Newsletter 47 (continued)
LOS ANGELES, AIRPORT HILTON HOTEL, 4TH FEBRUARY 1994
Present: The President, Anton Gerits, in the chair; Poul Poulsen, Hon. Treasurer; Raymond Kilgarriff; Bernard Rosenthal; Bob de Graaf, President of Honour.
1. Apologies were received from the other Presidents of Honour, from the Hon. Sec. Helen Kahn who was unable to attend because of bereavement and illness in the family; from Alain Nicolas and from Walter Alicke. Raymond Kilgarriff was appointed acting secretary for the meeting.
2. Matters raised by the President
The President announced that Walter Alicke had to withdraw his candidacy for the committee for health reasons. Alain Nicolas however had signified readiness to let his go forward. There was therefore currently one vacant seat on the committee. There was some discussion of possible candidates with regard to an immediate co-option and with regard to the committee election due in September 1994.
The President emphasized it was impossible for him to continue to edit the Newsletter as well as perform his other duties so another committee member must be found to undertake this. Moreover, although he had intended to stand down this September, in the current absence of a Vice President he would feel duty bound, if supported, to offer himself for a second term. The President hoped that for continuity’s sake the other members of the committee would serve a second term. If they consented, that would exclude further nominations from Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Netherlands and United States as there could be only a single member from any one nation. The President was pleased to notice that candidates fro nomination to the committee were under discussion in America, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. There was some speculation about the advisability of enlarging the committee slightly to admit members from a wider cross-section of the League. To enlarge it to admit a representative from each nation (as some had suggested) would however be contrary to the ILAB Constitution as well as impractical and self-defeating. It was agreed to follow up potential nominees to ensure that the committee be complete for the next meeting in Amsterdam, September 1994.
There had been no correspondence on matters other than those on the Agenda.
4. President’s Report
At the next day’s meeting the President would welcome the newly elected national Presidents and would announce the deaths of eminent members that had occurred during the year. He referred to his visits to China, Japan and Korea and his conversations with senior representatives of the book trade in those countries. Chinese translation of his speeches and statements would be prepared and forwarded for publication in China.
5. Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Poulsen presented the statement of cash receipts and disbursements for the period 1st Aug. 1992 to 31st July 1993 and indicated the details he would be clarifying at the next day’s National Presidents’ Meeting. He pointed briefly to the fact that the year’s transactions had resulted in a profit of some 23,800$ and he regarded this as a very healthy position though heavy calls would have to be met in the following year. There had been informal and private complaints about the book fair levy from US members on the grounds that the levy fell on them heavily because of the number of US fairs each year and of their size. However it was reiterated that 10$ per exhibitor was a very modest charge and that the policy had in fact only been introduced quite recently and approved by the General Assembly. It was also observed that many exhibitors at American fairs were from overseas (the present LA fair included some 25% of foreign exhibitors) so that the fee did not fall on US members alone even in America itself. This element of overseas exhibitors in national book fairs occurred all over the world so that there was a fair spread of the levy across the nations.
The President had already circulated the papers and correspondence which related to the ultimate cancellation of the National Presidents meeting in Vancouver, September 1993. There was a brief discussion of the sequence of events which led to this unfortunate conclusion. It was agreed that it was a matter of great regret and that possibly the Canadian Association might wish to repeat the invitation at a later date.
7. Bibliographical Prize
Dr. Kocher-Benzing had reported that the Jury had met during last summer and from the many titles submitted a short-list of twelve had been compiled. In July 1994 the jury would meet again and nominate the winner of the Prize which would then be awarded at the Amsterdam Congress.
8. German Book Fairs
The President announced that Dr. Christine Grahamer, at no little inconvenience to herself, would be attending tomorrow’s National Presidents’ Meeting to make a statement on behalf of the Verband. Until that had been heard and digested, he hoped other attempts by other associations to table motions would be suspended.
The President reported that a new edition could be ready for the Amsterdam Congress if, and only if, all the National Presidents co-operated and supplied updated members lists complete with all the additional data such as opening hours, specialities, fax numbers, VAT numbers. Thus far the response to his appeals had been disappointing. Copy supplied on disk in Word Prefect was the preferred form. The cost of printing would be Hfl 100,000 for 10,000 copies; but perhaps 3,000 copies would meet our needs albeit at a higher unit cost. The prospect of financing the new edition partly through advertising did not in the present climate seem very encouraging.
10. Dictionary of Bibliographical terms
There was good news of Mr. Edgar Franco’s progress on the new edition which was to be reduced to four languages (French, English, German, Italian). Copy would be ready for printing at the end of May 1994. The 12,000 words of the original had included a large proportion which had no special technical sense and so did not strictly qualify for inclusion. The number of entries had now been reduced to some 5,000 all of which qualified by Mr. Franco’s strict criteria. The result should have greater value to the trade and the bibliographical world. It was hoped the edition would be ready at the Amsterdam Congress.
11. Dictionary of Abbreviations, by Bernard Rosenthal
The Dictionary had now been published with the ILAB imprint, and Mr. Rosenthal was warmly congratulated. Each President had received a copy with a request that it be publicised and promoted in his country. The price was US $ 7.50 to members and US $ 10.00 to non members. Orders should be dealt with by the national associations who should order in parcels of 25 copies at US $ 6.00 per copy from the President.
12. Rules, Code of Customs and Usages, Book fairs Guidelines
Texts in English and French were now ready and the three booklets would be printed in a single slim volume in the format and style of the Newsletter and be ready for the Amsterdam Congress.
13. Publications Distribution
After discussion it was resolved that the President would be responsible for distributing the Dictionary of Abbreviations; and Mr. Kilgarriff would undertake the warehousing and distribution of the Dictionary of Bibliographical Terms, the Dictionary and the Rule and Guidelines booklet. However, the National Presidents would hold stocks of the Dictionary and Directory for sale in their respective countries and Mr. Kilgarriff would distribute in parcels to them. Thus the bulk of stock would be distributed on publication when consignments of each title would be sent to the national associations according to their membership rolls. All invoicing and collecting of accounts would be undertaken by the Hon. Treasurer on advice from Mr. Kilgarriff.
The next issue would appear for the Amsterdam Congress. Mr. Gerits would appeal to the National Presidents to purchase advertising space. Otherwise the issue would consist of the minutes of the Committee and National Presidents meetings only.
The President announced that at Amsterdam he proposed to nominate Mr. Anthony Rota as President of Honour and Mr. Mitsuo Nitta as Member of Honour. Both had rendered outstanding services to the League over many years and the entire international trade would wish them to be recognised in this way. There was unanimous support for the proposals. There would be a speech of commendation addressed to each gentleman at the Congress.
16. Composition of the next ILAB Committee
The Hon. Treasurer would continue for another term. Raymond Kilgarriff and Helen Kahn had also signified their readiness to serve another term. The position of the other members had been dealt with under n°2 of the Agenda. It was observed that there had not been a German president since Dr. Kocher-Benzing, or an American one since Mr. Richard Wormser.
17. Any other Business
Mr. Kilgarriff urged further consideration of the need to provide secretarial assistance with suitable funding for the President and for the Hon. Secretary. We had very limited capacity for new projects and he did not envisage increasing such assistance in order to undertake new work, but even maintaining the present work-load imposed an impossible burden on the officers. The setting up of a permanent address and secretariat for the League would hardly be justified for such a body as this whose functions were mainly of an ‘enabling’ and ‘mediatory’ nature. The case would be met by providing secretarial help which the officers would arrange to have in proximity to themselves for obvious practical reasons and which could simply be transferred as the holders of the officers changed. Mr. Gerits supported such an arrangement. Mr. Rosenthal favoured, at sometime in the future, establishing a permanent office and secretariat on the American model and saw no great difficulties in maintaining a secretary in a different country from the President. It would facilitate the storage of publications, etc. rather than depending on committee members to make provision from their own business, and it would give permanence and continuity to the League and its work. The discussion ended at this point and the meeting was adjourned.
ILAB NATIONAL PRESIDENTS MEETING
LOS ANGELES, AIRPORT HILTON HOTEL, 5TH FEBRUARY 1994
Present: The President, Anton Gerits, in the chair; Raymond Kilgarriff acting Hon. Secretary; Poul Poulsen, Hon. Treasurer; Bernard Rosenthal, Committee. Bob de Graaf, President of Honour; and the following national presidents:
Australia and New Zealand Peter Arnold
Canada Don Lake
Denmark Poul Poulsen
France Dominique Courvoisier
Germany Christine Grahamer
Great Britain Margaret Eaton
Italy Fiametta Soave representing Vittorio Soave
Japan Akinao Inoue
Korea Soon-Ku Yo
Netherlands Bob Kuyper
Spain Haro Pelegri
USA Peter Howard
The following were also registered: Germany held written proxies of Austria and Switzerland; the President held the proxy of Belgium; Denmark held the proxies of Finland, Norway and Sweden.
1. Apologies were received from the other Presidents of Honour, from the Hon. Secretary Helen Kahn, from Alain Nicolas and from Walter Alicke
The President opened the meeting by extending a warm welcome to all present, especially to the President of Honour Bob de Graaf and especially also to those who had travelled a great distance. Many were present who could ill afford the time away from the pressing demands of their own businesses and he acknowledges with gratitude the efforts made to attend. The President also reminded those present that any member who was elected to the ILAB Committee no longer represented his own national association and had to uphold continuously a position of complete neutrality. Yesterday’s Committee meeting had been conducted in that spirit.
The President then introduced five newly elected Presidents; from Australia & New Zealand, Pter Arnold; From Great Britain, Margaret Eaton; from Canada, Don Lake; from the Netherlands, B. Kuyper; from Spain, Haro Pelegri. The annual meeting of the Presidents was convened to report on progress, to share in the League’s recent achievements and to announce future activities. He offered his particular thanks to the S. California Chapter of the ABAA for hosting the meeting and arranging a generous social programme – all this despite the Chapter’s recent sufferings in the Los Angeles earthquake.
The President expressed the Committee’s regret that the proposed Vancouver meeting, September 1993, had not taken place. The final poll of National Presidents had indicated that the attendance would have been too low to justify convening the meeting.
The President had again met delegates from the China book trade when they paid a return visit to the Japan association in Tokyo last year.
The Czech association had been awaiting formal admission to the League.
In the past year the deaths of eminent colleagues had occurred and the company stood in silence in their memory: Geoffry Perkins and Peter Eaton from Great Britain, N. Pavlov from the USA, S. Inoue from Japan, Gé Nabrink from the Netherlands.
3. Secretary’s Report
The President stated that Helen Kahn had endured a very difficult year with heavy domestic commitments due to family illness. Though she had continued to attend to much burdensome work for the League she had been unable to present a report today and he believed all present would understand this.
4. Treasurer’s Report
Annual accounts fro 1992/93 were circulated and the Treasurer reported that the League’s finances were in good order. There had been a profit of $23,800 on the year’s transactions. The book fair levy had produced income of $10,000 from around the world. Some countries were behind in remitting 1993/94 levies and the Presidents were urged to have these omissions repaired. The net cost (after allowing for advertising revenue) of the Newsletter had been a very modest $1,200. Secretarial, translation, travel and audit expenses had amounted to $7,800 in the year. The Bibliographical Prize fund was in good order. The President applauded the work and success of the Hon. Treasurer and a vote of thanks to him was recorded.
5. Contacts with China
Mr. Inoue reported on the visit of the Chinese delegation to Tokyo in November 1993. His report is summarised as follows:
Last April, the President of ILAB, Mr. Anton Gerits and ten ABAJ members were invited to China. Mr. Gerits has already reported on his visit in his letter to the National Presidents. And later in November, ten members of the Chinese Association were invited to Japan by ABAJ. They spent six days with a rather tight schedule in Japan.
In China, all antiquarian bookstores are still under government control. We have the same opinion about the present state of our Chinese colleagues as Mr. Gerits mentioned in his letter.
We expect that the relations between China and Japan will become more intimate by mutual exchange of information. And, we believe that this relationship will have significant and useful effects in ILAB extension. ABAJ will continue to support a friendly relationship with our Chinese colleagues.
The President added that he attended the Tokyo meetings and took the opportunity of reminding the Chinese delegation that all the members of the affiliated associations of ILAB traded as private enterprises and that only free enterprise economies could be accepted for League membership. However every assistance and support would be extended to the Chinese book trade it if wished to work towards independence of government control and meet the requirements for affiliation. He wished to maintain close contact with Chinese colleagues and with that in mind had invited two representatives to attend the Amsterdam 1994 Congress as observers. His invitation had been accepted. The next Newsletter would contain further material about this matter.
6. Spanish Association Inauguration
Mr. Pelegri stood as the President formally welcomed the Spanish association as members of the League. Mr. Gerits said that today he could announce the inauguration of the association in Spain following preparatory work carried out by leading Spanish booksellers who had previously belonged to the French and British associations. Spain had a rich and long tradition of printing, publishing and bookselling and it was therefore with particular pleasure that he welcomed Mr. Pelegri and his colleagues. There was applause which Mr. Pelegri acknowledged.
6a. Czech Association
The President stated that all formalities with regard to the Czech association’s application for the League affiliation were now satisfactorily completed and therefore proposed that the application be approved. There were at present some 25 members all but one of which was located in the Czech lands. The application was approved unanimously and inauguration would therefore take place in Amsterdam 1994. The Czech president would be informed accordingly.
Don Lake expressed his association’s regret at the cancellation of the Vancouver Presidents’ Meeting. He acknowledged that responsibility for the cancellation had to be shared by all involved and though in Canada there had been much disappointment and dismay the matter should now be closed. The President accepted Mr. Lake’s statement, expressed his own regret and hoped that all should learn from the experience when planning future National Presidents’ Meetings.
8. German Book Fairs
The President referred to the discussions in Cologne 1992 when there had been further criticism of the Verband’s refusal to admit foreign booksellers to its national fairs. The discussions had concluded with a request to the Verband to reconsider this policy and report back. He now invited Christine Grahamer to report. Dr. Grahamer stated the Verband had reaffirmed its policy to restrict admission to its own members. The policy was firmly founded on the League’s Rule II,7 which stated unequivocally that national associations are independent in their own affairs and a national book fair is an internal affair. It should be distinguished from congress-linked fairs. Germany had in fact organised ILAB fairs in Dusseldorf 1977 and in Cologne 1992, and all applicants had then been allocated stands, none was denied, in accordance with ILAB guidelines, which, incidentally, were not Rules. But the national fairs were different. This was especially so in Germany, where the trade organisation had a history peculiar to the country and which in the interests of its national identity must always be remembered. It would be easy in any case for the Verband to waive formal ILAB sponsorship for its national fairs and that would result in a loss of some $1,400 per annum in book fair levy. It was, after all, Dr. Grahamer pointed out, also an internal affair for an association to admit or refuse foreign booksellers as members. In fact, the Verband did, and very willingly, unlike some other associations. And one admitted a member from a foreign country was immediately free to apply for a fair. The Verband’s current membership was 20% foreign (59 out of 289 members) and it would be perfectly possible for more to join. By contrast, the Verband did not claim any right for its members to be admitted to other national associations; this was an internal affair.
Dr. Grahamer then went on to emphasize that this matter had been raised repeatedly before. In the past, Presidents Bob de Graaf, Hans Bagger and Anthony Rota had each reaffirmed the Verband’s right to its own book fair rules. Although these past judgements in German favour did not preclude all future discussion, the good spirit of the League would be jeopardised if the Verband were to be arraigned on the same charge at regular intervals. The Verband had a proud record of support for the League and its rules. At the Cologne 1992 meeting she felt German fair policiy had been raised somewhat improperly because it had not been put on the Agenda. Consequently she had had no opportunity to prepare the German response. It had been particularly unfortunate because she was then a relatively new President with no knowledge of the background. She would now like to appeal to all to regard the matter as settled and closed.
Dr. Grahamer concluded by observing that, following German reunification, the enlargement of the Verband had brought it own problems. Every consideration had to be given to colleagues from the East who needed and deserved help. It might well be that in a few years time other fairs would be established in Germany, perhaps in Berlin or Leipzig (‘the mother of all fairs’). No doubt, when that time came, the possibility of a revised policy with regard to openness to the international trade of the new fair would come under discussion within the Verband.
The President thanked Dr. Grahamer for her defence of the German position. However, he said the ‘defence’ was not strictly necessary for the Verband was not under attack. There had merely been a request to the German association to review the policy in the cause of international amity and co-operation. Germany was, after all, alone in refusing foreign exhibitors, all other nations accepted them. If all affiliated countries followed the German example many dealers would have to pay the national subscription several times over, in the various associations. This contravened the spirit of the League. He said Dr. Grahamer was right to point to Germany’s record of support for the League. Her contribution to its work had been and still is much appreciated.
The President then invited comment from the other national presidents. Don Lake remarked that the problem would not go away and criticism would continue to surface. Bernard Rosenthal reminded the meeting that there was and will always be a book trade quite apart from book fairs and controversy about fairs should not get out of proportion.
In conclusion the President again thanked Dr. Grahamer for her detailed report and expressed his belief that in fact the Committee of the Verband fully supported the spirit of the ILAB book fair guidelines. At the same time it had to respect the majority decision of the members at the German General Assembly. He asked the national presidents to show understanding for the German committee’s position and urged Dr. Grahamer to seek opportunities to keep the policy under review. All the other nations would await with interest any indication or announcement of change. Dr. Grahamer noted the request, particularly with regard to the proposed new fair in Leipzig.
9. Bibliographical Prize
Dr. Kocher Benzing had reported that 12 titles had been short-listed of the many that had been submitted. The winner would be chosen in July 1994 and would be published in the Newsletter. The prize would be awarded to the winner during the Asmterdam congress.
The President reported arrangements were in place for a new edition but to bring it about more co-operation was required from the Presidents in providing necessary data including opening hours, specialities, telephone, fax and (for EC countries) VAT numbers. It was essential that such data be provided in typewritten form or, better still, if computerised, on floppy disk Word Perfect 5.1 or 5.2. Dr. Grahamer kindly offered to other Presidents a questionnaire which the Verband now used to gather essential Directory data from members. The President fixed 1st May 1994 as the deadline for new data to be supplied to him. The President agreed to include for each European country the current rate of VAT although, of course, it was always subject to change, often at short intervals. The inclusion was at the request of Don Lake and Peter Howard who suggested that whereas EC booksellers could claim VAT when selling to foreigners this relief was often not passed on as it should be. Foreign booksellers, they said, should receive this price abatement as well as trade discount. The President pointed out that shop prices were always inclusive of VAT which should be deducted for foreign purchasers, but prices in purely export outlets, such as catalogues, were normally exclusive of VAT. The President also mentioned there were persistent rumours in Brussels that books would eventually be zero-rated throughout Europe but of course the rumours could not be depended on.
11. Dictionary of Bibliographical Terms
The President reported that Edgar Franco had completed his work on the new four language edition. The words without special bibliographical function which had previously been included had now been excised. The whole text would be in the computer by the end of February and the book should be printed and available for the Amsterdam Congress. We owed Mr. Franco our grateful thanks and there was applause.
12. Dictionary of Abbreviations
Bernard Rosenthal’s charming booklet was now available, with its ILAB imprint and ISBN n°. It was uneconomic to supply small or single copy orders. It was available to the national associations in parcels of 25 copies at US$6.00 each, retail price US$10.00 per copy, US$7.50 to members. At Dr Grahamer’s request, a larger trade discount would be given on orders of 100 copies or more.
Mr. Kilgarriff stated that all three of the new publications (i.e. Directory, Dictionary of Bibliographical Terms, Dictionary of Abbreviations) must be marketed by the affiliated associations in their respective countries because the League itself had no capacity to deal with small orders arriving from different countries all over the world. When the books were available then, each association should order as large a stock as possible to enable it to supply orders for a year or so, and each association should do its utmost to publicise and market the titles. No doubt many members would wish to make gifts of these books to special customers.
13. Rules, Customs & Usages, Book Fair Guidelines
Translations into French of the texts of the new edition had now been obtained after some inevitable delay. Proof reading was in hand and printing would follow shortly.
There was at present no editor of the Newsletter and the work of preparing a new issue had fallen upon the President. It had proved rather strenuous. One more issue would appear by the Amsterdam Congress. It was hoped a new ILAB Committee member might be found who could undertake editorship after that. In the meantime the President appealed to the associations to purchase collectively if necessary at least one full page of advertisement space (price HfL. 750 per page), if possible more. Advertising revenue was vital to the Newsletter’s viability.
15. New Committee Members
The President announced that Walter Alicke who had previously accepted nomination had now withdrawn on medical advice. Alain Nicolas had confirmed his availability for co-option and with the meeting’s agreement was elected until September 1994. At the Amsterdam Congress a new Committee would be elected. Nominations could come forward either from the national associations or from the Committee itself. Dr. Grahamer hoped to be proposing a candidate from the German association and this the President welcomed.
16. Amsterdam Congress
The President welcomed the Dutch Association’s programme and invited Dr. Kupyer to speak about it to the meeting. There had been to date 110 registrations for the Congress; 50 applications for full stands, 20 for half stands, for the Fair. But he expected many more before the closing date. He confirmed there was book fair space to accommodate all applicants. Peter Howard enquired whether it would be possible to have a co-operative ABAA stand at the fair. Dr. Kuyper said this matter had already been fully discussed as the Swedish Association had made a similar enquiry. The fair committee had eventually decided the request could not be met. It feared creating a precedent for what might eventually become nationality-dominated fairs. It was essential that the individual bookseller character of fairs be retained and safeguarded. The social programme included a number of alternatives – their availability would depend on take-up by the delegates. Mr. Rosenthal was assured that no smoking areas would be provided at all meals and receptions and that musical accompaniment would be carefully limited both as to volume and quantity. Mr. Howard was assured that holders of ABAA scholarships could be admitted for the Congress at a deferred date. It was agreed every effort should be made to maintain the number of sponsored young booksellers. This programme had been very successful in Cologne. Dr. Kuyper would write to National Presidents to advise them of the number of scholarships available. It might be possible to secure a member of the Dutch Royal Family to open the fair but only if congresses and fairs in other countries had been opened by royal personages. Margaret Eaton announced that the London June 1994 fair would be opened by H.R.H. Princess Margaret.
17. Any Other Business
Don Lake appealed for League support to a Canadian bookseller who faced prosecution under an allegedly near-moribund act that prohibited export of relatively modern books of modest value unless formally licensed. Mr. Lake said the value levels were ‘ridiculously low’, that the book was only 54 years old and was of American, not Canadian origin. After discussion the President agreed to write a letter in support of the Canadian association provided they initiated the protest themselves and set out their own opposition to the prosecution in a letter to the Canadian authorities. There was some further general discussion of the regulations regarding import and export of cultural properties in various countries and the desirability of publishing in the Newsletter or circulating in brief form the details applicable in each. The relative Canadian legislation had been in force since 1967. There had been no earlier objections lodged to it and no previous prosecutions under it.
Peter Arnold gave advance notice of the Australian and New Zealand association’s invitation to the National Presidents for a meeting in 1997 which would be staged in Sydney, September-October. The programme would be appropriate for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the League. Mr. Arnold also circulated his association’s new members list.
The meeting then adjourned, Mr. Bob de Graaf having thanked the President for transacting its business in efficient and congenial manner.
SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE ILAB
at the welcome dinner party for the delegation of the Chinese Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association during its visit to Japan held on November 24, 1993
Mr. President of the ABAJ,
Dear Antiquarian Booksellers from China,
It is a very great pleasure for me to represent here, as president of the ILAB the international community of antiquarian booksellers from 20 countries.
The ILAB owes warmest thanks to the ABAJ and its committee, and especially also to Mr. Mitsuo Nitta, for their close cooperation with the ILAB Committee and the ILAB ambition to make the world of antiquarian booksellers a world of friends.
The visit of the ABAJ delegation together with the president of the ILAB to Beijing and Shanghai earlier this year was of great importance as an official start of our contacts. We all have appreciated the friendship and open mind with which we were received in China. It is with great pleasure indeed that we welcome the delegation from China here as guests of the ABAJ, affiliated with the ILAB.
As I have explained during our visit in China, the ILAB unites 19 associations of private antiquarian bookselling companies from 20 different countries.
During the last few weeks I have made a long journey through various Asiatic countries and in several newspapers during my trip I have seen articles explaining that the Chinese Republic is planning to transform the state-owned bookshops into private companies. Also the President of the Chinese Republic, Mr. Jiang Zemin has confirmed during these days the approach of China to the open world market.
During our discussions in Beijing and Shanghai we have understood that these plans were already in a state of preparation and certainly will be implemented soon.
May your visit here, dear Chinese colleagues, mark the further development of the free market for books and a further step towards an Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of independent companies in China. I can assure you that such an association may count on a very warm welcome in the international community of the ILAB. I hereby invite you to send one or two observers from your Association to our next congress in Amsterdam in September 1994.
In spite of modern technology, computers, CD-rom, microfiche and whatever, BOOKS will always remain a major medium for the transmission of ideas, especially in the humanities and natural sciences.
Can you imagine people studying the ‘Analects’ of Confucius, or haiku by Basho, or sonnets by Shakespeare, or the 18th-century proposal for an international Court of Justice by Castel de Saint Pierre a hundred years before such a court came into existence, from a screen? No, nobody can or will ever be able to. We do have a great future!
On behalf of all countries affiliated with the ILAB I wish you and our Japanese friends very fruitful meetings under the motto of the ILAB: Amor Librorum nos Unit.
I invite you all to a threefold toast: threefold because in my country the number three plays an important role in good luck. We say: all good things come in threes, and, when we meet with good friends we kiss each other three times.
So a threefold toast:
To the ABAJ our highly respected hosts
to our Chinese guests
and to the ILAB that it may unite us all in friendship.