ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING
Sunday 23rd September 2012
Vice President Tom Congalton, in the Chair, opens the meeting at 10:05 am.
1. President’s Welcome
He explains that President Arnoud Gerits could not attend the meeting as his father in law died last Friday. He regrets that A. Gerits cannot be chairing this meeting, not only for his achievements in the past two years, but also for the many services he has rendered the League over many years.
He proceeds to read A. Gerit’s greeting:
Dear Presidents, Past-Presidents & Presidents of Honour, Members of Honour, my dear committee, welcome to Lucerne for ILAB’s 40th Congress !
First of all I would like to thank our Swiss colleagues and especially President Alain Moirandat of VEBUKU for organizing this Congress and Book Fair. VEBUKU not only gave ILAB its first President, William S. Kundig, but hosted Congresses already in 1952 and in 1962 and a Congress and a ILAB Book Fair in 1978. This is a very honourable track record to which now can be added today’s Congress and Book Fair. In these troubled times it is quite an effort and risk to organise an ILAB Congress and Fair and our Swiss friends are to be thanked greatly for all they have done and all they offer us in the coming days !
Let me remind you that the official languages of the League are English and French. You can participate in either of these languages. If you wish to speak in any other language you must have an interpreter who can immediately translate your comments into either French or English.
Please turn off your cell phones unless you have an emergency situation. If so, please set you phone to silent mode.
Countries with more than 150 members have two votes; voting is done by show of hands unless a secret ballot is requested. Elections, however, will be held by secret ballot. Those of the Presidents carrying proxies or who have two votes, please put up two hands (or more !!) when voting takes place.
A motion must be presented and seconded before the discussion can begin. If a motion is not seconded the motion fails. A motion not on the agenda can be voted upon only if all the Presidents agree to do so without any abstentions.
Now, I would first of all like to welcome especially the new Presidents in our midst:
- John Thomson from the ABAA,
- Christian Hesse from the VDA and our hosts in 2011 when we last met in Weimar,
- Dieter Tausch, an old friend of mine and a former committee member, and now the President of the Austrian Association,
- Madame Anne Lamort, chère Anne, bienvenue ici, je suis heureux de te voir !, President of SLAM,
- and last but not least Olga Tarakanova and Alena Lavrenova, representing the Russian Association.
I would now like to ask each of you to briefly introduce yourself and your National Association. As we asked in my mail of July 3, we would also like you to, again briefly, report on what your Association has been involved in during the last year, and that will be in point 5 of the Agenda.
Then each attendant in turn introduces him/herself.
2. Presence, apologies, announcement of proxies and establishment of quorum, appointment of scrutineers
Tom Congalton, Vice President, in the Chair
Poul Poulsen, Treasurer
Paul Feain, General Secretary
Adrian Harrington, Past President
Michael Steinbach, President of Honour
N. Marsh, Executive Secretary
Barbara Van Benthem, Website Editor
ABAA, John Thomson (2 votes)
ABA, Laurence Worms (2 votes)
SLAM, Anne Lamort (2 votes)
VDA, Christian Hesse (2 votes)
NVvA, Ton Kok (1 vote)
ABAC, Liam McGahern (1 vote)
VAO, Dieter Tausch (1 vote)
ABF, Maria Girsel (1 vote)
ANZAAB, Sally Burdon (1 vote)
CLAM, Evelyne Morel de Westgaver (1 vote)
MAE, Adam Bösze (1 vote)
AILA, Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes (1 vote)
VEBUKU, Alain Moirandat (1 vote)
ALAI, Fabrizio Govi (1 vote)
Olga Tarakanova (president of GAK)
Alena Lavrenova (assistant to Ms Tarakanova)
Have been received from:
- Mr. Arnoud Gerits (ILAB President)
- Mr. Atsushi Kataoka (ABAJ President)
- Ms Ana Maria Bocayuva de Miranda Jordao (ABLA President)
- Mr. Alain Nicolas (ILAB President of Honour)
- Ms Kay Craddock (ILAB President of Honour)
- Mr. Mitsuo Nitta (ILAB Member of Honour)
- Mr. Keith Fletcher (ILAB Member of Honour)
- Mr. Bob Fleck (ILAB President of Honour)
- Mr. Sigbjörn Ryö (SVAF President)
- ABAJ has given its proxy to Mr. Alain Moirandat (1 vote)
- ABLA has given its proxy to Ms Anne Lamort (1 vote)
- SVAF has given its proxy to Ms Maria Girsel (1 vote)
Total number of votes is 21. A quorum is reached. A motion needs 11 votes to pass.
Adrian Harrington and Michael Steinbach are appointed scrutineers.
3. In Memoriam
Tom Congalton asks the Executive Secretary to read the following list of people who passed away since the Weimar meeting:
Robert C. Emerson
Robert Lee Hodges
Dr. Werner Greve
Before asking the assembly to stand up for a minute of silence, Tom Congalton says that he would like to add Irene Gerit’s father in the list. A minute of silence is then observed in memory of the above listed.
4. Approval of Weimar Minutes, September 2011
Sally Burdon, seconded by Ton Kok moves to approve the minutes of the Weimar 2011 minutes. The approval is unanimous.
5. Reports by National Associations
Tom Congalton asks each president in turn to give a brief report of the activities of his/her association in the past year:
- Fabrizio Govi reports for ALAI: “In the last years ALAI has done a lot of work to promote its brand and, above all, the antiquarian book through various channels (book fairs, newspaper interviews, etc). Very recently we have focused our energies mainly on a new website and, following the example of the French Association, we have decided to use the same technology used in the ILAB website. We have now a new well-working website, which can easily share contents with the ILAB “mother” site and host the booksellers’ and books’ meta-searches. I think many other associations should follow this example, which has the great advantage to allow a continuous exchange of information between a national association and ILAB. On our website it is now also emphasized that ALAI is patronized by Umberto Eco, who has kindly accepted to associate his name and image to our association.
At the same time, a colleague of us, Roberto Sbiroli, is promoting ALAI in all the main social networks, trying to attract people to our site and possibly to create future collectors. Thanks to his activity, in only 4 months we had an average of 120 visitors every day on our site (with peaks of 500) for a total of about 10.000 different visitors, and we have more than 3000 affiliates on our Facebook page. I think this is an amazing result, which testifies that people, if well informed, are very interested in the antiquarian book. I don’t know of a more effective and less expensive way to promote the antiquarian book and to attract people into our world and market.
A few more words about book fairs. Even though ILAB patronized book fairs bring important income to the ILAB, last year we have decided to stop supporting the Milano book fair and so we will do in the future. While we are trying with great effort to keep alive the Bologna book fair, which allows us to maintain good relationships with Italian institutions and libraries, we have decided to stand on the sidelines for a while, waiting for the future destiny of the Milano book fair. Milano is the best place in Italy to organize a fair, but since our market is getting more and more limited there is no room for two fairs per year in that town. On the other hand, to organize an ALAI fair in opposition to the Dell’Utri’s one, as Umberto Pregliasco had successfully done in 2009, will have a negative impact on our association by splitting it, as happened in 2009. We’ll see what the future will bring.
As for security, all of you know that there has recently been a massive theft of books in Naples, made by a former bookseller, Marino Massimo De Caro, who had become Chief of the historical Gerolamini’s Library and consultant of the Minister of Culture. Furthermore it has turned out that this guy was not only a thief, but also a forger, who has produced an amazing number of fake Galileo’s editions, including a Sidereus Nuncius first edition that has astonishingly been certified by some scholars as Galileo’s proof copy. De Caro has worldwide created considerable damage to the antiquarian book trade, to many Italian and American libraries and to the academic world in general. After his arrest, we have promptly informed all our associates and we’ve been closely in touch with the Carabinieri of the Historical Heritage Unit and, in particular, with Col. Raffaele Mancino, who was in charge of the inquiry until about a week ago. We will let you know about the new person entrusted with this task as soon as possible. Many of our colleagues have been visited by the Carabinieri and asked about the provenance of certain books. As far as we know, most of them have clarified or will clarify their positions and are to be considered rather as victims than accomplices of this crime. In any case, if it will happen that one of our associates will be charged with some crime, we will not hesitate to suspend him as required by our by-laws. There is nothing more we can do at the moment.
About two months ago I visited Siena in order to find an accommodation for our meeting. I have already booked a certain number of rooms at the NH Hotel Excelsior, which is at the edge of the city center in a very good position, because the buses stop right behind the corner and one can reach Piazza del Campo in 5 min. walking. The double room costs 154 euro breakfast included, the single room € 139,00, to which you have to add a sojourn tax of € 2. I think the prices are reasonable and the hotel is comfortable, even though it is not a hotel de charme. All the other accommodations I saw were either not good enough or too expensive. The Continental hotel is marvelous, but they want 390 euro for a double room!
We are also planning to organize a bus service from the airport and/or from the railway station of Florence: one bus should be scheduled on Wednesday upon the arrival of the committee and at least two on Thursday (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) to collect as many people as possible. Siena is not very easy to reach, therefore a bus service is necessary. Of course we will let everybody know at what time the buses are scheduled in order to allow them to plan at best their trips.
The committee welcome dinner and meeting can be done in the hotel, which has a conference room and, I've been told, an excellent cuisine. For the Thursday dinner and for the assembly meeting of Saturday we have two wonderful conference halls available offered for free by the local library and a local literary academy.
Friday will be devoted to visit Siena. In the evening there would be the chance to pay a visit to a nearby famous winery Castello di Fonterutoli with wine tasting and dinner.
The final dinner after the assembly will take place in Pienza, the humanistic town built by Pope Enea Silvio Piccolomini, were we’ll have the possibility to dine in the palace garden. Pienza is about one hour from Siena. I believe that if we leave at 4/4.30 p.m., we’ll have the time, after the assembly, to take the bus to Pienza, have a short visit of the town (which is small) and then the dinner afterwards.”
- Evelyne Morel de Westgaver reports for CLAM which now counts 35 members; the number had been declining recently but this year they were able to welcome two new young dynamic dealers. She is hoping they will be able to shed a younger look on the trade and give CLAM new ideas. The Board has decided to welcome ILAB to a Presidents’ Meeting in the future, but this will be difficult to organize for a small association like CLAM. The Belgian Association also decided to create a new website, as the current webmaster Rockingstone is too expensive.
- Anne Lamort reports for SLAM that they are continuing the activities they have been carrying for many years, the biggest being the organisation of the Paris Book Fair at the Grand Palais with its numerous events, conferences and exhibitions. The SLAM conferences that have been ongoing for a number of years were held in other cities outside Paris for the first time this year. Anne Lamort announced that the next ILAB Congress will be held in Paris in spring 2014, and it will not be two full years between this congress and the Paris one.
- Laurence Worms reports for the ABA that it has been a busy year as always, the major Olympia fair in May was the largest and most successful ever, both in the number of visitors and sales. The ABA is implementing a different policy of trying to reconnect with its members, there is a greater geographic spread on council, and is trying to spread education with through strong links with the London Rare Books School which is going from strength to strength; there are monthly seminars at London University on book collecting, a rare book school may perhaps start in York; the ABA is working hard on its website, there are 500 page loads a day and more visitors than 2 years ago, and reaches out to social media; he has himself a personal blog which he updates weekly, and the ABA is also active on Twitter. The ABA has had some success in trying to convince the British Library to alter their policy of purchases, and they are beginning to treat ABA dealers as the good guys. The ABA is also promoting younger members and encouraging them to sit on their committees. Also this year, it welcomed its first ever intern student, and he thanks Norbert Donhofer and the Russian association for that.
- John Thomson reports that the regional fairs in the USA have been declining recently, but the ABAA fairs have maintained their strength. The membership remains strong, the ABAA is working hard at increasing the number of its members.
- Adam Bosze reports that his association, MAE, is small with only 13 members, but they are working hard to change the import and export regulations in Hungary. The greatest achievement of MAE has been the organising last Spring of the ILAB committee meeting. In Bologna, when MAE had been accepted as an ILAB member, he had promised to play an active role in ILAB life, and MAE will do so by planning to invite the 2016 ILAB Congress to take place in Hungary.
- Dieter Tausch reports that the VAO is a very small and quiet association and that if he writes an email to his members he never gets an answer from the 32 other members. However, this October they are re-launching their website using the Neteor technology for the CMS and the ILAB metasearch, like the SLAM and the ALAI have done. He has written a text to promote the new website which should be ready mid November.
- Christian Hesse reports that the VDA counts 200 members, there are some new and younger members, the situation is good, and that is a changing trend from the last years. The VDA organized a Presidents’ Meeting in Weimar in 2011, the Stuttgart book fair in January, where a special exhibition was also organized. Their new directory will be ready in December, and it includes texts about books. In 2006, the VDA had launched a website “book auctions on line”, it now contains one and a half million entries of past auction results, he encourages all dealers to look at it, it is a very useful tool. The Stuttgart book fair website was re-launched last January. There are talks now with German libraries for a closer collaboration concerning stolen books.
- Sally Burdon reports that ANZAAB has built a new website, and is issuing a quarterly newsletter to the general public. They have written down the roles of the board to make handing over a post easier. ANZAAB counts about 60 members. One of the highlights of the past year was a conference organized in a small village in county Victoria with no book fair attached. It worked very well, as education is a major part of ANZAAB’s role; they managed to get people together in a non stressful environment. There were a number of talks and discussions, and a talk given through Skype by a librarian in Indiana, USA: It worked splendidly and a lot of questions were asked and answered by him. This experiment has opened a door that allows ANZAAB to have anyone on the planet speaking at their conferences. Another highlight was the Melbourne book fair. ILAB President of Honour Kay Craddock and her committee organized this Fair. There was a big discussion within their membership to try and reinvent the concept, and thanks to Kay and her committee, a rare book week was put together, where lots of free exhibitions or conferences were organized, they attracted loads of publicity and got local authorities and VIP’s to involve themselves in the event.
- Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes reports that AILA counts 46 booksellers. Two years ago, the website of the association was created. AILA is working together with the police about book thefts to be loaded on the website. AILA organizes a book fair, it has been held once every two years since 1992, but last year, they decided that it would become annual, alternating between Madrid and Barcelona. Unfortunately, the fair was cancelled this year as some booksellers did not pay the second instalment or decided to cancel their participation, and the finances did not permit AILA to organize it in such circumstances. They are thinking as to whether to continue. There is a yearly book fair in Madrid that is held the last week end of November; it is true that it is not an ILAB book fair but 99% of the participants are ILAB affiliates. He believes that though it is his second term, he will become like Ton Kok a long term president, as most of his committee does not want to step in. There are over 250 booksellers in Spain and he tries to promote and encourage these booksellers to become members of AILA. It is understood by young booksellers that this membership is an indication of professionalism, and they are further aware that membership in AILA and ILAB is in their interests for promoting their own businesses on the internet. This is part of his efforts to convince them to join.
- Maria Girsel reports for the Danish association, there were two major things they had been working on last year, the first was the book fair in Copenhagen in 2011, which was a great success with 47 exhibitors from 10 countries. And the second thing was the establishment of a new website, which is a very important to them because 90% of the Scandinavian members sell about 90% of their books through the site. It was established in 1998, but their webmaster told them about 4 years ago that he wanted to quit. It is still a work in progress of a very difficult and complex nature.
- Ton Kok reports for the NVvA: “I will not say something about the history of the NVvA because everybody knows it. Our number of members stays the same, however the number of members selling books goes down but print-selling members become new members. We still organize the Amsterdam Book fair, but I am not sure we can continue. We were lucky we could adopt a book prize for people active in antiquarian books, named after a famous Dutch author, who was a good friend of mine. We were also "lucky" that recently a famous Dutch author died and we could give him this prize so we made publicity on TV and newspapers.”
- Liam McGahern thanks our host for the warm welcome in a beautiful country. The ABAC website was re-launched and contains catalogues and events, as well as the ILAB metasearch. Every ten years ABAC organizes a referendum to find out whether to allow auction houses in their membership, with the same negative result. ABAC has been involved with national libraries that have stopped buying books for 5 years. They are still trying to appoint a patron of honour. They are also working on the Toronto book fair that is in its 3rd year. Business is pretty good in Canada and there was only one member who could not pay dues this year.
- Alain Moirandat reports that the VEBUKU is a famously inactive association, he was elected 7 years ago into his second presidency. He has worked hard to try and improve matters. In view of this year’s congress, he had lots to do revising the by-laws and creating a website with updated information. It is a weak association, it is partly due to the political organisation and structure of the country and it is therefore very difficult to organize and unify the booksellers. Otherwise, the main activity of the VEBUKU recently has been in organizing this congress.
Tom Congalton thanks them all for their contribution.
6. President’s Report
Tom Congalton asks Adrian Harrington to read Arnoud Gerit’s report:
I was greatly honoured to be elected President of ILAB in 2010 during our Congress in Bologna. Now, in 2012, I have to admit that these two years have gone by very quickly and when I started working on this report I realized that it would be already my last report to you !
As I reported in Weimar, the committee faced two problems after Bologna: the Chinese who decided to leave ILAB shortly after having been admitted was one. The doors have not been fully closed: they sent ILAB a Happy New Year’s card in January ! And of course, with Paul Feain and Mitsuo Nitta and the Hong Kong fair we still have our contacts and we will just have to see what the future will bring.
The second problem was the collapse of the Russian Association and the attempts to help the people of good will with the re-structuring and reorganisation of the Association. A full report will be presented to you later this meeting, but I am very happy to report that today Olaga Tarakanova and her excellent team, with the invaluable help of Eric Waschke and Norbert Donhofer, have achieved all that we hoped for and that at the moment a viable and promising restructured organisation is up and running. It has been a long, difficult and agonizing process but we are all almost there and once the last steps have been made our Russian colleagues and friends will be again a full and honourable member of ILAB. In the meantime, the internship program continued and two more young Russian students were gracefully received abroad, one worked in Australia with committee member Paul Feain, and another student worked in England at Sokol Books. A more elaborate report will follow today but this international cooperation is one of the more important reasons for ILAB’s existence and one of ILAB’s goals.
In Bologna the Hungarian Association was admitted to ILAB and became a member of our international family. They immediately responded by organising an ILAB Committee meeting in Budapest which took place in May of this year. The committee had an inspiring and rewarding meeting in Budapest, where many topics were discussed, some of which have found their way into today’s agenda. The other topics are still under discussion and consideration and some of these will undoubtedly make it to future agenda’s. One of these topics now on the Agenda, and about which Paul Feain will chair a workshop, is the future of our Congresses. Umberto Pregliasco, Gonzalo Pontes and Alain Moirandat and their respective committees have put tremendous efforts in organising the most recent congresses (Madrid, 2008, Bologna 2010, and today, 2012) but it is undeniable that costs remain high, attendance is slowly but steadily declining and that it is about time that ILAB starts thinking about and discussing possible alternatives.
In Weimar I reported about the usage that was still being made of ILAB’s domain name as well as misrepresentation of ILAB’s name. I am pleased to report to you that we have regained possession of the old ILAB domain name and that we managed to stop the misuse and misrepresentation of ILAB’s name by other parties active in the world of books. The name of ILAB is now again in our full grasp and ours alone !
As you know and have read in today’s agenda, our beloved Treasurer Poul Poulsen is stepping down. I will come back to this later today: for now I must report that in the past two years the committee, with the great and important assistance of Adrian Harrington and Bob Fleck, set up new accounts in London, set up an on-line bookkeeping system, which was tried, tested and approved and is now ready for the transition. This whole new set-up takes into account that it is very unlikely that we will ever again have a Treasurer like Poul, willing to devote so many years to the League, serving the League so well, so long and with so much devotion. In other words, the finances of the League can be managed from any place on the planet with the tools that modern technology provide. I would here like to thank especially Adrian and Bob for the great and invaluable help in seeing this entire, sometimes bureaucratic, process through and the great help they have been to this committee and its President. At the same time, ILAB needs to manage its finances carefully: membership of many National Associations is slowly declining almost everywhere in the world, and many fairs are not really doing very well: both of these represent major sources of income for the League and with their decline the revenues of the League will decline in the future as well. The committee will discuss this in its forthcoming meetings and will report to the Presidents in future meetings and will obviously discuss possible solutions with the Presidents and seek their input and approval.
Recently, the committee was alerted about the thefts at the Girolamini Library in Naples and had to issue warnings to the members and affiliates of ILAB with regard to certain recently made purchases and to make sure that our affiliates would look critical to certain possible future offerings that may originate from this theft. Added to that was the discovery of forged Galileo’s in the US and these also seem to be the product of Mr. Di Caro’s activities. This in turn forced ILAB to issue another statement, this time on the Ex-Libris list where less pleasant suggestions were made with regards to the attitude of “some” dealers. As a result of these statements by ILAB, we received an invitation to be present, and to present ourselves, at a conference that will take place in November in The Hague in the Netherlands and where the topics of discussion will be “security” and “theft”. ILAB has of course accepted this invitation as it does not only offer ILAB an excellent opportunity to inform the attendees at the conference about our work and initiatives, exchange ideas and learn about the problems facing international institutions and what it is they exactly do to increase security and to prevent theft, but it furthermore offers ILAB an excellent opportunity to establish contacts with the responsible officers from various international institutions and libraries and to improve our collaboration in the prevention of thefts. It is also one of the reasons why point 9 a is on the Agenda; any feedback the committee can get from you will help us to present ILAB at this conference and to better tell what ILAB does and can do and to possibly seek better collaboration and communication with institutions, museums and libraries around the world.
ILAB launched the App this year; we are making slow progress (but progress it is) with the selection of the Patrons; Brigitta Laube represented us at the most recent CINOA congress; the work with the new, and in-house produced Directory is progressing; our Web presence is excellent and continues to improve. In short, work continues.
ILAB is a continuous work in progress: nothing is ever finished, and every period brings its own challenges, problems and possible opportunities. The day-to-day business and running of the League is quite a job in itself and not a day goes by without some ILAB-related business that needs attention. It would have been impossible for me, and indeed for every President is the modern era, to do this without an excellent and hard working committee to support the President. And in this same modern era, no President and no committee would be able to get all the work done without the great and invaluable help of Neveen and Barbara and I would here like to sincerely and greatly thank Neveen and Barbara, and especially my committee, for all their hard work in the past two years. Without my committee, and without these two ladies, not even a fraction of all the work done would have been possible. I would also like again to thank the Past-Presidents Adrian, Bob and Michael: their continued interest and input is greatly valued and appreciated, especially if one realizes that the Past- Presidents, with the exception of the Immediate Past-President, bear the full cost of attending and participating in meetings themselves. They attend our meetings wherever they are held, they participate in the discussions and often, as with the opening of new accounts and testing of the on-line bookkeeping system, still play and active and most welcomed role in ILAB. ILAB would simply not be what it is today and would not be where it is today without the continued help and support of its Past-Presidents. They have set an example and I promise you that I in my turn will remain actively involved in, and willing to work for, ILAB.
Tom Congalton, over a long period of time, has shown his great commitment to the League and his concise, short but always accurate comments on various topics, his impartial but clever and clear judgements, and his capacity to quickly see and understand the essence of a problem, make him the perfect new President of ILAB. He has been a wonderful Vice-President and I owe him a lot of thanks for his unfailing commitment, support and intelligent contributions to our discussions. To continue the metaphor coined by Adrian: the Ship of ILAB is safe in the good hands of Tom. With Tom, you elect a devoted and committed President and with his election, you do both the League and yourselves a great service!
I thank you very much for the trust you have placed in me and it has been a true honour and pleasure to serve ILAB for so many years: I wish you all, Presidents, and ILAB, the very best for the future and I hope to be part of that great future for many years to come !
The Committee proposes the adoption of the President’s Report
The motion is seconded by Ton Kok and is approved unanimously.
7. Treasurer’s Report and Proposed Budget
Poul Poulsen reads, with emotion, the following report:
I do hope you all have received the 2011/2012 Statement of Profit and Loss Accounts, which I emailed you all in August this year. I decided to save the expense on postage by doing it by e-mail, after all we entered the 21st century 12 years ago. I have with me a few printed copies if you have forgotten to print yours out.
The figures in the first column are from the 2010/2011 financial year, the second column figures are from this year’s statement and in the third column you will find the figures from the budget, which was adopted during our President Meeting in Weimar 2011.
Since this will be my last financial report I am of course not very pleased that the statement covering last year shows a deficit, even though it is only a little over 1.000 €, but in the light of the ongoing financial uncertainty we have faced the last years all over the world, I can only say that I am reasonably satisfied with the result and I will also claim that the League’s financial situation still is good; but allow me to recommend to the new Committee to keep a close eye on our expenses. We CANNOT year after year SPEND more money than we get in and my recommendation will be that we must always have in the bank sufficient money for at least one year’s expenses.
But now I make some remarks about some of the figures in the financial statement I have mailed to you. If we begin by looking at our income, you can see that the Subscriptions have brought a little over 49.750 €, just a little more than estimated in the budget. The 2012 subscription is based on 27 EUR per affiliated member. Broken down by country, you will find the figures on page 9. Here I would like to remind our members that according to our rules the annual subscriptions must be paid by the League Members within 60 days of invoice. Far too many of our members seem to forget this when they received the invoice last February.
The levy from the various Book Fairs around the world has contributed an amount of 76.160 €, one of the reasons for the increase is the value of the US$ against the €. On page 10 you will find the amount for the different ILAB/LILA book fairs broken down by country. The Book Fair levy is right now 2,5% of the booth rent.
Here I would like to repeat what I in fact have said nearly every year during my now 21 years as treasurer – Dear Presidents, please remind your Book Fair committees to transfer the Book Fair levy, as soon as possible after the fair is closed and again according to our rule it “must be paid within 120 days after the Fair is closed”. Thank you for your kind cooperation in this matter.
And finally under income we have in this financial year earned interest to the amount of a little over 3.000 €.
And under the Disbursements I have the following remarks:
The expenses for ILAB.org amount to 12.200 € and that includes: The yearly maintenance of a) the website b) the Stolen Book website c) the Prize website, and d) the cost of developing the Phone Apps (iPhone and Android; the Blackberry has not yet been paid as it is not ready). Our Website editor Barbara Werner received 32.000 € for her very fine job with our website, making it very interesting for visitors with a lot of valuably information and interesting articles.
On the Administration we have in all spent nearly 23.000 €, which covers among other the rent of our meeting rooms, the fee for our accountant, our participation in Paris Book Fair, the travel costs for soliciting advertisements for the directory to Stuttgart, New York and London, the committee lunches and dinners, a new computer and software for Neveen, and other expenses.
We have spent around 12.000 € to cover the travel expenses of Committee members and others to their various meeting places.
The yearly allowance to the ILAB President, our General Secretary, the Treasurer plus the meeting allowance to the Committee members, the Immediate Past President and the Executive Secretary, covering their different meetings, amount to nearly 16.000 €
Our Executive Secretary Neven, what should we do without her, has received 32.000 €, for a lot of secretarial work, translations and many other things she does for ILAB/LILA.
The ILAB/LILA Newsletter, in this financial year, cost us nearly 4.150 €.
The subscription to CINOA amounts to 2.700 €
And finally we have spent some money on bank charges, postage, phone and other minor expenses.
THE ILAB/LILA – BRESLAUER PRIZE FOUNDATION
The ILAB/LILA – Breslauer Prize for Bibliography shows a profit and it is of nearly 7.435 €
In this financial year we only have had a very few minor expenses.
We have earned interest to the amount of 3.600 €.
But and this is very important - since it is our intention, for the time being, to keep our bonds and stocks in Denmark - dear presidents if any of you or your members want to donate money to the Bibliographical Foundation, please use the bank account mentioned on page 7.
A long standing ovation follows the end of the Report.
The Committee proposes the adoption of the Treasurer’s report.
The motion is seconded by Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes and is adopted unanimously.
b) Proposed budget
Tom Congalton proposes to wait until item 12 to discuss the budget.
c) Bank accounts in London
Tom Congalton explains that bank accounts have been opened in London at the HSBC, and there is nothing much to say beyond that.
Adrian Harrington speaks up to reinforce Poul Poulsen’s message, and as the costs of the new accounts will be higher than the ones in Copenhagen, he asks all presidents to have their association pay its dues and book fair levies by wire transfer, not by cheques, as it saves time and money.
8. Work in Progress Report
a) Compendium of Import and Export Regulations
The Executive Secretary lists the countries that have sent in their regulations and links, and shows where the documentation is available on the website.
Dieter Tausch says that he has brought with him copies of the regulations in Austria.
Anne Lamort explains that they the SLAM has not sent anything as they are waiting for the VAT rate change in January.
b) Internships (including current developments in the Russian association)
Norbert Donhofer says that shortly before Bologna it became evident that the Russian association FAB was to collapse and that former president had not only created but also left a mess, and that he had never set up guidelines and rules, and he had vanished for some time leaving enormous amounts of debts behind him. This was the time when Olga Tarakanova took over and with the permission of the presidents at the Bologna meeting, again renewed in Weimar, and with the help of Eric & Alisa Waschke and the ILAB committee she reconstructed the organisation formerly FAB, now GAK. The committee has received their constitution and code of ethics. It is worth mentioning that it was Ms Tarakanova who lead the negotiations with the Russian authorities and brought them successfully to a positive outcome. Therefore it can now be said that the Russian association GAK is from now on a full and working member of ILAB.
Olga Tarakanova then stands to give the following report:
Dear Fellow Presidents and Members of the ILAB Committee,
I am glad to inform you that the process of reorganizing the Russian Association has been completed.
Two years ago the ILAB President Arnoud Gerits asked me to reorganize FAB. During these past two years we studied the constitutions of other national associations including Great Britain, USA, Canada and so on, Also, the ILAB Constitution and Code of Ethics. We amalgamated these documents, and also the Articles of the National Union of Bibliophiles which started a new era of its activity in Russia in 2010 and in this process created our own Constitution and Code of Ethics. Then in July 2012, we registered our organization with the Russian Government under the new name: Noncommercial Association “Guild of Antiquarian Booksellers” (GAK). It was an extremely complex and hard process as Russia doesn’t have much experience in forming such professional associations and many “old-fashioned” antiquarian booksellers don’t see the necessity in it.
Today there are seven founding members of the Guild of Antiquarian Booksellers and the three biggest Russian bookstores are amongst them. These are Trade Book House “Moscow”, Trade House Biblio-Globus and “Moscow House of Books” – all of them have antiquarian book departments in their organizations, also amongst our membership are the antiquarian bookshops: “Among collectors” (its owners also publish a magazine under the same name), “House of antiquarian books in Nikitsky” (relatively new but already famous among collectors for its auctions of rare books), the on-line book shop “Biblionne” and the Moscow State University of Printing Arts of Ivan Fedorov. Our member with the largest stock is the antiquarian book department of the shop “Moscow” where more than 11 thousand books can be counted.
I, Olga Tarakanova, University professor, Doctor of History, head of the faculty of book history and antiquarian book trade, head of training for specialists in the antiquarian book business, have been elected as President of the Guild of Antiquarian Booksellers. Sergey Burmistrov, head of “House of antiquarian Books in Nikitsky”, and Ekaterina Kukhto, owner of “Biblionne” shop, have been elected as Vice-Presidents.
All the members of GAK are excited to be ILAB members in spite of our laws in Russia which limit the export of antiquarian books and other printed materials. I would be very interested to hear from other Presidents on the best ways of attracting new members as we are eager to expand our association.
Finally I would like to talk about the ILAB internship program. From the beginning of spring 2011 students and postgraduates of “Antiquarian book trade” program have had internships at leading antiquarian bookshops in Europe and the world as part of this special program offered by ILAB. Two students went to Austria, Germany, Hungary, and the Netherlands, one student – to Australia and Hong Kong, and one went to Great Britain. In October of this year one more student will have an internship in antiquarian book shops in the USA. You may find comments and reports about these internships on the ILAB web site and on Facebook. I am very thankful to the ILAB President Arnoud Gerits, ILAB Committee member Norbert Donhofer, Canadian antiquarian bookseller Eric Waschke and also the Presidents of the national associations and the booksellers where the students have had their internships. The internships have inspired the students and I think it is safe to say that they have changed their lives in a very positive way. I hope very much that this internship program will continue. We aspire to select the most talented students and postgraduates for such internships and to give them the possibility to learn new ideas, practices and methods of the antiquarian book business in Europe and the rest of the world, in order to reveal new methods which can be used in Russian practice. The internships are very useful for the Russian antiquarian book trade to develop and to slowly assimilate to the rest of the world. Postgraduates of the program have successfully defended PhD theses on the history and contemporary antiquarian book trade in countries in Europe and the rest of the world including on Great Britain, France, USA etc. Postgraduate of the program A. Lavrenova is writing her PhD thesis on the history of ILAB which, I think is the first dissertation on this theme.
I’m very happy to be here amongst all of you, thank you for your attention. I’m ready to answer any questions.
Applause breaks out at the end of her report. Tom Congalton thanks her and asks if there are any questions.
Norbert Donhofer speaks up to say one more thing about the internships: 4 students have been the recipients so far of internships, another one will go to the USA this fall, and the committee would welcome proposals from France, Italy, Germany etc. He asks the presidents to think about it and report back to him.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver asks whether there is a legal procedure surrounding the internships, as European labour law is very strict. Norbert replies that an answer will be given to her during coffee break.
A coffee break is observed at 11:30 am.
Meeting resumes at 11:55 am.
Adrian Harrington explains that there are definitions found on Wikipedia for many book related entries, some of which are correct, and others wrong. Our plan would be to coordinate a network of dealer contributors in all languages to improve the existing definitions. He stresses that ILAB dealers should be the rare book experts on Wikipedia, edit the entries and make use of the ILAB name. If enough countries are doing it, the webmasters of Wikipedia might see that it is a non-commercial effort and allow the corrections to show without censorship.
Tom Congalton adds that we have to develop some panels of people who would be willing to edit the entries. He asks the presidents to think about people in each of their countries who could get together and organize a working panel in many languages.
Laurence Worms approves of the idea as Wikipedia is often the first call for most people.
Tom Congalton explains that the new committee member who will hold this portfolio will report to the presidents.
d) ILAB Patrons of Honour
So far only 3 countries have appointed patrons, Tom Congalton encourages all associations to do so as it is a good promotional tool.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver announces that the CLAM has nominated René Fayt, who is well known of the Belgian and French Bibliphiles, he has written books on Belgian publishers, he is an original personality.
Alain Moirandat explains that the Vebuku has discussed this proposal and would want to appoint 2 patrons, one from Geneva (Jean Bona, a bibliophile and collector) and one from Zurich (Mr. Gherzi, also a bibliophile and collector), in order to have one from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the other from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. However, as Tom Congalton reminds him, it had been decided to allow countries with one vote to appoint one Patron and the countries with two votes, two Patrons.
e) Bibliophily by country
Tom Congalton tells the presidents that the project was voted in Weimar, and that the committee will look after this project in the coming year.
Tom Congalton reminds that it has been a long time since ILAB has published in house its directory, and that the Executive Secretary is in charge, that it won’t cost anything as there have been enough advertisers to pay for it.
The Executive Secretary then tells the Presidents that she has handed out a directory report before the meeting (text hereafter), and that the most important thing to remember is that the bookseller data will be downloaded from the website on 15th October, and begs the associations to make sure that by that date all the information be as accurate as possible. Word listings will be sent out to the associations for proof-reading before the end of October.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver asks how many directories will be sent out to the national associations. Neveen M. answers that, as soon as the Directory will be published, she will ask the national associations how many directories they need, and they will be sent to the national associations by freight. As ILAB has no office, there is no possibility for her to store a large number of copies. It is the responsibility of the national associations to distribute the directories to their members and at book fairs.
The advertising campaign was a relative success, and a little over 32,000 Euros worth of advertising space has been booked. It is possible, though, that not all dealers will follow through with their pledges, and in such cases, the help of the national association will be requested to contact the dealers. To date, 7 dealers (out of a total of 79) have not responded to reminder emails about sending in their artwork.
The harvest was done by email, as well as by going in person to the Suttgart, the New York, the Paris and the London book fairs. The best results were obtained in New York, where the dealers showed a very large support thanks to the invaluable help of David and Cathy Lillburne. The German dealers have showed their efficiency: 99% their artwork has been received well before the deadline!
The inside front and inside back covers have been sold, as well as 24 full pages, 32 half pages and 30 quarter pages.
As to expenses: a new large screen computer, as well as the necessary software were bought. Other expenses concern trips to Stuttgart, New York and London. Forthcoming expenses will cover the designer fees, printing and distribution.
Breakdown of page sales by country is as follows, perhaps you can encourage your members to do more!
Concerning the gathering of the relevant dealer information, this will be done from the website at mid-October. You are therefore all requested to update your member information before 15th October , as it is very important that the Directory be as accurate as possible. Proofs will be sent out for correction, not for complete re-writing. Please inform your boards and dealers that the responsibility for accurate information lies with them only. The putting together of the graphics will be done in November, and the directory will go to print in December. Distribution will be done by a transport firm, you are requested to give the Executive Secretary the quantity you would like to receive, and the address to send them to. Don’t forget that each dealer is supposed to receive one copy (advertisers only receive a copy by post), and that the rest is meant to be handed out at all the ILAB book fairs, for free.
Paul Feain reads the following report:
This year has seen a decline in the number of books reported stolen.
This may be because there is a reduction in the number of open shops and hence less opportunity for the thieves or it maybe because we have all become either complacent or discouraged re talking about stolen books.
Our President Arnoud Gerits had discussions with a major European library about the books which they had had stolen and they are preparing a list of items for confidential circulation.
There is a stolen book database operated by ILAB and members are encouraged to enter details of any item stolen .
I urge the Presidents to talk to their members about the reporting of stolen books and to talk between ourselves (confidentially when necessary) about books stolen or suspected book thieves.
It is important that we talk to Librarians in each of or member countries and tell them about our stolen book data base and also to invite them to co-operate in any way that is appropriate
November conference in The Hague
Tom Congalton adds that ILAB has been invited to this conference, and that we need to hear from the presidents if they have a specific contribution on the subject of book theft.
Adam Bosze says that he had a meeting mid August in Budapest with the head of department of the Hungarian police for art, and he met the head of the department as well as the president of the association of fine art dealers in Hungary. There are four databases of stolen art existing in Hungary: the cultural heritage database, the dealers’, ours, and the police. They are now starting to work to unify the four databases. Police have told Adam that their database does not only contain items from Hungary but also from Europe, so it has to be the same in other countries. He suggests that if other presidents have opportunities to contact their police departments, perhaps they might access their database. It could be more efficient to coordinate all information available.
Gonzalo Pontes suggests showing on our website all links to other databases of stolen art.
Anne Lamort agrees and explains that there exists a French police database, a link to it should also be uploaded on our site.
Fabrizio Govi reminds the assembly that the theft in Naples was done by a former bookseller, who had become chief of the Girolamini library and a consultant to the Minister of Culture. It turned out that he was not only a thief but a forger. He has created considerable damage not only to our business but to libraries worldwide and to the academic world. He is still in jail. Some colleagues have been visited by the Carabinieri and there is no fresh news on the subject.
Tom Congalton adds that the ALAI was way up front during these events and did a very good job of coordinating with the police. He adds that anything that the associations can share with the committee will help them to prepare for the Conference.
10. Internet & Website
Barbara van Benthem reads the following report:
The new ILAB website was launched in January 2010. Since the beginnings, the numbers of visitors of the ILAB site have more than doubled from 16.000 to a monthly average of around 38.000 visitors (34,000 in last year’s Report) and 130.000 pageviews. We are likely to reach 40.000 visitors very soon. ILAB’s social media activities also show continually rising numbers. ILAB’s Facebook group counts 580 members at the moment (411 a year ago), ILAB’s Twitter account has 920 followers (560 a year ago). Besides, the ILAB account on Google + is becoming more important with around 300 persons who have added ILAB to their circles. The same is true for the internet platform Stumbleupon. All these social media always belong to our top referring sites in the statistics. Since August 2012 the same is true for the CINOA website, where a link to ILAB is prominently placed on the homepage. ILAB’s activities, such as the 40th Congress and 24th International Antiquarian Book Fair, are mentioned on the CINOA website and in the CINOA newsletter.
These are important steps to spread the news of the trade and the ideas of the League. With this ILAB has the means to communicate quickly with a huge community of people interested in the world of books. The statistics show that it is inevitable to do more than just establishing one website. A network, a wide Internet presence, is necessary for successful public relations.
Most important is the quality of the website visits, especially the loyalty of visitors and the length and depth of their visits. There is a great number of customers who go directly to ILAB.org (and not over referring sites or over Google). More than 50 % of them are returning visitors, while some return 10 to 200 and more times, using the ILAB site as the ultimate place to go to and to be kept informed about news, fairs, catalogues and other noteworthy book-related events. Around 40 % of all website visitors click on one page only. The other 60 %, and this is more important, browse 20 and more different pages. Top pages are, besides the Metasearch and the Booksellers’ Search, the Calendar of Events and the ILAB Library with now around 800 articles, interviews and collecting tips (500 in Weimar 2011), and around 900 booksellers’ catalogues (600 in Weimar 2011).
A new feature provided by Google, which shows the top landing pages, is interesting. Many of ILAB’s daily posts belong to them, and this shows very clearly that the articles posted on the website with links to them in the social media attract the attention of customers, make them browse the website, learn more about ILAB and the offers of the ILAB dealers. We will, of course, continue with this.
All in all, what started with the launch of the ILAB site in 2010 has now established itself on a high level. The positive development which was mentioned in the IT report in Weimar 2011, has been confirmed.
ILAB is mentioned in blogs, magazines and newspapers in articles like “Treasure Hunting for Rare Books” (Frontlist), in WikiCollecting (with a list of themes on which articles and interviews can be found on ILAB.org), in Collectors’ Weekly, Booktryst, and Google News (ILAB Internship Program) or even in The New York Times. The NYT article (“At Root of Italy Library’s Plunder, a Tale of Entrenched Practices”) is a good example how it works: ILAB President Arnoud Gerits posted an open letter concerning the thefts in the Girolamini library which was quickly republished on the ILAB site, in the blogs of Books Tell You Why, the ABAA, PhiloBiblos and, among many others, in the Ebay forum. In numerous articles which were published in the newspapers, passages from Arnoud Gerit’s post were quoted: in The New Times, in The Age (Australia), in Italian and Spanish blogs or even in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
ILAB Newsletter Campaign: In March we launched a campaign to push the ILAB electronic newsletter. A special issue was sent out to all affiliates which contained the TOP Stories from the ILAB site. The newsletter was accompanied by an email in which the ILAB President appealed to all dealers to forward the newsletter to their customers and to ask them to subscribe. This campaign was a success. We now have around 2.900 subscribers, including the 1,800 ILAB affiliates. The campaign will be repeated in spring 2013.
ILAB APP: ILAB launched an APP for iPhones and iPads. The launch was announced with a press release, an E-Newsletter, on blogs and other websites. To date, the APP has been downloaded 651 times for the iPhone and the iPad. The downloads for the android version amount to 121. The Blackberry version has been made and tested by Neteor, but the Blackberry store has not yet given its approval.
ILAB Metasearch: We can safely say that the ILAB Metasearch now searches all our dealers who sell online. The Italian Association (ALAI), as well as SLAM use our Metasearch on their website which is also built with the same content management system as the ILAB site. As soon as an article, event or catalogue is published on ILAB.org, it can automatically be shown also on the ALAI and SLAM sites, and the other way round. The Austrian Association will follow and the redesign of the its website is in progress. This clearly shows that technical improvements in the Internet lead to new ways of cooperation between the national associations and ILAB by sharing content and book-related information for a better common public image.
She adds that the University of Berlin is recommending on its website the ILAB metasearch as the best one to be found.
She is thanked with a round of applause.
Sally Burdon congratulates Barbara on the work she does.
Laurence Worms echoes that and thanks her. The ABA has also started using the ILAB metasearch, a few days ago.
Proposal put forward by the Committee for the improvement of the website
Sally Burdon seconds the following proposal.
The Committee proposes an expenditure of 5,041 Euros on improving the website
Barbara van Benthem summarizes what the improvements will consist of. At a meeting with Neteor, a number of suggestions were made to improve and modernize the design and architecture of the website. Most important is to make the website more dynamic so that whenever a click is made, new articles or presentations will come up. This will make it more attractive and will improve our Google ranking and our statistics. This is why it is the right step to do, after the launch two and a half years ago.
Vote: 21, unanimous. Motion adopted.
Tom Congalton thanks Barbara and says she has done a great job and that we are the envy of other bookseller sites.
11. Next Congresses and Meetings
a) Workshop discussion on Congresses, led by Paul Feain
Tom Congalton advises that we are going to move this to the end of the meeting.
b) Future dates for meetings and congresses:
- 2013, Presidents’ Meeting – Sienna
Fabrizio Govi takes the floor and reports that he has already booked a certain number of rooms in the hotel Excelsior, at a reasonable price, the hotel is well positioned just where the bus stops, the pedestrian centre is within 5mn walking distance. For the rest of the meeting he has planned to organize a bus service from the railway station and the airport. The welcome dinner and meeting can be done at the hotel, the conference rooms are offered for free by the public library. Friday a visit of Sienna is planned, and in the evening a visit to a nearby winery with dinner. The final dinner will take place in Pieza, a small town south of Sienna, one hour drive away. If the delegates can leave Sienna at 4 or 4:30, there should be enough time to have dinner in the garden and visit the town. The meeting will take place during the last week end of September.
Tom Congalton adds that anyone who went to Bologna knows how wonderful it was, and he looks forward to the Sienna Meeting.
- 2014, Congress – Paris
Anne Lamort apologizes for two reasons: one is that the date cannot yet be fixed, because the Ministry of Culture has not yet even given them the dates for the 2013 book fair, let alone for 2014. She hopes the dates of the congress will not conflict with the New York fair or the Jewish Easter. She is thinking already on a programme, but details will be given at a later date.
- For 2015, Gonzalo Pontes suggests organising a presidents’ meeting in Seville, it is a city which is a UNESCO patrimony of mankind; it has 1 million inhabitants, all monuments and important collections (including the Ferdinand Columbus library and the Archivo de Indias – West Indies Archives - with 80 million documents) are in one neighbourhood. There are several palaces, and many possibilities to organize during 2 or 3 days a good programme of visits. The weather could be hot, but logistics is easy when you need to move people (all visits and venues are within 15 minutes walk in the same neighbourhood). He would be able to provide information about nice hotels later, prices vary from 150 to 200 Euros a room, but there are many affordable hotels. Some hotels have magnificent views. Most visits are free, those that are not are really inexpensive. He might be able to organize a special visit to the palace of the Duchess of Alba, with the help of a good friend who is a professor at Sevilla university and a close friend of the Duchess.
- For 2016 Adam Bosze explains that in May he had the opportunity of attending the committee meeting, and heard about the problems of future congresses. He then had the idea of organising a congress and at the end of July he mailed his members asking them to vote as to the possibility of organizing a congress in 2016, and all replied almost immediately except one, that they would be very happy and proud to do so. He adds that he was surprised as the economic situation is difficult, but if the idea meets with the approval of the meeting, he would be willing to host a congress.
Tom Congalton reminds the presidents that ILAB provides an allowance for the presidents meetings of 6,000 Euros every two years, and that we are always looking forward to venues for meetings and congresses, and he asks the presidents to think the matter over.
Adrian Harrington reminds everyone that we also need venues for committee meetings. Tom says that Adam hosted us this year in Budapest, where we were able to meet other booksellers. He asks whether any association would like to invite the committee this year.
Poul shows the budget printouts which have been handed out. He reads out the figures and explains that the original budget showed a deficit, and therefore the committee decided to make cuts in some expenses, which allows now to show a balanced budget, showing even a slight surplus of about 500 Euros.
Tom C. explains that we were faced with declining income and higher expenses, and that up to a week ago, we showed a deficit of 13,000 Euros, so in the Committee meeting yesterday, savings were found by eliminating the stipends for the coming year, the annual printed Newsletter, some travel expenses and some of the expenses for the directory.
The Committee proposes the adoption of the budget for the year 1st July 2012 – 30th June 2013
Anne Lamort seconds the proposal.
Vote: 21 in favour. Adopted unanimously.
13. Election of 3 Committee Members & 14. Election of New Officers
There are three posts to be filled as three Committee Members are resigning: Arnoud Gerits, Alain Marchiset and Poul Poulsen.
4 Nominations have been received:
a) The ABA nominates Angus O’Neil
b) The SLAM nominates Michel Bouvier
c) The ALAI nominates Umberto Pregliasco
d) The AILA nominates Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes
The Committee proposes that the following Officers be elected:
President: Tom Congalton
Vice President: Norbert Donhofer
Treasurer: Paul Feain
General Secretary: Ulrich Hobbeling
Ballots are handed out. After the Presidents have filled them, they are picked by the scrutineers.
The meeting adjourns for lunch at 1 pm and reconvenes at 2:10 pm
Tom Congalton asks the scrutineers to give the result of the elections:
- Gonzaolo Fernandez Pontes has received 21 votes and is elected
- Umberto Pregliasco has received 18 votes and is elected
- Michel Bouvier has received 13 votes and is elected
- Angus O’Neill has received 9 votes
Tom congratulates the new committee members.
Tom Congalton, president, elected with 21 votes
Norbert Donhofer, vice-president, elected with 21 votes
Ulrich Hobbeling, General Secretary, elected with 21 votes
Paul Feain, Treasurer, elected with 19 votes
Tom Congalton, newly elected ILAB President, thanks the assembly and makes the following speech:
Dear Presidents and Committee Members,
I am honored to accept the office as President of ILAB and humbled because it is an office held by many distinguished predecessors.
I believe the greatest challenge facing us, aside from the difficult current economy, is to engage and attract young collectors to share our passion for books. I think that we already have made a good start at doing this through the constantly changing and evolving content of our website, and through our involvement in social media overseen by the excellent Dr. Barbara van Bentham.
My job will be made infinitely easier through the help and attention of our Executive Secretary Neveen M., who carries out most of the daily tasks of the League, and provides guidance and institutional memory to the Committee.
I am very pleased to have Norbert Donhofer as my Vice President, who great efficiency and blunt directness sometimes frightens even me.
As General Secretary, Ulrich Hobbeling, will bring his good humor and common sense to the Committee. Paul Feain has the formidable task as Treasurer of filling a position held by Poul Poulsen for over twenty years. Brigitta Laube continues on the Committee, and continues to tolerate the rest of us.
I very much look forward to meeting with the new members of the Committee, Umberto Pregliasco, Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes, and Michel Bouvier.
I’d like to thank Alain Marchiset for his friendship and service on the Committee.
To thank Poul Poulsen for all of his services to the League in the past twenty-one years would probably require adding an additional day to the Meeting.
And finally, I am acutely aware of the difficulty of filling the position of Arnoud Gerits as President. Arnoud has made difficult decisions, and led us through difficult and uncertain times for the antiquarian book trade, while never losing his sense of humor and goodwill towards his fellow booksellers.
15. Other Elections
a) Election of Adrian Harrington as President of Honour & b) Other
Tom Congalton asks Adrian Harrington to leave the room, and to take out with him Poul Poulsen.
During that time, Tom Congalton explains that the “other” is the election of Poul Poulsen as a Member/Treasurer of Honour.
Gonzalo Pontes seconds both proposals.
Both proposals receive a unanimous vote.
Adrian H. and Poul P. are called back in. Tom Congalton awards Adrian H. with his president of honour badge, amidst a lot of applause.
Tom C. then tells Poul Poulsen that he would like to congratulate him on his election as member of honour, and gives him the member of honour badge amidst a long round of applause. He also gives him the ILAB Medal in recognition of services rendered to the ILAB between 1991 and 2012. Poul Poulsen thanks all and says that he has only done what he was asked to do, and that he is very honoured to have received the badge and the medal. He then hands a file aged 21 years to the new Treasurer, asking him to take good care of it.
16. Other Business
Tom Congalton asks if anyone has any concern to voice.
Laurence Worms tells the Meeting that further to last year’s workshop on overseas members, the ABA is working on a proposal relating to ABA overseas members which would regularise their position within ILAB and that he will keep the presidents informed on this.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver asks whether there are any website statistics concerning the sales of books on the ILAB website. She is told that this is impossible as the metasearch results send customers to other websites where the transaction is made, however, through the Google monthly statistics, we can find out how successful the metasearch is. She then asks whether we would not be able to organize “themes of the month” events on the website. Barbara van Benthem replies that with the present system it might be difficult, but that it’s a good idea and she will find out if anything can be done.
Sally Burdon is considering changing the membership status within ANZAAB and allowing more than one full member with voting rights per business, and would like to hear from others whether it is a good idea. The ABAA allows several people with voting rights from a same business and Sally B. agrees that it is a way of keeping membership alive. John Thomson asks whether a person who has no ownership in a business can become a member. Not for the moment, replies Sally, they are associate members. Hopefully, this will change.
Alain Marchiset has a question concerning this to the ABAA: does this mean that two members from one company have two votes? The answer is yes. Laurence Worms adds that for the ABA he is poised to change the rules to allow someone like Quaritch to have more than one vote. In Denmark, says Maria Girsel, if a firm has two members, they have two votes.
No other questions are asked, and the workshop begins with Paul Feain in the Chair.
WORKSHOP: FUTURE OF CONGRESSES
He introduces the subject: Congresses have been declining in number over the years. The first he went to in 1990 had over 500 people attending. They started together with the League and booksellers used to bring all their families with them, this is how, for instance, he met Umberto Pregliasco when he was a child of eleven. Gradually, the situation has changed to the point where it is now. Originally, there was no Internet, travel was more difficult, and congresses were a congenial way of getting people together, which would also facilitate international trade. They were successful. Nowadays, with the age of easy and cheap travel, and numerous book fairs all around the world easily accessible, some dealers see each other up to six times a year, and therefore congresses are not as important as before. Moreover, Internet has made the trade so much easier.
So the questions are: what do we do? Do we stop congresses? Do we try and revive them? Are they too expensive? Do they happen too often? Obviously, no decision will be reached today, but thought can be given to the matter.
His own suggestions are:
- they could be organized in upcoming countries, such as South America, Asia, Hong-Kong, South Africa. And if so, as there is no national association in place, ILAB should employ a congress organiser who would, under ILAB governance, organize the event.
- they could be combined with congresses of other organisations, such as CINOA, IFLA, AIB, or other Antique Dealers’ associations. The advantages of doing so are many: meeting librarians or antique dealers thus facilitating our trade, making our congresses more attractive.
He then opens up the subject for discussion.
Tom Congalton says that the last few congresses have been relatively small, but there has been some enthusiasm from the affiliates. However, they are sometimes a bit too long and too expensive.
Alain Moirandat says that it is up to the national association whether to link the congress to the fair, and it should be remembered that not many people are willing any longer to have ten days blocked away from their work. If he had linked congress and fair (i.e. forcing a book fair exhibitor to register for the congress), neither would have happened, as 80% of the exhibitors are not doing the congress. In his opinion, what was very important when establishing the program, was to give time to the participants time to talk to each other and meet new colleagues. It is of great benefit on both human and business levels.
Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes says that after Madrid, Bologna and Lucerne, it is true that less and less of our members feel involved by ILAB. Congresses as socializing venues are not interesting to many. Booksellers are getting more selfish. He believes that we need to face that congresses will have to be linked to existing and established book fairs. There are some of the ILAB associations who, because of their size, cannot organize congresses or book fairs. Some presidents hardly ever come to the ILAB meetings.
Sally Burdon feels that organizing a congress together with IFLA is an attractive idea.
John Thomson suggests we ask the affiliates what they feel. He is told that ILAB sent a questionnaire to all the affiliates a couple of years ago, that about 100 had responded, and that overall, the feeling was that dealers were not really interested in ILAB matters and events.
Fabrizio Govi agrees and says that only 4 Italian dealers had registered for the Bologna congress.
Paul Feain asks whether the presidents feel that the committee should look at alternatives, and talk to other associations.
Norbert Donhofer says that we can try to contact other associations and find out where they are holding their next congresses, and that if by chance one of the venues coincides with ours, then we can try and organize a joint event. But we should leave it to chance.
Adrian Harrington says that when you ask the people who do not attend congresses why they do not, they reply that they need money to drive their business. A joint organization might look as a good business opportunity to such people.
Tom Congalton reminds everyone that we are reviewing the matter at a time when the economy is bad, and where going to congresses looks like having an expensive holiday. Perhaps congresses are now perceived like a luxury?
Laurence Worms is particularly attracted to the idea of organizing congresses in emerging countries and opening up new markets.
Alain Moirandat asks what are these new markets? China, India, Brazil?
Paul Feain replies all of them.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver believes that if congresses are linked to a fair, an incentive would be to allow the congress delegates entrance to the fair a few hours before the official opening time.
Tom Congalton thinks it is an interesting idea. Concerning the new markets, he says that just being there for a congress would not open a new market, and therefore a fair would also need to be organized.
John Thomson asks why would the number of delegates increase if we were to have congresses in such countries
Paul Feain says that his experience in Hong Kong leads him to believe otherwise.
Alain Moirandat asks how could a congress be organized in a country without a national association?
Paul Feain replies that a congress organizer would need to be hired.
Norbert Donhofer is not convinced that attaching a congress to an existing book fair would attract more people, as these places are known.
Paul Feain replies that it would give dealers an incentive to go to these fairs. He then asks whether we have an agreement to get in touch with CINOA, AIB or IFLA.
Alain Moirandat agrees that it would be good to have better liaison with AIB.
Norbert Donhofer says that ILAB used to have a seat on the AIB board. It has turned out, however, that it is difficult to connect ILAB and AIB.
Paul then raises the question of the timing of the congresses which usually take place in September. Everyone seems to agree that it is not a very good timing: September is the month of an important Jewish holiday, the AIB congress, and as Liam McGahern says, it is also a time when, after the very slow summer months, business must pick up and cannot do so if one has to leave for a whole week or ten days.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver asks whether we have been able to establish which are the most successful congresses or fairs. It would then be possible to go only to the places with the best turnovers in turn, i.e. Paris, London, New York. Other associations could help in the organisation.
Anne Lamort replies that it is difficult enough to federate the energies of people within one association, therefore federating the energies of more than one association would be a source of conflict. As to organising congresses only between Paris, London and New York it is simply not possible to ask the respective associations to organise such events every 6 years and loose money in so doing.
Poul Poulsen reminds her that the Scandinavian Congress was a joint effort between several associations, that the congress was very successful, but the book fair was a disaster. A benefactor paid for the losses.
Alain Moirandat says that Internet is making things difficult for business. He wonders whether it would not be better to organize congresses without book fairs in the future.
Adam Bosze says that for him and his Hungarian colleagues, ILAB is an important brand name. He thinks that we should keep our traditions. He does not think it is a good idea to mix events with other organizations except by chance. We need to think of new methods but the decline of the attendance is because of the financial crisis of the world. For the time being, we need to find how to survive. After the crisis, we will have successful congresses again.
Alain Moirandat would like to remind everyone that this congress has turned out to be 25% more expensive with the decline of the Euro. The Swiss Franc has not changed in the meantime!
John Thomson says that the open shops are facing some of the same problems. The best survival rates of the open shops are in touristic areas. So a successful congress has to take place in a city where people want to go to. He is very worried about the results of the ILAB survey of a few years back. Universities are cutting down on their humanities departments, it is all nowadays about making money quickly and fast returns. Therefore, if we avoid exploring new ideas, we will be out of business, we need to explore new markets.
Paul Feain gives the Hong Kong book fair as an example; it would be feasible to organize a congress there, he would be very happy to supervise it.
Alain Moirandat mentions that it would be an idea for an association to subsidize congress fees for its members.
Ton Kok wonders whether if we went to places we have not been before, it would not attract more delegates.
John Thomson says that as the Paris congress is coming up, there should be an information plan building up to the event, as it would create energy flowing up towards it.
Alain Moirandat asks Maria Girsel why she has been the only delegate from Scandinavian countries taking part in the last congresses. She replies that most dealers in these countries are second hand booksellers and don’t feel involved by ILAB events. Alain Marchiset also says that a Swedish book fair is coinciding with this Congress.
Tom Congalton tells everyone that the Committee will discuss the matter, appoint one or more of its members to perpetuate the discussion, and report back to the Presidents through the email list.
No more questions are asked, and Paul Feain suggests concluding the workshop.
Sally Burdon and Laurence Worms propose closing the meeting. Proposal approved unanimously.
The meeting is closed at 3:20 pm.
Tom Congalton is applauded by all.