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    Adventures of a rare book dealer (and former small bookshop owner).

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I’m Not Dead Yet

To the (perhaps) dozens of readers still hanging on and following this blog, I say to you: All is not lost! My posting has been infrequent and sporadic (at best), but changes are afoot. So once you’ve recovered from the shock of seeing Biblioblography in your rss reader again, some news…

First and foremost, I’ve had a new website designed by the good folks at Bibliopolis. Still making small revisions and tweaks, but you dear Biblioblography readers get the first preview:

store.briancassidy.net. BTW – Simply typing www.briancassidy.net works too.

Related to the website update, I’ve been updating the look, feel, and undercarriage of this blog. As such, I’ve moved it to it’s own subdomain:


The design needs work and will be updated in the coming days/months, but the underlying workings of the blog (theme, software, etc.) work much more smoothly now. So update your links, blogrolls, and rss feeds. Speaking of which, the new feed can be found here:


I’ll be posting in both places while I get things fine-tuned, but within a month I’ll be publishing exclusively on the revised site. So probably best to just make the updates now.

I have resolved in light of the new site, to write more (and more often) here. Stay tuned.


To say I’m excited about my first New York Antiquarian Book Fair (as an exhibitor), would be an understatement. As the best book fair in the world, exhibiting here really feels like “earning my stripes,” and is in many ways the culmination of over five years of work. Set-up begins this morning and I can’t wait.

It is also the fiftieth anniversary this august event (a wonderful history of which can be found here) and to mark the occasion as well as record my own experiences at the fair, I’ll be posting to a Flickr set I created specifically for this purpose. I’ll be uploading pictures and commentary from set-up to break down: the books, the booksellers, the booths, the attendees, etc. The set can be viewed here.

I may even work up the energy to write a few posts about the fair to this rather infrequently-updated blog. Stay tuned for ongoing reports from the Armory floor and booth B17 (where I’m exhibiting with Lux Mentis, who will almost certainly be posting from the fair as well).

You can also follow my updates on Twitter: @briancassidy (or see link in right-hand column of this blog).

Further details on the fair (hours, etc.) can be found here.

Hope to see you there!

J.D. Salinger

Over at the Fine Books and Collections blog, I’ve posted some thoughts on the effects that J.D. Salinger’s death might have on the market for materials signed by him. In summary:

But my guess is that getting a signed book by Salinger will remain a tough and very expensive proposition, while laying one’s hands on a signed letter or note will become somewhat easier and moderately less expensive.

And in honor of Salinger’s passing, thought I’d have a sale on some early, never-republished JDS appearances. Prices are net (i.e. reflect the sale price) and are postpaid (domestic media). A lot price follows.

1) Salinger, J.D. (Contributor). ‘Both Parties Concerned’ in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, CCXV (Feb. 26th, 1944). New York: The Saturday Evening Post, 1944. First Edition. Folio. Light edgewear and mailing label. Internally bright and clean. Contains Salinger’s uncollected story, Both Parties Concerned, never re-published. Stapled Wraps. Very Good. (1704) $100.00

2) Salinger, J.D. (Contributor). SOFT BOILED SARGEANT in The Saturday Evening Post – April 15, 1944. New York: The Saturday Evening Post, 1944. First Edition. Folio. Mailing label, touches of rubbing/edgewear. Else fine. Uncommonly bright and sound. Originally entitled ‘Death of a Dogface,’ the story details a young soldier’s entry into the military. Some typical Salinger touches (condemnations of ‘phoniness,’ etc.), but predominantly an overly-sentimental apprentice work. Yet one that hints at the perfect modulations of tone Salinger would master in later stories. An uncollected appearance. pp. 18, 32, 82-85. Wraps. Near Fine. (1939) $100.00

3) Burnett, Whit (Editor); J.D. Salinger [Contributor]. ELAINE – in Story, March/April 1945 – Vol. XXVI, No. 112. New York: Story Magazine, 1945. First Edition. 8vo. Light rubbing to covers. Rubbing, fading to spine. Edgewear, faint soil to wraps. Internally sound and clean. Very good overall. Contains Elaine by Salinger, one of his earliest published stories and in the magazine of his former teacher who served as a kind of mentor to the famously reclusive author. Elaine has never re-collected, and is one of the more uncommon the early stories, most of the others having appeared in periodicals with far greater circulations: Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, etc. The story itself deals with familiar JDS themes – the young, the loss of innocence, the beauty and fragility of childhood – and so prefigures the later works for which he is best known. Also contains a brief biography of Salinger, noting his current Army stationing in Germany (where he would meet his first wife, Sylvia). 104pp. Wraps. Very Good. (2005) $200.00

4) [SALINGER, J.D.]. The Kit Book For Soldiers, Sailors, & Marines. Chicago: Consolidated BooK Publishers, Inc., (1942). First edition. 12mo. Pictorial boards. Good, lacking the mailing box (no DJ, as issued). Well-rubbed, esp. at the edges with a few scuffs and scratches. Some bumping. Spine lean, but sound. Still, presentable copy of a very fragile wartime production. Pictorial Boards. First edition (1942) of Salinger’s first book appearance. Starasciak A5, which fails to note this earlier edition, only the subsequent ‘43 printing. Includes Salinger’s story “The Hang Of It.” Also includes work from Ellery Queen, Rudyard Kipling, and others. 336pp. (9844) $225.00

Take an additional 20% off two or more titles. Lot price: $400.00. Offer good through 2/10/10. Email me to reserve (books at briancassidy dot net)

OTHER TERMS: Subject to prior sale; please email or call to reserve. Check, MO, credit cards, or Paypal. Institutions, dealers known to us, and prior customers in good standing may request invoice; else CWO. All items are guaranteed, returnable and fully refundable (minus postage costs, unless item not-as-described) within 30 days of receipt, provided prior notice given and item in same condition as sent. MD residents please add 6% sales tax or remit resale number.


BLOG SPECIAL: $10 Literary Firsts

We now interrupt this blog, biblioblography, for a brief message from our sponsor: Brian Cassidy, Bookseller.

Been cataloguing a lot of modern firsts this week leftover from the shop. Here’s a more or less random selection of great writers offered at a special price. Any title is $10 including postage (domestic media). Take any three titles for $25.00. Any five titles for $40. Any ten for $75. Or the lot for $99. Again, prices include postage. Postage overseas or by other methods at cost. Credit cards, MO, Paypal, checks all acceptable.

See, you knew there was a reason you read this blog, didn’t you?

1) ADRIAN, Chris. THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2006. First edition. 8vo. Pictorial boards. Near fine. Minor rubbing, shelfwear. Else clean, sound and bright. Lacking wrap-around band. Well-received novel from the author of Gob’s Grief.

2) BAKER, Nicholson. EVERLASTING STORY OF NORY. New York: Random House, 1998. First Edition. 8vo. A convincing look into a nine-year-old mind. From the author of Vox and The Size of Thoughts. DJ has minor rubbing. Fine in a NF DJ.

3) BARNES, Julian. ARTHUR & GEORGE. New York: Knopf, 2006. First American edition. 8vo. Very good in like jacket. Jacket has touches of esde/shelfwear. Else bright and clean. Unclipped. Book has slight lean. Else sound. First US edition of the novel shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

4) COE, Jonathan. THE HOUSE OF SLEEP. New York: Alfred a Knopf, 1998. First Edition. 8vo. Jacket is bright and clean with faint rubbing. Unclipped. Book has light shelf-wear and red remainder dot to top page edges. Binding strong, clean throughout. First American edition of this supernatural-esque, semi-gothic mystery. If I equivocate, it’s because the book successfully straddles several genres at once. The story follows a group of students and the fallouts and reprecussions of their friendships. From the author of The Rotter’s Club and The Winshaw Legacy.

5) DELILLO, Don. UNDERWORLD. New York: Scribner, 1997. First Edition. 8vo. Fine in like jacket. First printing of this work, remarkable in scope and depth. A superb work that cemented Delillo’s reputation. Preface alone (a virtuoso account of Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World) makes the book worthwhile.

6) GOLD, Glen David. CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL. Boston: Hyperion Books, 2001. First Edition/Printing. 8vo. Reading wear, esp. to spine. But bright and clean overall. A beautiful book, with full-color insert of old magic posters. A moving novel loosely based on fact about the magician Charles Carter. An auspicious debut.

7) JOHNSON, Denis. THE NAME OF THE WORLD. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. First Edition/Printing. 8vo. Book is bright, clean, tight, and sharp. Novella from the author of Jesus’ Son.

8) JULAVITS, Heidi. THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT. New York: Doubleday, 2006. First edition. 8vo. Fine in like jacket. Bright, clean, sharp and tight. DJ unclipped. From the author of The Mineral Palace and the editor of The Believer.

9) KIDD, Chip. THE CHEESE MONKEYS. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. First Edition. 8vo. Book has bright, clean pages & tight brinding. Square & sharp. Jacket is actually a sleave that fits over front board. Bright and umarred. From the legendary book designer comes this – Surprise! – stupendously well-designed book (with further design by Chris Ware). A tale of art-school life, very funny and insightful.

10) KROUSE, Erika. COME UP AND SEE ME SOMETIME. New York: Scribner, 2001. First Edition. 8vo. Jacket is clean and unclipped with light rubbing/shelfwear. Book is bright, tight, and sharp. Lively debut from a promising and acclaimed new author.

11) POWERS, Richard. THE TIME OF OUR SINGING. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2003. First edition. 8vo. Near fine in like jacket. Bit of shelf soil to bottom edge. Faint rubbing to jacket. Else clean, sound and bright overall. DJ unclipped. First edition of this novel from the acclaimed and innovative writer.

12) PRICE, Richard. SAMARITAN. New York: Knopf, 2003. First edition. 8vo. Fine in like jacket. Bright, clean and sharp. DJ unclipped. From the author of Clockers and Freedomland.

13) SALZMAN, Mark. LYING AWAKE: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. First Edition. 12mo. Minor reading wear. Jacket unclipped. Bright, clean, sound overall. First printing of this story of a Carmelite nun faced with the possibilty that her divine visions have only been the result of a brain tumor. Salzman’s (Iron and Silk, The Soloist) strongest work to date.

14) SAUNDERS, George. PASTORALIA: Stories. New York: Riverhead Books, 2000. First Edition. 8vo. 1st printing with remainder mark to bottom edge. Else fine: tight, sharp, and clean throughout. One of our most daring and inventive short story writers. With uncommon jacket praise by Thomas Pynchon.

15) VOLLMANN, William T. The Rifles. New York: Viking Press, 1994. First Edition/Printing. 8vo. Touches of light shelfwear overall. Else clean and bright throughout with strong binding. Volume Six of the Seven Dreams series. A modern masterpiece and one of the most important literary projects of the 1990’s.

This offer good for one week.

We will now return to our regular programing.

Baltimore Book Fair (Belatedly [Very])

Finally got around to uploading a small group of photos from last September’s Baltimore Book Fair, where I exhibited and which takes place in conjunction with the Summer Antiques Fair. You can see the photos on Flickr with my annotations.

It’s a great fair. Set-up (as you can see in the photos) was a snap. Load-out was a bit of a cluster-f$&%, with long lines to both get into the Convention Center and (once there) to unload. Ian and I agreed that next year we’ll just pack up and go straight to dinner, waiting to load-out once the back-log has cleared. Much more civilized.

The fair draws about 60 dealers, with a good mix of established dealers (Ken Lopez, Between the Covers, Royal Books) and smaller, more regional dealers. And because so much of the fair is dedicated to antiques and fine art, the crowds were strong despite the economy. That said, sales at least for me – and most dealers I spoke to – were soft. Since I don’t have to travel far, this is a relatively cheap fair for me to do, so I did okay. I also bought some great material at the fair, and had at least two good collections come my way via a couple of civilians who sauntered into the booth asking if I might be interested in their books. So on the whole, a good fair. I’ve already put down my deposit for next year.

Getting There…

Evaluating an Archive: Or Why I’m Glad I Have a Huge Dining Room Table

Feeling like crap today. Bad cold. Fortunately I have this to keep me occupied:

It’s newly-arrived archive I’m evaluating. I love going through, digging into, and organizing an archive, trying to piece together the story it tells. Especially useful in these situations is an over-sized dining room table (and an understanding wife). Can’t say much about the archive yet, but will post some (very) interesting tid-bits as I can.

So in short: feeling icky, but with plenty to keep my mind off it.

Over-Pursuing: On Paying Too Much For Books

It happens. You miscalculate scarcity or demand. Or a widow asks you, tears in her eyes, “Is that all?” A dealer charms you with a book’s virtues. Or assures you “The only one on the internet right now.” You get overexcited at an auction. Or you drool over some choice item at a book fair. Could be as simple as waiting too long to catalogue an acquisition. But no matter the cause, if you are a book dealer sooner or later: you will overpay for stock.

Now there’s an argument to be made that the best dealers are those who do this the least. And while to a certain extent this is true, no dealer can avoid it entirely, and I’ve come to find that the best dealers are more often the one’s who know what to do when the dreaded happens. As I’ve been cataloguing an uncomfortable amount of material I have – ahem – “over-pursued,” it’s a subject that’s been on my mind of late.

Though it’s taken me several years, and some days I do this better than others, I’ve found the following helps lessen the sting somewhat:

1) Catalogue the material immediately. For me, this is the hardest part. It’s easier to ignore that pile of margin-challenged books. After all, to process it is to admit – to put in cold hard numbers – how little you will make (or conversely, how much you will lose) on your new acquisitions. It’s also to admit that your judgement was wrong. Very wrong. Wrongity-wrong. Better to set aside and hope the market improves. Better to just sweep them under the proverbial rug. *Fingers in ears* NANANANANAN – I don’t know you’re there!

Not that *I* ever did anything like that. But the bottom line is this: the market is very unlikely to get any better and the sooner the books get on the market, the sooner you are likely to get back (at least some of) your capital and the sooner that capital can be put towards better purchases. That is assuming you…

2) Examine why it happened and learn from the mistake. Was I feeling flush? Did I let my emotions get the better of me? Has a market that I thought I knew well changed? Did I ignore my gut instincts? Did I listen to my gut instincts? Did I not stick to my budget? Did I buy something I didn’t fully understand? The more I recognize how it happened, the better l can avoid repeating the error in the future.

3) Think more creatively. Bad buys make me think about how I can turn them over as quickly as possible. They make me dig deeper into who might be a potential customer for the material and consider more fully how I might reach them. Maybe I can’t make much money but I can use some of the material to acquire potential new clients. In other words, bad buys can (sometimes) make me a better seller.

And I also find it useful to remember the words of my colleague Garrett Scott, who recently tweeted me on this topic: “But remember Einstein’s general theory of bookselling: As the speed of turnover increases, margins appear larger.”

Now, I’m off to look at a collection of music books. I will not let their siren song lure me to the rocky shores of over-paying…

Daily Links – November 13, 2009

Proulx papers. NYPL acquires.

the internet isn't killing anything. No, not even books.

Christian Swinehart's epic Choose Your Own Adventure visualizations. These are lovely and amazing.

Daily Links – November 12, 2009

Theme Park Maps through the ages. Great ephemera site. And proof that collections need not be costly to be cool.

Daily Links – November 7, 2009

Please – no preferential treatment. Isaac Asimov is so cool.

Daily Links – November 5, 2009

MA Gov Suggests State Library May Close. Um. Yeah. So bad.

Edmund Wilson's all-purpose "get lost" letter. This is just too friggin awesome.

Daily Links – November 4, 2009

Books have stalled. “Book mechanic” Michael Turner explaining how books are like rotary phones.

A LITTLE NIGHT READING. Pondering the impact of new technologies and the internet on the ability to maintain sustained reading and attention.

Book Review: "The Case for Books". Makes me want to read this Robert Darnton collection.

Unfurling: Isabel Rucker's 400-foot-long graphic novel scroll. OK. So I’m posting a lot of stuff from Boing Boing. What of it?

RevolveR notebook turns inside out. Need me this.

James Gurney’s art book: Imaginative Realism.

Daily Links – November 3, 2009

Mark Twain, illuminated. Mark Twain with Tesla Coil. No not a title of post-modern still life.

Teeny-Tiny Bookstore

This is U-Needa-Book of Bandon, Oregon. I discovered this bookstore last summer during my vacation up the West Coast and have been meaning to post an image since then. Just came across it again on my computer. Better late than never?

The store is literally about 10×15 and occupies what looks to have formerly been a fishing shack. Sadly the shop was closed when I walked by, but is was surprisingly uncluttered when I peaked in through the window. Apparently it is a satellite location of the nearby Beach Loop Books.

Daily Links – October 29, 2009

William S. Pumpkin-Burroughs. Offered without comment. The Beat great immortalized in squash.

Daily Links – October 28, 2009

“May we take some pictures of your books?” Book designers seek inspiration at rare book fair.

“I refuse to allow Stanley to get away with his robbery.” Great letter from Full Metal Jacket author and book thief (!?) Gastav Hasford from the fantastic “Letters of Note” blog.

Free Book Repair Training Manual. Looks useful. Via Bookfinder.

THE DIY AUTHOR RETURNS. Short-sighted publishers and the future of DIY authorship.

irony ain't dead…just a bit snarky. OMG. Best. Punctuation. Mark. Ever. Thanks Joyce!

SALE: Philip Roth

The Nobel Prize’s Susan Lucci, Philip Roth, may think that the novel will be nearly dead (“I’m not dead yet!” “He’s only MOSTLY dead.”) in 25 years, but that’s not going to stop me from pointing out a small group of his novels I just catalogued. Been meaning to do more “blog” specials. And now that my ducks are more or less back in a row following my recent move, here goes:

Prices are postpaid (domestic media). My dear readers may take 20% off one title, 25% off two, or 30% off three or more. Lot price also follows below:

1) ROTH, Philip. PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT. New York: Random House, 1969. First edition. 8vo. Very good in like jacket. Flaps creased. Minor rubbing overall. Else bright and unclipped. Book has touches of shelf/handling wear. Spine a bit rolled at top. Else clean and sound thoughout. First edition of one of Roth’s best, most-loved, and most controversial novels. Burgess 99. $50.00

2) –. THE GHOST WRITER. Franklin Center, PA: Franklin Library, 1979. First edition. 8vo. Full leather with three raised spine bands and titles and decorations gilt. AEG. Moire endpapers, ribbon marker. A very fine copy. Unread. Bright, tight and sharp. A lovely production. 158pp. True first edition, preceding trade. Part of the First Edition Society series. Includes two-page message from Roth not in other editions. Illustrated by Robert Hendel. $35.00

3) –. ZUCKERMAN UNBOUND. Franklin Center, PA: Franklin Library, 1981. First edition. 8vo. Full leather with three raised spine bands and titles and decorations gilt. AEG. Moire endpapers, ribbon marker. A very fine copy. Unread. Bright, tight and sharp. A lovely production. 209pp. True first edition, preceding trade. Part of the First Edition Society series. Includes two-page message from Roth not in other editions. Illustrated by Hodges Soileau. $35.00

4) –. SABBATH’S THEATER. New York / Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995. First edition. 8vo. Near fine in like jacket. Touches of rubbing, shelfwear. Else bright, clean, and sound throughout. $15.00

5) –. I MARRIED A COMMUNIST. New York / Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. First edition. 8vo. Near fine in like jacket. Trace shelfwear overall. Faint sticker residue to ffep. Else bright, clean, and sharp overall. $15.00

6) –. THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. First Edition. 8vo. Hard Cover. Fine in like jacket. Bright, tight, clean and unread. The story of the Roth family under a hypothetical anti-semitic Charles Lindbergh presidency. $20.00

For the lot: $100.00 ppd. Paypal, credit cards both fine. And of course as all purchases are, fully returnable. If you’d like any/some/all please drop me a line at books-at-briancassidy-dot-net.

Daily Links – October 27, 2009

People read more than books. Kottke getting it exactly right with what’s wrong with Kindle/Nook/etc.

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