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Submitted by admin on 23 Dec. 2009
English
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"The hotly anticipated Books in Hard Times conference held at the Grolier Club on September 22, 2009 drew 150 collectors, booksellers, and librarians. The usual suspects were in attendance along with a few new and young faces. One might have expected the mood to be dark and somber, but even before the opening remarks, the tenor of conversation in the audience was optimistic."

Snippets from the article by Susan Benne


”The hotly anticipated Books in Hard Times conference held at the Grolier Club on September 22, 2009 drew 150 collectors, booksellers, and librarians. The usual suspects were in attendance along with a few new and young faces. One might have expected the mood to be dark and somber, but even before the opening remarks, the tenor of conversation in the audience was optimistic.”

“Terry Belanger called it the best one-day conference he ever attended.”

”The day was divided into three panels: The Antiquarian Book Trade, Libraries, and Collectors, moderated by David Redden, Mark Dimunation, and William Helfand respectively. Grolier Club Director Eric Holzenberg opened the event with an overview of the club’s 125 year history and reaffirmed that we all have a “role to play in challenging attempts to marginalize the artistic and historical value of the book as object.” With that, collector and FABS President Robert H. Jackson began the keynote. He acknowledged the troublesome effect digital media has had on printed matter, but ultimately concluded, “The book is the repository of time - and cannot be digitized.”

”ABAA Members Tom Congalton, William Reese, and Priscilla Juvelis represented the trade’s portion of the program. All are well-established and respected specialist dealers who have weathered the ebb and flow of the economy, changing tastes in collecting, and evolution of bookselling via the Internet. While they all admit to having to work harder - and certainly they have trenchant business models - each indicated that their businesses had not been adversely affected by the slowing economy. The overall sentiment reflected by Mr. Jackson in his keynote was that although the sale of common rare books might have waned a bit, truly good material moves quickly and not for any less.“

Books in Hard Times
– As part of its mission to promote the art and history of the book, the Grolier Club regularly hosts lectures and events. The papers of the last conference “Books in Hard Times” are now available online:

Eric Holzenberg, Hard Times at the Grolier Club

Robert H. Jackson, Welcome to Hard Times – This Time

William S. Reese, The Rare Book Market Today

Tom Congalton, Bookselling in Hard Times: “Will work for rare books”

Priscilla Juvelis, Neither Here nor There, or, What About Book Arts?

Breon Mitchell, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”

Katherine Reagan, Books in the Age of Anxiety

Nadina Gardner, A Pavane for These Distracted Times

Mark Samuels Lasner, A Collector’s View

David Alan Richards, Economics, Book Collecting, and Kipling

William T. Buice III, A Trust and Estate Lawyer’s View

Susan Benne’s article is published in the ABAA Newsletter 3 (2009)

Tom Congalton’s contribution to the conference is presented, with our thanks, on this website.

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