

Collecting Contest Kudos

This is just a note to say thanks for sending the copies of Fine Books & Collections with the feature on the book-collecting championship. It’s a great piece, and hopefully it will encourage lots of applicants for next year’s competition.

Dr. Jill Whitelock

Head of Rare Books

Cambridge University Library


In our First Person Singular column in the September/October issue, we quoted Valerie Hotchkiss as saying that the rare-book school at the University of Illinois was the only rare-book school to offer a certificate in special-collections librarianship. This is true. However, at least two other library schools offer similar certificates: Indiana University and the Manhattan campus of Long Island University’s Palmer School.

Collectors Wanted (Really)

Thank you so much for your great article on the Booklyn Artists Alliance. However, there was one item that I think will do Booklyn a great disservice. I’m sure it was unintentional and perhaps stemmed from my own misstatement.

The article has a line that mentions that Booklyn is not interested in private collectors. This is not true, and I am somewhat concerned that this misquote will offend the private collectors who now generously support Booklyn as well as alienate potential future private individual patrons.

What I said is that Booklyn focuses on distributing artists books to public and educational collections, which form the majority of our clients and that a very small number of private collectors support Booklyn. I also said that artists often prefer to place their work in collections where the work will be read, exhibited, and made accessible. This is not always the case with private collections, but it is the case with most of the private collectors Booklyn works with.

Crucial to this issue, the small number of private collectors that Booklyn works with provides proportionally more income than most institutions. Private collectors are an important source of income, critical feedback, and patronage for Booklyn. I hope you understand the gravity of this misquote, which seems especially pejorative in terms of Booklyn’s reputation to your readership, many of whom, I assume, are private collectors who might be interested in Booklyn if we appeared interested in them.

Many people have looked at the article and are very impressed with the photos, the copy, and the design. I think people thought the magazine would be a sort of boring bibliophile journal. They were happy to see that it is a hip, modern magazine.

I apologize for the misunderstanding about private collectors, which may have stemmed from my complex statements regarding a complicated issue.

Marshall Weber


Brooklyn, New York