The Bookseller's Gazette Issue #1

While writing my post on bookselling and magazines a few weeks back, I was thinking how much magazine articles, tv and radio notices, blog posts, etc. drive the used and rare book trade. I decided to start collecting these references in one place so alert booksellers could take advantage of potential spikes in demand.

This will be an on-going feature and (I hope) it will be tip driven. I’m looking for stories from non-specialist publications (not Fine Books and Collections, for example, because most booksellers already read it) with national/international audiences that contain reference to rare or out-of-print book titles.

I know book dealers have to carefully guard their sources, but I believe this is the kind of information that will benefit everyone to share.

Please send your tips here. Match the format below if possible, otherwise just give me enough info to find it. I’ll give credit and/or a link for any tips I use.

Here’s the first installment. It’s short…and a little dated but will become more robust with your help.

Bookseller’s Gazette #1

Magazine Article: “The Book of Exodus” by Geraldine Brooks, New Yorker, 12/3/07

Long article on a Muslim Librarian’s rescue of the Sarajevo Haggadah from the Nazi occupation. This is a historically crucial illuminated Hebrew text. (various reproductions sell on ABE for $25 and up)

Radio: NPR – WNYC “Fishko Files” 12/21/07

Biographical essay on outrageous jazz musician and bandleader, Cab Calloway with a mention of his reference book on African-American Slang The Hepster’s Dictionary (no copies currently on ABE, several wants).

Documentary Film: Doc, Directed by Immy Humes (Film Forum, NYC January 23-29)

Harold L. Humes (aka Doc Humes) was brilliant and precocious (he went to MIT at 16), a literary phenomenon (the author of two acclaimed novels, The Underground City, Men Die, who never wrote again) [firsts go for $100-$300], who was instrumental in founding The Paris Review…..George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, Paul Auster, Peter Matthiessen, William Styron and Timothy Leary recall an extraordinary man.

Documentary Film: Stalags, Written and directed by Ari Libsker (Film Forum, NYC April 9-22)

“It was one of Israel’s dirty little secrets. In the early 1960s, as Israelis were being exposed for the first time to the shocking testimonies of Holocaust survivors at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a series of pornographic pocket books called Stalags, based on Nazi themes, became best sellers throughout the land… The books told perverse tales of captured American or British pilots being abused by sadistic female SS officers outfitted with whips and boots….Ari Libsker, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, explores this phenomenon by interviewing the men who wrote the Stalags, as well as Israeli survivors and cultural critics who consider how fantasy may seep into public consciousness and become indiscernible from the historical record.”

The Bookseller’s Gazette is edited by William Smith of Hang Fire Books. Read his blog and visit his store here.

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