COMMITTEE MEETING: ILAB
4TH AND 5TH MARCH, 1993, HOTEL PULITZER, AMSTERDAM
Present: The President, Anton Gerits in the Chair, Poul Jan Poulsen, Treasurer; Helen R. Kahn, General Secretary; Raymond Kilgarriff; Bernard M. Rosenthal, Anthony Rota, Past President; Edgar Franco, Member of Honour; Walter Alicke (observer).
1. Apologies were received from the other Presidents of Honour, and greetings were also received from them and from Mitsuo Nitta. The President welcomed all of those present, especially Walter Alicke, who will be the Committee’s candidate for Vice-President.
2. Candidates for the Committee
Due to the resignation of Gérard Oberlé from SLAM, which forces him to withdraw from the Committee, and to the resignation of Michael Reiss from the Committee, nominations of candidates to fill these positions will be necessary. Regarding the nomination of Mr. Alicke, Mr. Gerits has been in touch with both the Swiss and German associations who approve. Mr. Gerits has also been in touch with SLAM, who will propose Alain Nicolas, but this has not yet been formalized. Mr. Gerits will also propose to the national presidents that they put forward candidates. It was, however, pointed out that, according to the statutes of the League, the final decisions regarding candidates rest with the Committee. Mr. Rota pointed out as well that the members of the Committee represent only supranational interests; individual countries are represented by their respective presidents. Mr. Gerits’ draft of his letter to the national presidents regarding proposals of candidates was unanimously approved. Mr. Gerits had also sent copies of Mr. Oberlé’s letter, explaining his decision to resign from SLAM to all members of the Committee.
3. Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Poulsen presented his report from the 6 month period of Aug. 1st, 1992 to Jan. 31st 1993, and distributed copies of his statement of receipts and disbursements. He discussed the difficulties of collecting the book fair incomes. Mr. Rosenthal mentioned that ABAA would like to pay their book fair dues twice per year, rather than after each book fair; this was accepted by Mr. Poulsen and by the Committee. Mr. Poulsen also reported that there existed now, for the Bibliographical Prize Foundation, about £20,000; also, that he was undertaking the printing of new ILAB stationery, which we will use after the Vancouver meeting.
4. Secretary’s Report
Mrs Kahn had little to report, other than the usual requests for membership lists, and other information. She also thanked Mr. Kilgarriff for his work as acting-secretary in her absence at the Cologne meetings.
5. Spanish and Czech Associations
Mr. Gerits reported that Spanish booksellers who have been in the French and British Associations have now joined the new Spanish Association, except for one. All of the paperwork and formalities have been completed, and their association will be asked to send a representative to Vancouver, where they will be accepted into the League. With respect to the Czech association, Mr. Gerits has been in correspondence with them to try to ascertain whether they intend to apply as two separate associations or as one combined association, but so far had had no reply. He will try to contact them again next month to clarify the situation.
6. Chinese invitation to the ILAB President
Mr. Gerits has had an official invitation to join a Japanese delegation to China. This has been arranged by Mr. Nitta, who feels that the League should make contact there with booksellers, librarians, etc. and to stimulate trade. Mr. Gerits’ Tokyo-Beijing-Tokyo ticket will be 140,00 Y. There will be no other costs, as his firm will be sending him to Tokyo, and the Chinese will be paying the costs within China. Mr. Gerits would then report back to the Committee in Vancouver. Mr. Rosenthal moved to authorize the League to send the President to China; this was seconded by Mr. Poulsen and unanimously approved. Mr. Gerits spoke warmly about Mr. Nitta, and about his devotion to the League.
Mr. Gerits was responsible for this latest one, n°46, which has reverted to the original bilingual format with advertisements. This was necessary since otherwise in a unilingual format the advertisements would have to be printed twice, once for the English and once for the French versions. There were approximately Hfl. 10,000 worth of advertisements, and there was therefore no cost to the League. Mr. Gerits pointed out that we culd certainly accept advertisements from non-members such as bookbinders, publishers, etc., of good reputation. He spoke also of the time involved in doing the newsletter and in assembling the advertisements. Mr. Rosenthal mentioned that the ABAA hired professional help for its newsletter and that maybe the League should do the same. Mr. Gerits will look into the cost involved. Mr. Gerits also spoke of his appreciation to those associations who took out ads in this newsletter. He also mentioned that in his opinion, one newsletter per year was enough, because in these difficult economic times one cannot expect firms to do so much advertising. Mr. Kilgarriff expressed appreciation to Mr. Gerits for his work on this newsletter. Mr. Gerits mentioned also that he is sending letters to the presidents of the national associations every six to eight weeks, to keep them up to date on pertinent information, for example, the ongoing discussions in the EC countries regarding restrictions on the export of manuscripts. In this regard, both Mr. Gerits and Mr. Rota indicated that each will be attending a meeting on March 10th with their respective government committees pertaining to this problem.
Mr. Gerits informed the Committee that UPC Direct Marketing has made an offer to do the directory which based on an estimate of 10,000 copies, would come to approximately Hfl. 10 per copy. We would, however, require the diskette to be returned from Mr. Brumme, who had it for the last edition of the directory. Mr. Alicke asked what the legal situation was, and the feeling on the part of the Committee was that the copyright was held by Mr. Brumme [this was later qualified, when Mr. Rota discovered that the League holds the copyright]. Mr. Rota suggested that we should write officially to the Verband and ask again for the diskettes by a certain date, and should let the presidents know of the problem in Vancouver, should the problem not be solved by then. The Secretary will write to the Verband on behalf of the Committee. Mr. Rosenthal suggested that perhaps we should offer Mr. Brumme some recompense. Hauswedell has also shown an interest in producing the directory, and the committee suggested that they should be asked for estimates; the next edition should be ready for the Congress in 1994. The question was raised as to whether 10,000 copies were not too many, as a large quantity of the last edition was never sold.
Mr. Franco reported that he was cutting the terms in the Dictionary from 1400 to approximately 700-800, and that it would be in French, English, German and Italian. He was of the opinion that it was not necessary to include terms that are in ordinary dictionaries, and on that point the Committee was in agreement. He has thus far completed 400 terms and is working actively on the remainder. Also, there will be plates illustrative of some of the terms at the beginning of the Dictionary. He is now waiting for a computer service to quote on a four-column format, and should have this quote very shortly. After the four-language dictionary is done, the equivalents in the other languages will then be produced. Mr. Gerits asked whether the four-language one can be produced within one year, and Mr. Franco answered in the affirmative. He will give Mr. Gerits some idea of the estimates on cost. Mr. Franco also noted that he has the file also from Mr. Soave’s work on Italian terms. Mr. Rosenthal suggested we take a moment to honour the memories of the compilers of the original Dictionary. Mr. de Graaf inquired how many copies the Committee is contemplating, and after some discussion, Messrs. Gerits and Kilgarriff suggested approximately 2000-3000. We shall have to get estimates from the publisher.
10. Abbreviations Dictionary
Mr. Rosenthal reported that the printing in Holland of the Abbreviations Dictionary (in German and Italian) would cost Hfl. 3280 for 1000 copies of 36 pages each; for 500 copies more Hfl. 820 would be added; this is exclusive of VAT. Details were circulated to the Committee members. Mr. Rosenthal suggested that ILAB could pay him 600$, to cover his costs and give him 75 copies. The Committee unanimously decided to accept Mr. Rosenthal’s very generous offer, and he will go ahead with the project. The question arose as to whom will be responsible for the storage, distribution, sales, etc. It was suggested that perhaps a publisher who was not in a VAT situation is the answer. Mr. Kilgarriff offered to look after the distribution, subject to approval from his colleague. It was agreed that a fee for handling, shipping, etc. would be proper. Mr. Kilgarriff will get back to the President with his decision; he will also check to see whether there might be the possibility of using another British distributor. In the meanwhile, Mr. Gerits will see if Hauswedell might be interested.
11. Bibliographical Prize and Sale of Prize Books
Mr. Kocher-Benzing reported that twenty-eight books have so far been received for the next Prize, seven Italian, five German, four each from the US, UK, and the Netherlands, and one each from Asia, Belgium, France, and Switzerland. With respect to copies of books submitted for past Prizes, and now for sale, Mr. Gerits reported that his firm would take the responsibility to ship out the Prize books when the books are ordered; there are only a few copies of each, so it will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The next Bibliographical Prize will be awarded at the Congress in Amsterdam in 1994. Mr. Gerits will write to Mr. Kocher-Benzing and ask to be kept abreast of the way things are going. Mr. Rosenthal reported that the ABAA feels that it should have a member on the Bibliographical Prize Jury. Mr. Gerits pointed out that there are already twelve members and that one can be added when another leaves; he also reminded the Committee that, in Cologne, the SLAM also wanted to have a member on the jury. Messrs. Rota and Kilgarriff indicated their concern that if one expands the jury, the decision-making becomes more difficult, as do the travel expenses.
12. Compendium and Guidelines
The question arose as to how we can achieve the printing of the Compendium and Guidelines in as short a time as possible. Mr. Kilgarriff indicated that he would be prepared to see it through and questioned whether we could perhaps retain the same printing style as in our customary Newsletter. He would be able to use Mr. Rota’s computer system, but in the end it was decided that Mr. Gerits would hire someone to enter on the computer both the English and the French versions of the new Compendium, Statutes and Guidelines, and will verify that both versions are correct.
13. Theft of Rare Books from Holland to Canada
Mrs Kahn passed around some information regarding the case, as reported in Canada. Mr. Kilgarriff passed around a picture of the accused; it was agreed that ILAB could not do anything about the thief, since he had already appeared in court and been sentenced. It was agreed that basically members had to keep a sharp eye on their stock, both in their shops and at book fairs, and that security chains both in and between national associations are so very important.
14. “European Officers”
Although this was discussed in Cologne, there have not been any names forthcoming from the national associations of EC countries regarding their respective representatives. Mr. Kilgarriff pointed out that basically what is required are people who can work their way through the various legal and political systems; very close understanding of these systems is a necessity, as are very good, relevant information and texts. Mr. Gerits indicated that people are needed who understand both the legal and the technical points. It would appear that there are certain aspects of the new laws that affect all the EC countries, and others that affect individual countries in different manners. Mr. Rota suggested that perhaps the governments could be shown that if reputable dealers find the laws too difficult, there is a risk that customers themselves may smuggle material out. Mr. Rosenthal inquired as to whether we could ally ourselves with others, e.g. antique dealers, to fight this? Mr. Gerits indicated that this would not necessarily be for the best, since some of the regulations are harsher for other associations, as in Germany. Mr. Rota suggested that we might be able to work with auction houses, as we are in the same boat. Mr. Kilgarriff will talk with Mr. Och at Sotheby’s in London who looks after Sotheby’s VAT concerns; also, he will write to the EC regarding the cultural property aspect (not the VAT aspect), and will co-ordinate work among the Presidents regarding same. The President mentioned that a resolution had been adopted in the EC to drop the VAT on books overall; this had not yet been agreed upon. He also mentioned that there is a hearing on March 10th concerning the new EC export regulations.
15. Presidents’ Meeting in Vancouver
The Secretary passed around copies of the information relating to the Meeting, packets of this material were mailed on February 27th and should be in the hands of the national presidents, etc., imminently. The Secretary will also ensure that the information is sent to the President of the Spanish association and to Mr. Alicke. Mr. Gerits indicated that the agenda for the meeting will have to go out in July, in order to give the presidents time to reflect on it. In relation to the Committee having some continuity, Messrs. Kilgarriff and Poulsen indicated, at this time, an intention to serve again if called upon, as did Mrs. Kahn; Mr. Rosenthal was uncertain, but will consider it, as Mr. Rota suggested that, as a liaison with the California congress, Mr. Rosenthal would be of great help.
16. Other Business
i) German Association. The association has declined to consider open admissions to its book fairs, and has asked the President not to bring it up in Vancouver. In fact, the question will have to be on the agenda at the Presidents’ Meeting, since it was so requested in Cologne. Mr. Kilgarriff suggested that it be considered as a question of mutuality. Mr. Alicke made the point that Cologne was chosen to take the pressure of Stuttgart, and should gradually open up to foreigners. The Committee will send a letter indicating its position to the Verband.
ii) ILAB archives. The President has made arrangements to give the archives to Amsterdam University as a gift; in this way there will be no expenses, and the Archives will be sealed for 50 years.
iii) Report on the ABAA by Mr. Rosenthal
a) Congress 1996. The 1996 Congress will be in Los Angeles, and the Book Fair will be in San Francisco. They will be organized by Mr. Hugh Tolford, who had done such a good job over the years for both the ABAA and the Bibliophiles. The Congress in Los Angeles will be from August 31st to Sept. 4th; there will be several options of moving up the coast to San Francisco, and the Book Fair will be in San Francisco Sept. 4th-8th. The Congress will be at a hotel in Santa Monica, and there will be trips to the Getty, UCLA, etc.; as well, there will be siminars, tours, a grant programme like that sponsored by the Verband, etc.
b) US Book Fairs. New York in April, Chicago in May, Washington DC in September, and Boston in November.
iv) VAT. Messrs. Kilgarriff and Rota indicated that the British have to arouse every one every year in order to keep their VAT zero-rated.
v) Korean Association. There has been a complaint against a Korean bookseller by an American dealer. The President suggested that the American President should write the Korean president; if there is no satisfaction, then the Committee can get involved. The American president will send a copy of his letter to Mr. Gerits, who will indicate his concern to the Korean president.
The meeting adjourned at 11:45 am, March 5th, 1993.