EXTRAORDINARY AND ORDINARY GENERAL MEETINGS
Saturday 1st October 2011
EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING
The meeting is opened by ILAB President Arnoud Gerits at 10.00 am
1. President’s Welcome
President Gerits welcomes the assembled Presidents, Presidents of Honour, ILAB Committee, as well as the observers. He reminds the delegates that the official languages of the League are French and English and that the presidents can participate in either of these two languages. Any other language used must be immediately translated either in French or English. He requests that all cellular phones be turned off, and reminds that associations with more than 150 members are entitled to 2 votes: SLAM (France), VDA (Germany), ABA (United Kingdom), and the ABAA (United States of America). Voting is done by show of hands, except if a secret ballot is asked for.
He then asks each participant, in turn, to stand and present himself or herself. President Gerits particularly welcomes first comers: Sally Burdon for ANZAAB, Evelyne Morel de Westgaver for CLAM and Laurence Worms for the ABA.
2. Presence, apologies, announcement of proxies and establishment of quorum, appointment of scrutineers
Arnoud Gerits, President
Tom Congalton, Vice President
Poul Poulsen, Treasurer
Paul Feain, General Secretary
Norbert Donhofer (also President of VAO)
Neveen Marsh, Executive Secretary
Barbara Van Benthem, Website Editor
ABAA, Sarah Baldwin (2 votes)
ABA, Laurence Worms (2 votes)
SLAM, Alain Nicolas (2 votes – also ILAB President of Honour)
VDA, Eberhard Köstler (2 votes)
NVvA, Ton Kok (1 vote)
ABAC, Liam McGahern (1 vote)
VAO, Norbert Donhofer (1 vote)
ABF, Maria Girsel (1 vote)
ANZAAB, Sally Burdon (1 vote)
CLAM, Evelyne Morel de Westgaver (1 vote)
MAE, Adam Bösze (1 vote)
ABAJ, Takao Nakao (1 vote)
AILA, Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes (1 vote)
VEBUKU, Alain Moirandat (1 vote)
ALAI, Fabrizio Govi (1 vote)
Alena Lavrenova – Observer for the Russian Association (FAB)
Christian Hesse, vice president of the VDA, observer.
Ms Erika Herzog- Japanese Translator for Mr. Nakao
NABF, Vidar Wangsmo, has given a proxy to ABF Maria Girsel (1 vote)
SVAF, Sigbjörn Ryö, has given a proxy to ABF Maria Girsel (1 vote)
ABLA, Anna Maria Bocayuva de Miranda Jordao, has given a proxy to SLAM Alain Nicolas (1 vote)
The quorum is reached. Total number of votes: 22 votes.
To be adopted, a proposal needs to receive 15 votes for the EGM, and 12 votes for the OGM.
Adrian Harrington and Michael Steinbach are nominated as scrutineers.
Apologies have been received from:
- Presidents of Honour Kay Craddock, Anton Gerits, Bob Fleck.
- Members of Honour Mitsuo Nitta, Keith Fletcher.
- Presidents of National Associations: ABAK Min-Chul Park, SVAF Sigbjörn Ryö, ABLA Ana Maria Bocayuva de Jorado
- Ms Olga Tarakanova – Observer for the Russian Association, held up in China because of a typhoon.
3. Proposal by the Committee - Rule 9 change
Rule 9 of the ILAB bylaws reads:
9. A national association seeking membership of the League is required to submit its application in writing, together with a copy of its constitutional by-laws and regulations, to the Committee. It must state, at the same time, that it is fully aware of the constitutional by-laws and rules of the League and agrees to comply with them, and that its members will comply with the by-laws and internal regulations as established by the League. Membership is granted by the Extraordinary General Meeting. However, in some cases, the Committee may grant provisional membership subject to subsequent ratification by the Extraordinary General Meeting. Structural changes to an association’s original constitution must be sent to the ILAB Committee for review.
3a) The Committee proposes that it be changed to:
9. A national association seeking membership of the League is required to prove to have been in existence for at least three continuous years before it can submit its application in writing, together with a copy of its constitutional by-laws and regulations, to the Committee. It must state, at the same time, that it is fully aware of the constitutional by-laws and rules of the League and agrees to comply with them, and that its members will comply with the by-laws and internal regulations as established by the League. Membership is granted by the Extraordinary General Meeting. However, in some cases, the Committee may grant provisional membership subject to subsequent ratification by the Extraordinary General Meeting. Structural changes to an association’s original constitution must be sent to the ILAB Committee for review.
3b) The Committee also proposes to add the following Rule, after Rule 9:
A distinction should be made between Full and Provisional Members.
A national association acquires the status of Provisional Member when it is first admitted to the League. This status does not enable it to vote or to participate in extraordinary general meetings, but it enables it to vote and to participate in ordinary general meetings. Booksellers who are part of a national association which has the status of provisional member cannot be elected to the committee, but otherwise, provisional affiliates have the same duties and rights as full affiliates.
Accession to the status of Full member is subject to a vote by the Extraordinary General Assembly upon the proposal of the committee.
Upon the date of the change of status all of the members of the association become full affiliates
Both member categories are subject to the same contributions and other charges voted by the general meeting.
President Gerits gives a short explanation as to why the Committee is proposing these changes: in Vienna, both the Chinese and Russian associations were accepted, the Chinese association resigned after ILAB refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Taiwan. As for the Russian Association, it turned out that the two officers who represented the association were not men of their word. A lesson has been learnt and ILAB now needs, before definitely accepting an association, to ask that organization to prove that it is a truly working association, and this can be done so by granting provisional membership.
He asks if anyone has a question, or if someone wishes to second the proposal. Sarah Baldwin seconds it. No questions are asked and the vote is proceeded with:
In favour: 22 - Carried unanimously.
4. Proposal by the Committee - Rule 23 change
Rule 23 now reads: “The Committee consists of eight members: President, Vice-President, General Secretary, Treasurer and four other members, each from a different country.”
The Committee proposes to add the following sentence at the end: “except for the Treasurer whose country of origin is not to be taken into consideration”.
President Gerits gives a little background information: in the current situation, ILAB has a Treasurer who has been serving for decades. As long as ILAB has a Treasurer willing to do the accounts for years and years, it will be an obstacle for someone else from the same country becoming a Committee member. And vice versa: a perfectly suitable candidate for the post might be turned down because another national is already a committee member. Meaning that there are potentially good members who are being blocked from getting elected on the committee.
Maria Grisel seconds the proposal.
The President asks if anyone has a question to ask, and as no-one has raised his hand, the assembly proceeds to vote on the proposal.
In favour: 22 - carried unanimously.
The President closes the Extraordinary General Meeting at 10:20 and announces that before moving on to the Ordinary General Meeting, he would like to include a small intermezzo, regarding the situation of the Russian Association: the two gentlemen who presented FAB in Vienna were unable to do what was expected of them. The former president of the Canadian Association, Mr. Eric Waschke, and Norbert Donhofer have spent considerable time – and probably money – on assisting to re-structure the Russian association, and the instrumental figure in Russia who helped them, Ms Olga Tarakanova – head of the Department of Rare Books and Printing at the University of Moscow was supposed to be present at that meeting, but was unfortunately held up in China as no plane could leave the country because of a typhoon. She was going to present the Assembly with a brief report, and have Ms Alena Lavrenova act as an interpreter. However, Norbert has agreed to read Ms Tarakanova’s report on her behalf:
Dear ILAB Committee and Presidents,
First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m not an antiquarian bookseller; I’m a professor of the Antiquarian Book Trade Program in the Book Trade Department of the Moscow State University of Printing Arts. Our university is the only educational, scientific and methodological centre of the antiquarian book trade in Russia and I lead the scientific work in this area. We run a special program on the antiquarian book trade in which 10-12 students graduate annually; also theses on the history of the antiquarian book trade and scientific researches of the modern state of the trade are being done within our program.
At the Weimar Presidents' meeting I’m acting as an observer from Russia. Unfortunately, Alexey Lukashin and Sergey Vengerov weren't able to fulfil the duties which ILAB entrusted them with. That’s why the past-president of the ABAC (Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Canada) Eric Waschke and the president of VAO (Verband der Antiquare Österreichs, or Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Austria) Norbert Donhofer asked me to take the initiative in the process of reforming FAB (Forum Antikvarov-Bukinistov, Forum of the Antiquarian Booksellers of Russia).
You probably all know from your own experience that it is a complicated process to form a credible functioning national association, and that it is difficult to unite people with different opinions and characters and make them work together under some general rules. This is even more applicable to antiquarian booksellers who are individualists in their nature. However, we have started this process in Russia by holding two round tables of the Russian antiquarian booksellers to continue the process of forming a professional association.
Twelve booksellers from Moscow are part of these round tables, among them independent booksellers as well as employees (heads of antiquarian book departments of major Moscow bookstores and auction houses): owners of one of the best antiquarian bookshops of Moscow “Russkii Bibliphil”, specialized book auction “M. Chapkina”, young enterprises selling antiquarian books on-line, heads of the antiquarian book departments of the biggest Moscow bookstores “Biblio-Globus”, “Moskva”, “Moscow House of Books” and others.
During the first round table I told the booksellers in detail about the main goals and activities of ILAB. Before the second round table we sent all participants the translation of the ILAB Code of Ethics. During the second round table all the participants expressed their positive attitude to the creation of the national association and also in general agreed to the ILAB Code of Ethics. In the end of October – beginning of November, 2011 we are planning to hold another round table to thoroughly discuss all the organisational issues of the process of forming the association and creating its Constitution. We think that in the current situation the task – of creating a credible functioning national association – is the most important. Once the Constitution has been created, an election for the board of directors of the Russian association can take place. So I am hopeful that we are moving in the right direction.
In connection with this I’d like to thank Eric Waschke, Norbert Donhofer and ILAB President Arnoud Gerits for their great help in the process of forming a Russian association of antiquarian booksellers and also for organising the internships within ILAB for the students from our “antiquarian book trade" program. For now two of our girls have had successful and interesting internships with antique booksellers in Austria, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands. Another student will have his internship in Australia and Hong Kong in October-November, 2011. I hope that this cooperation will continue because these young people are our future. We set our hopes on them to develop cultural connections between countries and peoples.
In conclusion, I want to say that we are open for cooperation. We are very interested in the European and American experience in antiquarian book trade. Our students have prepared and successfully defended very interesting PhD dissertations on the history and modern state of the antiquarian book trade in Great Britain, France and USA. Also, with the purpose of a closer research of ILAB we have started a special PhD dissertation paper dedicated to studying ILAB.
We are very thankful to everyone who helps us in our work. I hope that this cooperation will continue.
Norbert Donhofer concludes by saying that within the next year, the problem of FAB should have been solved and we will then have a strong Russian Association with whom ILAB can work.
President Gerits adds by reminding the Assembly about the internship project with Russian students from the University, and about the two interns who went to Austria, Budapest and Amsterdam in Spring; the reports of these students have been uploaded to the ILAB website with an introduction by Norbert Donhofer. Alena Lavrenova who is present at the meeting today was one of these two interns.
As no questions are asked, the President declares the intermezzo over and moves on to the Ordinary General Meeting at 10:30.
ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING
1. Establishment of quorum, appointment of scrutineers
The quorum has been indicated above, and the scrutineers have remained the same. 12 votes are needed to carry a motion.
2. In Memoriam
The following list is read by the Secretary, the assembled stand up and a minute of silence is observed.
ABA (United Kingdom)
Roger Baynton-Williams: a member from 1970 to 1987
Raymond Burton: an Honorary Member since 2003
Norman Comben: a book collector for many years
R F G (Ronald) Hollett: a member since 1973
Chris Johnson: a well-known bookseller although never an ABA member
Brian Mills: a PBFA member for many years but not an ABA member
T F S (Tim) Scott: a member from 1986 to 1998
Michael Silverman: a member since 1998
James C Sullivan: a member from 1962 to 1985
Nigel Williams: a member from 1995
Bernard L. Gordon
Robert C Emerson
Reginald Lombard Jr.
Marty Ahvenus, of the Village Bookstore, passed away August 23, in hospital, at 83 years of age. Friend and mentor to many booksellers Marty was one of the charter members of ABAC and a member Emeritus.
Jean Phelps owner of galeria del Grabado in Sevilla passed away early this year
ANZAAB (Australia & New Zealand)
Graham Sanderson of Old Church Bookshop in Sydney
Bob Gould of Gould's Book Arcade in Sydney. Although he wasn't a member of ANZAAB he was a great character and ran a huge secondhand bookshop in Sydney which was really very well known in the booktrade and beyond.
Jaak Garcia, died 29th August.
Albert Van Look
Bob de Graaf, past ILAB President and ILAB President of honour.
Pierre Clerc, Montpellier, died 13 January.
Jimmy Drulhon, died in March, he had been a long term collaborator of the Librairie Brieux in Paris.
Herbert Borufka, owner of Hasbach Book Store, aged 84
Arno Winterberg (3.11.2010)
Dr. Lotte Roth-Wölfle (28.04.2011) – honorary-member of the VDA
Heinz Hubertus Kampf
3. Approval of Bologna Minutes, September 2010
Maria Girsel, seconded by Eberhard Köstler moves to approve the minutes of the Meetings held in Bologna in September 2010.
No questions are asked and the Assembly proceeds to vote.
22 in favour, carried unanimously
4. President’s Report
President Gerits reads the following report:
It has been a year since we last met during the fabulous Congress & Fair in Bologna. This is our first meeting after Bologna and as is required, I would like to present my report to you.
The committee had to face a few serious problems from the start.
The first one the committee had to deal with was with the Chinese Association. After they had been admitted into ILAB during the Vienna Presidents' Meeting, they presented us with a "Memorandum of Understanding" that basically forced upon ILAB the Chinese view on Taiwan. We had been corresponding with them over this issue and they did come with a delegation to Bologna, but in Bologna they made it clear that we either had to sign this "Memorandum" or they would not have permission to participate in the Congress. Upon our refusal to sign this "Memorandum", and after the approval of our refusal by the Presidents' in our meeting in Bologna, the Chinese delegation did not participate in the Congress. Worse, they left Bologna without settling their invoice for the Congress, leaving a debt of 9000 Euros. Not much later they resigned from ILAB. We have been in correspondence with them and from what we can gather from our communications with them we understand that this decision has been forced upon the Chinese Association by the authorities. From our correspondence with them it became also clear that there was no prospect of them ever settling their invoice from Bologna. Noema, ALAI and ILAB decided to share the damage and each paid 3000 Euros. Our thanks go to Umberto Pregliasco and Fabrizio Govi for their help and understanding.
Also admitted into the ranks of ILAB during our Vienna President's Meeting was the Russian Association (FAB) and here too, the committee had to face a problem: we had great difficulties in communicating with FAB, we had great difficulties in getting FAB to take any action, in fact and in short: we had to ask the question if there was in fact a working organisation that could be accepted as a viable member of ILAB. Both Norbert Donhofer (ILAB committee member) and Erik Waschke (past President of the Canadian Association) have invested an enormous amount of time, effort and undoubtedly financial resources in getting FAB to re-organize and re-structure the organisation and revive it in a way that befits a member of ILAB. Laws and by- laws as well as codes of conduct and ethics from various associations have been gathered and mailed to the Russian Association in an effort to help them, inform them and enable them to re-organize and re-structure their organisation, and letters of support and encouragement have been mailed to the Russian association. This process is now on its way and it appears that things have taken the right turn. Early August the Russian Association paid its dues to our ILAB Treasurer.
The problems with both these organisations have been a lesson for the committee and with an eye on possible future candidates for membership of ILAB the committee decided to propose to you a change in rule 9 of our bylaws that you just voted this morning.
On a positive note: Norbert Donhofer and Erik Waschke organized an internship for a small group of Russian students involved in the book trade, whether actively working in our trade or students at the university. Two students have already been in Europe in April and May, working at various places such as Donhofer, an auction house, at Adam Bosze's business in Budapest. One student with a particular interest in ILAB was my guest for a week in which she interviewed me, my father, the NVvA President Ton Kok, and was introduced to various other persons and businesses in the Netherlands, all of whom she interviewed and with whom she talked about the way business is conducted in and from the Netherlands. Next spring another student will go to Australia. All of the participants went back home packed with information and insights into our profession. The work done by Erik and especially Norbert to realize all of this has been tremendous and we all feel it has been very important: not just or only for these students, but also for the Russian Association and for the establishment and development of contacts with an important market that may well be of great importance for all our affiliates in the near future.
Website & stats: Barbara will later in the meeting present her report to you all. I can reveal however that our website is becoming increasingly popular. The very interesting content and interviews and articles that Barbara has been able to gather and is still gathering make our site an attractive place to visit. Add to that that our site now serves close to 1200 of our affiliates, for free !!, and it must be clear to all of us that ILAB has come a long way since the previous webmaster handed in his resignation.
There was also, concerning the internet, the misuse of the name ILAB on various sites. In all cases the name ILAB and the connected link did not refer nor re-direct to ILAB but to "Find-a-Book.com". Also the name "ilabdatabase.com" appeared still to be alive. We contacted those sites using the name ILAB and requested that they stop using it and instead start using the name "Find-a-Book.com". In addition we urged Rockingstone to see to it that all links still containing the name "ilabdatabase.com" be changed or removed. We also requested from Rockingstone that the name "ilabdatabase.com" be registered as being the property of ILAB, which was very recently done. I can also add that Rockingstone has recently terminated the use of ilabdatabase.com and will transfer all to our webmaster.
It is evident that we cannot allow sites to use the name of ILAB when its use in reality does not refer or link to our website, as it is equally clear that this misuse is damaging to ILAB (in fact we received mails from both customers and dealers who thought that they had searched the books offered by all ILAB dealers). Almost all of these sites have now changed this with the exception of Americana Exchange, in spite of our repeated requests and even threats. We would like to thank Philippe Marchiset who gave us a legal outline with regard to these matters and suggested possible courses of action.
Furthermore, Neveen has checked the websites of our affiliates who have one, to find out whether they are linking back to us, and has requested dealers who don’t to do so. Some did, but many did not even respond. We urge you to ask your dealers to link back to our website, as we link to them on the ILAB site.
We have discovered that we, ILAB, are sometimes negligent with regard to individuals who render important services to the League. One such individual was Roland Folter who served for nearly 10 years on the jury of the Bibliographical Prize only to read one day in the Newsletter that a new jury had been formed of which he no longer was a member. I have offered him my sincere apologies on behalf of the committee and the Bibliographical Prize and thanked him greatly for all the work he has done. Neveen suggested that we could have a medal with our logo on one side produced and on each occasion we need to thank someone offer that individual, with a letter of thanks, such a medal. On the reverse side we could have text engraved referring to the particular service rendered to ILAB. I personally believe that an organization such as ILAB, that is basically run by volunteers, can simply not afford to be negligent to those who help us in various ways and we should be more careful to thank and honour those who have rendered valuable services to us. Neveen is still waiting for quotes regarding the production of such a medal.
Neveen has been doing some excellent work in gathering past ILAB archives, and has begun to add to the private part of the website the minutes of the annual ILAB meetings since 1948. Some of the ideas which are going to be proposed to you today have been directly inspired by actions which were undertaken by past committees, and more particularly in the fifties. In the process, she is compiling a historical index which will be very useful to the national associations. It will certainly be ready on time for our next annual meeting in Switzerland.
A new edition of the Directory was published in January 2011. It was the last issue published by Publications UK and our contract with this firm is now terminated. Considering the fact that our dealers were not too happy with their dealings with the advertising staff of Publications UK, and that the contract they were proposing to ILAB was not very advantageous, we have decided to publish the next one in-house, as Neveen feels that - with the help of a graphic designer - she can do the job herself. We urge the national associations to give her all your support when she will start her advertising campaign. She will be telling you about her ideas later in the meeting.
The committee had an excellent committee meeting in Gimenelles (Spain) from which various good ideas were discussed. On some we are still working, others you will find on the current agenda: the Patrons' List and Bibliophily by Country. The gist of all these ideas is: to promote ILAB, our affiliates, books and book collecting, and our website.
Neveen and I had a meeting with CINOA in Brussels where we discussed various topics of mutual interest, exchanged news and views and in a more general way worked on maintaining and improving the relationship with them. Neveen also stays in touch with CINOA if we hear of possible new directives or (often silly) ideas from Brussels to find out what CINOA knows, thinks and what we can possibly, if necessary, do, either separately or jointly.
The Committee has been in touch with many of our colleagues and with national associations in the various countries that have been hit by tragedy: 2011 does not seem a particular happy year in many respects: New Zealand and Japan suffered immensely from earthquakes, Norway suffered an unspeakable tragedy recently, and various associations suffered the loss of members who left a mark on the trade or on their association or generation.
The committee members have conducted a vast amount of correspondence, not only among themselves, but with members of the public, customers, institutions, and other organizations answering questions, in a few cases solving problems, dealing with a few complaints, gathering information and the like. In this respect I should particularly mention Alain and Nevine Marsh who have done an excellent job in solving a difficult problem between a dealer and a French institution.
Although this belongs to the daily work of a committee member and although it does not need to have a detailed place in this report I can assure you that each and every member of this committee has been working hard and diligently thus making the life of its president easier, and for that I am extremely grateful. And on behalf of my entire committee I would greatly like to thank the two ladies without whom we would not have accomplished a fraction of what we have actually done: Barbara and Neveen. (Applause).
The League is in good shape and at the moment things run smoothly and without any trouble or turmoil. I am of the opinion that a period of consolidation is a good thing for ILAB: In the last 15 years ILAB has gone "on-line" and entered the virtual world under Alain Nicolas, tied up many loose ends and produced a number of valuable manuals under Kay Craddock, was pushed forward into the internet-age by the relentless work and promotion under Bob Fleck, Michael Steinbach made sure, with great personal efforts, that the Spanish Congress of 2008 became a success being well aware that ILAB could not afford another cancelled congress after Philadelphia, while Adrian Harrington saw in Rockingstone's resignation not a problem but an opportunity and handed to the current committee an excellently functioning and well visited internet presence promoting both the League as such as well as offering a large majority of our affiliates the possibility of having their books searched and found at no cost. We are now a much more professional organization than 15 years ago, we manage and handle much more money and with Barbara and Neveen the League has now much more capacity in its dealings with the real and virtual outside world. The committee is and remains alert on developments and new opportunities, but it is not seeking changes for the sake of changes.
Last but not least I would like to greatly thank my committee: their hard work and serious comments and discussions have made my first year as ILAB President a pleasant one.
Thank you all very much (applause)
The Committee proposes the adoption of the President’s Report
Seconder: Alain Moirandat. No questions or comments are made, and the Assembly proceeds to vote.
In favour: 22 - carried unanimously.
5. Treasurer’s Report
Poul Poulsen has prepared and reads the following report:
You should by now have received the 2010/2011 Statement of Profit and Loss Accounts, which I mailed to all ILAB presidents in August.
The figures in the first column are from the 2009/2010 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 the wonderful congress in Bologna 2010.
I am of course not very pleased that the statement covering last year shows a deficit of 16.600 €, but let me here remind you, that a large part of it is coming from the fall in value of our bonds and shares, see line 19, and in light of the financial uncertainty we have faced the last year all over the World, I can only say that I am reasonable satisfied with the result of this financial year, and I will also claim that the League’s financial situation still is good and sound.
I will now make some remarks to some of the figures. If we begin by looking at our income, you can see that the Subscription have brought a little over 49.800 €, a little more than estimated in the budget. The 2011 subscription is based on 27 EUR per affiliated member. Broken down by country, you will find the figures on page 7. Here I would like to remind our members that according to our rules the ‘Annual subscriptions from the League’s Members must be paid within 60 days of invoice’. Far too many of our members seem to have forgotten this.
The levy from the various Book Fairs around the world has contributed with 81.000 €, one of the reasons for the increase is the value of the US$ against the € and Danish kr. On page 8 you will find the amount for the different ILAB/LILA book fairs broken down by country.
Here I would like to repeat what I have in fact said nearly every year during my now 20 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 nearly € 8.000.
And now to the Disbursements:
The ILAB/LILA.org expenses amount to 14.300 € that include: The yearly maintenance of: the membership database, the Stolen Book Database and Website maintenance. Our Website editor Barbara Van Benthem received nearly 32.000 € for her fantastic fine job in creating our website, making it very interesting for our visitors with a lot of information and interesting articles.
We have spent a little over 12.600 € to cover the travel expenses of Committee members and others to their various meeting places.
On the Administration we have in all spent 20.200 €, which covers among others the rent of our meeting rooms, expenses for the interpreters, the fee for our accountant, the printing of the ‘Profit and Loss Accounts’, our participation in the Olympia and Paris Book Fairs, the committee lunches and dinners, postage and handling of the ILAB/LILA directory, and other minor expenses.
All ILAB/LILA affiliate members have received the ILAB/LILA Diploma, stating that the bookseller is ‘One of the worldwide affiliate dealers’ of our organization. The expense for this Diploma was 1.100 €.
The yearly allowance to the ILAB/LILA President, our General Secretary, the Treasurer plus the meeting allowance to the Committee members, the Immediate Past President and the Executive Secretary, covering the meetings in Barcelona and Bologna, amount to 16.000 €
Our Executive Secretary Neveen what should we do without her, has received 32.000 €, a modest sum for a lot of secretarial work and many other things, she also does for ILAB/LILA.
The ILAB/LILA Newsletter in this financial year cost us a little over 5,200 €.
And finally we have spent some money on bank charges, postage, and phone.
As you know we have now an EUR-bank account and a US$ bank account together with the Danish bank account we have had for many years, all three are placed in SYDBANK in Denmark, you will find all the necessary information about numbers, SWIFT- and IBAN-numbers on page 12 so in the future please send € or US$ to us. Thank you!
THE ILAB/LILA – BRESLAUER PRIZE FOUNDATION
Also the ILAB/LILA – Breslauer Prize for Bibliography shows a deficit, here it is on nearly 18.600 €
And again the bad guy is the value of our bonds and stocks.
But last year in Bologna we handed out 3 cheques to the winners of The ILAB/LILA – Breslauer Prize Foundation, in 25.000 US$. Next time will be in 2014. Other minor expenses amount to 840 €.
We have earned interest to the amount of 5.400 €.
Dear presidents if any of you or of our affiliate members want to donate money to the Foundation, please use the bank account mentioned on page 12.
The Committee proposes the adoption of the Treasurer’s report.
Seconder: Alain Moirandat.
President Gerits asks if there are any questions or comments. Sarah Baldwin asks why the administration expense is twice as budgeted and if they are expected to continue to rise or fall back to the budgeted level. Poul Poulsen replies that some of the expense concerned the preceding financial year, but that the invoices came in too late, and that another unexpected expense was due to the Bologna Congress. He assures Ms Baldwin that next year’s administration expenses won’t be as high, and the figure has been lowered in the budget for next year, as can be seen on page 10 of the financial statement (with a typo for the year, to be rectified). Ms Baldwin replies that the answer is helpful. There are no further questions. The Assembly proceeds to vote:
In favour: 22 - carried unanimously.
President Gerits thanks the Assembly for the vote, thanks everyone, and suggests at 11:07 a coffee break of 20 minutes.
The meeting resumes at 11:30.
President Gerits gives the floor to Barbara van Benthem for the IT reports.
6. Internet & Website
a) IT Report and website statistics
Barbara Van Benthem has prepared and reads the following report:
With the ILAB website, the electronic newsletter and ILAB’s social media activities the League started a campaign to give ILAB a public face as the global network for the rare book trade, to raise public interest in the trade in general, and to promote the expertise of its affiliates. These are some of the steps which have been taken since the Presidents’ Meeting in Bologna 2010.
Website statistics: We started the statistics in June 2010 with around 17,000 website visitors and 75,000 page-views a month. Since then the numbers have significantly increased to a monthly average between 32.000 and 36.000 visitors and 170.000 page-views. Most important besides the mere quantity is the quality of the website visits, especially the visitor loyalty. A great number of people tend to return to the ILAB site 10 to 200 and more times. It is obvious that the site generates “fans of ILAB” who have our site in mind as a good place to browse. The same can be said about the length and depth of visits. Around 10% of the visitors look at more than the ILAB homepage, many of them browse 20 pages and more: the Metasearch, the Booksellers’ Search, the Calendar of Events, and the ILAB Library belong to our top content, with now 500 articles, collecting tips and historical resources from the ILAB archives (220 in 2010), around 80 interviews (mostly videos) and the catalogues uploaded by ILAB dealers of which we now have around 600 (compared to 355 in 2010). Such quality figures are not very often found for comparable websites devoted to the book and the rare book trade. It means that many visitors do not click on ILAB.org and then go quickly away, they stay and look around.
This tendency becomes also obvious when looking at the amount of direct traffic and the traffic from referring sites such as those of the national associations, ILAB affiliates, blogs and platforms like Facebook, Stumbleupon, Fine Books & Magazines, Aus dem Antiquariat, Antikvariat.net, ViaLibri or WikiCollecting (to name some of the most important). The monthly average is around 30% direct traffic and 25% traffic from referring sites, the rest comes mainly from Google and other search engines. The ILAB website and with it the ILAB brand are indeed in a process of establishing as the place for booksellers worldwide with visitors from all countries, even from India, Dubai, Mexico and the Philippines. The ILAB site is known to many people who go directly to ILAB.org to see what’s new. They show interest in the variety of information and in the fact that ILAB.org is likely to get a magazine like character. Simply what we intend it to be: a leading destination for bibliophiles, a one-stop-shop for book collectors who find and buy their books from the leading expert dealers through the Metasearch. Approximately 1,165 ILAB dealers use commercial Internet databases to sell rare books, prints, maps, manuscripts and autographs. The ILAB Metasearch now searches around 1,150 and therefore nearly all of them.
ILAB’s social media activities also show rising numbers. Our Facebook group has 411 members (compared to 166 in 2010). ILAB’s Twitter account has around 560 followers (110 in 2010). Since I created an account on Stumbleupon - another Internet platform to exchange content and links - the traffic from there to ILAB.org has considerably increased (from none to 4,147 in September). In August 2011 Google News appeared in the ILAB statistics for the first time with a huge number of links to articles on the ILAB site. They all belong to our top referring sites. Relatively new are ILAB’s activities on Google +, where I created an account called “ILAB Booksellers” in early September. All these are important steps to spread the recent news of the trade and the ideas of the League. With this ILAB has the possibility 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, that a network, a wide Internet presence, is necessary for successful public relations today. Consequently, the next step will be an ILAB Rare Books Blog.
The monthly electronic ILAB Newsletter introducing highlights from the website, recent catalogues and upcoming book-related events is now sent out to 700 private customers, bloggers, magazines and newspapers including the Frankfurter Allgemeine, The Guardian, The Independent, Weltkunst, Antiques Trade Gazette, Boekendingen, The Wall Street Journal, as well as to 1784 dealers (478 in 2010). There was a very good response to the special Newsletter issue devoted to the London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia in June 2011. I will follow this example for the Copenhagen and Chelsea fairs in October/November 2011 and the Stuttgart fair in January 2012. I would like to appeal to the national associations, fair organizers and dealers to provide me with as much information as possible so that I can publish more special issues besides the regular Newsletters, for example for the book fairs in Paris, New York, California, Sydney or Barcelona. Besides, a newsletter campaign is planned for this autumn. The November Newsletter edition will feature last year’s top stories, and I would like to ask the Presidents and the affiliates to send it out to their own mailing lists together with a short press release and an appeal to subscribe to the Newsletter. If everyone of us helps to spread the ILAB News, we will be able to highly raise our public visibility.
Press and general responses show that ILAB’s network is becoming increasingly popular and that the rise of the League’s public image is appreciated by affiliates, customers and the press. A few examples: The Wall Street Journal classified ILAB as one of the top sites in its article “Collecting Literary Treasures”. Paul Feain was interviewed by The Independent about the Stolen Books Database. FAZ journalist Sophie von Maltzahn will mention ILAB in an article on networks for stolen art and books. B. Uniyal, journalist and collector from India, wrote about ILAB Congresses for the Indian magazine TERRASCAPE. Steve Gertz mentioned the ILAB Congresses in one of his Booktryst posts called “Matching the right wine to the right books”. Michael Steinbach’s look back on 40 years in the trade “Vienna - Munich and back” is posted on ILAB.org, the German version is published at the same time in the September print issue of “Aus dem Antiquariat”. The interview with ILAB President Arnoud Gerits on his life and career ("Rare book dealers need more than 'Fingerspitzengefühl'”) was called “an excellent read” by Fine Books & Collections, it was also recommended by Books in the News and the Oak Knoll Biblio Blog. His interview with the Hong Kong Economic Times about “The Worth of Rare Books” was re-published or positively mentioned numerous times: on the websites of the British, Dutch and German associations, again by Fine Books & Collections, Sheppard’s Confidential, Börsenblatt Online, in the ABA weekly e-newsletter, on the Hes & de Graaf website, by Nota Bene Books and Books Tell You Why. Bruce McKinney wrote a comment for Americana Exchange, Helmer Pardun translated the interview into German for his blog “Der Solo-Antiquar”. We got more nice mentions in other magazines, blogs and on Internet platforms like The Literary Tourist, by Roberto Sbiroli (Studio Apuleio), Tall Stories, Boekendingen, Booktryst, The Private Library, Cerebral Boinkfest recommending, among others, articles on the Codex Calixtinus theft, Ray Howgego’s explorers’ biographies on ILAB.org, Erica Olsen’s post “White Gloves: Functional or Fashionable?”, Eberhard Köstler’s discussion of recent changes in the trade and Percy Muir's report about "The Social Aspect" of the 2nd ILAB Congress in London 1949. L.D. Mitchell mentioned the ILAB Breslauer Prize in his blog on bibliographies. Our press release concerning ABEbooks and ZVAB in the ILAB Metasearch was spread almost everywhere. Dan Gregory’s article on book pricing, Bob Fleck’s musings on "The Tough Life of an Antiquarian Bookseller" and the picture galleries with "Rare Booksellers' First Catalogues" were even mentioned by El Bibliomano, a Spanish blog which often comments articles from the ILAB site. And on Wikicollecting you find a short but nice text on ILAB. Responses from affiliates range from “looks good” to “terrific” to " highly appreciated". From many of these cross-posts in other media new cooperations have developed. "Echoes from the Vault", for example, was introduced on the ILAB site as the new blog of The University of St. Andrews Library. Since then I have been in contact with librarian Daryl Green to exchange articles and links, because St. Andrews regards the ILAB site as a good possibility to give “more attention for the important work of rare books cataloguing in libraries”.
Content: The ILAB network is fully functioning, and it widens. There are many new names among the regular contributors like Ray Howgego, Nigel Beale with his audio interviews, Erica Olsen, Richard Minsky, Maria Girsel, Jörn Harbeck, Vic Zoschak, Paul Foster, Anthony Marshall, Ellie Aroney, Kevin Mac Donnell, Linda Hedrick, Steve Gertz, the Biblioteca Wittockiana in Brussels and, which is a great pleasure, Michael Ginsberg and Taylor Bowie with their video interviews of ABAA booksellers. Another highly appreciated highlight is the picture gallery of booksellers’ first catalogues, featuring Tom Congalton’s and Karl-Heinz Knupfer’s collections of more than 400 catalogues. Karl-Heinz Knupfer will also write an article on fictitious catalogues, a perfect addition to ILAB’s “cover story”. “Love reading about trade history” is one of the reactions to the fact that we are posting articles from the ILAB archives. Neveen has published reports of former events, such as the 1st Congress 1948 and the first ILAB Fair in Amsterdam 1965; We even have, thanks to Poul Poulsen, the menu of ILAB’s first Farewell Dinner in Copenhagen 1948. We also have excerpts from books by Anton Gerits, Anthony Rota, W.R. Fletcher, Menno Hertzberger et al., and a long and informative story of the ABA and the SLAM. A new series “Booksellers in History” presents old companies like J.A. Stargardt, Henry Sotheran’s, Herman H.J. Lynge, Libreria Antiquaria Pregliasco and a very amusing German portrait of the early 20th century dealers. These historical series will be continued with more ILAB reports, more company’s histories like Maggs, Quaritch or Nebehay, and around 50 articles on ILAB’s history which were published in “Aus dem Antiquariat” (thanks to Björn Biester).
On the other side of this historical perspective stands a new series “Young Dealers / Old Books”, introducing newcomers in the trade or relatively young booksellers like Brian Cassidy or Ashley Wildes. In some countries, there are many young dealers, other associations complain that there are not enough in their countries. In an article Tom Congalton will discuss reasons and ways how young people could be attracted to the rare book business. The League itself has already shown one way with the ILAB Internship Program. Alena Lavrenova’s and Anastasya Zhikhareva’s reports on the ILAB site about their 4 weeks in Austria, Netherlands, Hungary and Germany show how important these internships are. New tendencies in the trade, new perspectives on old problems are often picked out as central themes in blogs, and there are many bloggers among the ILAB affiliates who have given us general permission to use their articles published in their blogs: Barry R. Levin, Adam Bösze, Michael Slicker of Lighthouse Books, Villabrowna Livres anciens, Dee Longenbaugh, Harper Levine, Greg Gibson, Kevin Johnson, Adam Davis, Adrian Harrington Rare Books, Brian Cassidy, Lorne Bair, James Birmingham (Reality Studio and Mimeo Mimeo), Joachim Koch, and Jacques Desse. So, I am not afraid that we could run out of content. Other new plans for the future are an ILAB Quiz on the homepage with three questions on the history of the book, asked by a prominent ILAB dealer, more dealer interviews, special conversations with book collectors and with Past Presidents on ILAB’s history, an article about Jim Hinck and the ILAB Metasearch, a survey “Why ILAB Fairs?”, a world map and a list of when and where printing was invented (or first practiced) in Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, Thailand, Venezuela, the USA, England, Peru, Norway and elsewhere, and, of course, reports, articles, online diaries and picture galleries about the great upcoming event: the ILAB Congress and International Antiquarian Book Fair 2012 in Switzerland.
Website improvements: All this would not have been possible without the excellent service of Neteor. There are many website improvements concerning the layout, the pictures, the newsletter, the programming and the Google ranking which cannot all be mentioned. One big step has been done with the new SLAM website by Neteor and the French Association under the guidance of Alain Marchiset. The SLAM uses the same Content Management System as the ILAB website. So, as soon as an article, interview, event or catalogue is published on ILAB.org, it can automatically be shown on the SLAM site, too, and the other way round. This is a good example for the fact 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.
Sally Burdon says it is an excellent report, but asks whether it would be possible to have the names of the people participating in the metasearch. Ms van Benthem replies that Jim Hinck will have to provide it.
Tom Congalton adds that Ms van Benthem has done an excellent job, and he makes an appeal to associations to add non-English content to the website.
President Gerits suggests that other associations could follow the SLAM example, and that it would attract attention from other countries. He encourages associations to follow the example set by the SLAM. Alain Marchiset states that this service would be good for small associations that don’t have large budgets to build websites from scratch, and adds that he can help explain how it can be done to those who might be interested.
Neveen Marsh adds that she would like to thank the ABA publicly as it is the only ILAB member who has kept a full collection of past ILAB Newsletters. Laurence Worms replies that he is pleased that the ABA has been useful.
No other questions are asked. President Gerits gives the floor again to Barbara van Benthem for the next item on the Agenda.
b) Stolen book website and Security
Barbara Van Benthem has prepared and reads the following report:
Since September 2010, 54 books, prints and autographs have been entered into the Stolen Books Database and have been reported stolen by an ILAB Security Alert. Besides, a list of missing books, announced by the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia (ALAI), has been uploaded. It’s easily accessible as a pdf file and it contains hundreds of books missing from Italian libraries, archives and antiquarian booksellers.
Unfortunately we haven’t received any message of a caught book thief or a book given back to the original owner. The monthly number of website visits depends on the number of recent stolen books announcements. In July and August, for example we had 1,400 website visits and 4,005 page-views with an average time of 1.15 minutes on the site.
Meanwhile, first of all thanks to the input from the ABA, several improvements have been made in the database and for the security messages. Now, if several books have been entered all at once to the database, all these can be announced in one ILAB Security Alert (instead of several) so that ILAB affiliates will no longer be spammed with announcements. Also the alerts now contain more detailed information than before, mentioning author, title, the full book description and the contact details. In the database there are now more detailed and clear possibilities especially to enter the date of publication, the date of theft, book descriptions and identifying characteristics.
The promote the ILAB Stolen Books Database as well as ILAB’s and the national associations’ awareness of book thefts worldwide we are gathering a list with press articles on book thefts on the Stolen Books Website. Especially the case of the Codex Calixtinus brought considerable public attendance to the problem of security in libraries, on book fairs and in bookshops. Besides, Paul Feain was interviewed by Katie Davies of The Independent, and Sophie von Maltzahn is going to write about book and art thefts for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, She will mention the ILAB Stolen Books Database as one of very few efforts to prevent the theft of books.
As there are no questions asked, President Gerits suggests to continue with the Agenda.
c) Proposal : the Committee proposes to add a bookfair search page on the website
Barbara van Benthem reads the following report where she summarizes the proposal sent to the Presidents by Jim Hinck before the meeting:
It was the idea of the ABAA whether a Metasearch could be programmed which would search the stock of exhibitors at ILAB Book Fairs. Jim Hinck came up with the following solution which he would like discussed by the Presidents.
The initial request focused on the feasibility of searching for books that are actually on display at a given book fair. This has been attempted in the past at some American fairs, with the limitation that only books that were listed on the ABAA website could be included. This excluded de facto all foreign exhibitors. A search engine of this sort is technically feasible, but there are several practical problems that make it unlikely to be successful.
An alternative has been explored which requires little or no effort from participating booksellers and offers some benefit to potential book fair visitors. This metasearch would search the online offers of all exhibitors of a specific book fair, including the items they do not bring to the fair. The search form could be added to the ILAB website and to the book fair websites. This would be an extra service for book fair visitors, who could contact the exhibitor before the fair, order some books directly or ask for bringing them to the fair.
This book fair search function would, after some modifications, work with the same data that is currently being used by the ILAB metasearch. It would, however, require a new and separate program to filter the data so that it could be limited to fair exhibitors only. Creating the search form and results display would be the responsibility of the website developer Neteor. viaLibri would build the “back-end” search and data operations.
Jim Hinck has given a first vague estimate of costs. The inititial costs (metasearch construction) would be around 1500 GBP. The webmaster’s cost would be a little under 2,000 Euros. These costs would be paid for by ILAB. Setting up and populating the new exhibitor database for each individual book fair would cost around 250 GBP plus 2 GBP per exhibitor. These costs would be paid by the book fair organizers who wish to have the Book Fair Metasearch on the ILAB website.
This is, in general, the idea Jim Hinck has come up with. It is not a bid or offer, but thought as a basis for discussion whether the Presidents feel that such a Book Fair Metasearch might be good project to initiate or not.
Jim Hinck’s full report is appended hereafter (and was not read at the meeting)
As of September 2011 the ILAB has grown to include approximately 1150 affiliate booksellers. 13 multi-dealer sites are currently being searched together with the individual websites of 42 booksellers.
A list of the multi-dealer sites currently being searched is given below, sorted by the number of affiliates represented. The number of booksellers from each site is shown in parenthesis. It should be remembered that many booksellers list on more than one site.
Bibliophile Bookbase (7)
Use of metasearch by national associations:
Two national associations are now using the ILAB metasearch as the basis for a search engine on their own websites. The book search function for the SLAM site returns books from all ILAB affiliates, not just those who are SLAM members. The ABAC is using a customized version of the ILAB metasearch to search for books from ABAC members only.
The ABA is also currently developing its own customized version of the metasearch which will include ABA members only. A launch date for this has not yet been set. I have also been contacted by ANZAAB about the possibility of using the ILAB metasearch on a new website they are planning to build in the near future.
Use of metasearch for book fairs:
In response to an inquiry made by the ABAA, I have been exploring the possibility of using the ILAB metasearch to set up a book search for books offered by exhibitors at book fairs. The initial request focused on the feasibility of searching for books that are actually on display at a given book fair. This has been attempted in the past at some American book fairs, with the limitation that only books that were listed on the ABAA website could be included. This restricted participation to only a portion of the exhibitors and excluded all foreign exhibitors. It was hoped that using the ILAB metasearch would overcome this restriction and make it possible for all exhibitors to be included in search results.
A search engine of this sort is technically feasible, but there are practical problems that make it unlikely that it would actually be successful. The primary problem is the unavoidable need for each bookseller to supply a list of items that he will be bringing to the fair. This has proven to be an obstacle in the past and I can find no way around it. A substantial number of exhibitors are generally not able or willing to do the work necessary to provide a list of the items they will be bringing. A book search that only represents a small minority of exhibitors would probably not be used by fair visitors and does not seem to justify the expenses involved in setting it up. It is further limited by the fact that most visitors to the book fair would not be carrying a computer that could access the websites where this search was available. To be widely used it would probably also be necessary to build a separate version specifically for mobile phones and other hand-held devices. This would, of course, add further to development costs.
Because of these problems, an alternative has been explored which would require little or no effort from participating booksellers and might offer some benefit to potential visitors to the book fair. In this case a separate metasearch would be created that would filter search results to include only exhibitors at a specific fair, but would include all their online listings, including books that would not be brought to the fair. The search form for this metasearch would be added to the ILAB website and could also be added to the book fair website. The benefit would be that a potential visitor to the book fair would find listings for books that might interest them and they could contact the seller and request that they bring the book with them to the fair. It would also be helpful for visitors who might search for items either prior to or at the fair since it would help them connect personally with individual booksellers who carried items that they might want to buy.
This book fair search function would, after some modifications, work with the same data that is currently being used by the ILAB metsearch. It would, however, require a new and separate program to efficiently filter the data so that it could be limited to fair exhibitors only. In its most basic implementation a book fair search would operate like the current ILAB metasearch. It would receive search requests from forms on the ILAB and/or book fair website and would return results in XML format that the receiving site would process and display. Creating the search form and results display would be the responsibility of the website developer. viaLibri would build the “back-end” search and data operations. The total cost would therefore involve work and charges from two or three separate developers.
It should also be noted that there are potential problems with using the ILAB metasearch as the source for data. The first is a technical limitation: Four of the data sources used by the metasearch (Biblio, Find-a-Book, Livre-Rare-Book and ZVAB) only allow us to search them by using an API. These APIs, while limited to ILAB booksellers, do not allow us to search for books from specific booksellers only. They also limit the total number of results that can be returned from each query. This means that we can only filter out the books from non-exhibitors after we receive the results from all booksellers. When searches are made for something that produces several hundred matches on one of these sites, the results for booksellers who only list on one of these sites may be incomplete.
A second and potentially more serious problem relates to obtaining permission to use the data that is being supplied by the various sites we search. Many of these sites receive commissions from their booksellers when purchases are made using the links we include in our search results. They provide their data to us in the hopes of receiving these commissions. Offering the listings from their sites in a context that encourages the buyer to buy the book directly from the seller, thus avoiding a commission, could potentially antagonize the owners of these listing sites. Using their data for a book fair search could not be done without first gaining permission from these sites. It might be possible to argue that more commission-generating sales could be produced than lost from doing this, but it would be hard to make the argument convincing. If some of the larger sites refused to participate in the book fair search it could undermine its usefulness and produce ill-will on the part of the dealers whose books were being left out because of this.
There would be several separate costs involved in setting up and operating a book fair search as described above.
1 - Design and construction of the search engine that would process the search requests and return the XML formatted data that would be used on the websites.
This would be similar to the API that currently powers the ILAB metasearch and would be a one-time expense. viaLibri would do this work. The estimated price for building a version with basic features only would be 1500 GBP.
2 - Setting up and populating a new exhibitor database for each individual book fair and working with the web site developer for each book fair web site to help with installation. viaLibri would do this work. The costs would recur with each participating book fair. The price would include two parts. The first part would be a flat charge of 250 GBP for general set-up. In addition to this there would be a charge of 2 GBP per searched exhibitor. This assumes that fair organizers provide a simple list of the name and location of each exhibitor. The charge will be reduced to 1 GBP per exhibitor if the fair organizers provide us with a spreadsheet that includes all the exhibitor data that we require.
3 - Building and installing search forms and result displays for each website that will use the book fair search.
For the ILAB site this work would be done by Neteor. For the individual book fair site this work would be done by the person(s) responsible for building that site.
It is also possible that a portable search form could be built that could be installed on any book fair site, but would display results directly on the ILAB site. This would be an economical solution, but would result in the visitor having to leave the book fair site.
The information provided above with regard to setting up a book fair search is presented for discussion purposes only and is not intended as a bid or offer. The cost estimates are provided for guidance only. More complete specifications and a definite price for the viaLibri portion of this work will be provided, if wanted, after a complete feature list has been decided upon.
President Gerits says that if the presidents have read Jim Hinck’s report, they will have noted the other problems mentioned. The initial cost for ILAB of 4,000 Euros might be higher.
President Gerits adds that it would be useful to go round the table to find out the feelings of each of the Presidents about this project. Sarah Baldwin thinks it is a good idea to offer this service to both dealers and customers. She mentions that however, we would need the booksellers’ participation, and this is a great drawback on what should be a no brainer. Neveen Marsh reminds Ms Baldwin that Jim Hinck has specifically mentioned this problem in his report and for that reason, advised to have all the stock of participating dealers searched, regardless of whether they were bringing all their books to the fair or not. Sarah Baldwin replies that even this solution has its drawbacks, as it would limit the search to dealers who have an IT presence, it would not solve discrepancies in language in the descriptions of books, etc.
Adrian Harrington says that book fairs are struggling or disappearing, and if we can get the proper marriage between technology and a book fair, we might benefit from this. The Olympia book fair site sold between 60 and 65 thousand pounds worth of books prior to the book fair through the website. It means that exhibitors on the book fair can have had additional access to a market through the internet. It could encourage exhibitors to participate in a specific book fair. It can drive sales. Our responsibility is to think of the customer as well as the dealer. He likes the idea, but it is necessary to find out how many associations would be interested in it. As to the few dealers who don’t have a web presence, a gallery approach could be added where they could upload books for just the occasion. He has previously set up computers at book fairs all over the world, the problem was that it was not really a website, and it was more often used for price checking. The project might benefit just a few organisations.
President Gerits asks of each of the presidents whose association organises a book fair if they think that their association would use such a feature?
Gonzalo Fernandes Pontes says that this feature could be helpful for his association, but that he would need to first check with his members.
President Gerits asks him if the association would be willing to spend 400 pounds for each fair. The answer is yes.
Sally Burdon believes the ANZAAB would like to give it a try.
Alain Nicolas says that the SLAM would not use such a feature, that it is not interested. Customers don’t like the internet and the previous use of computers at book fairs was badly perceived. It was often used as a device for price checking, and is therefore counter productive, as cheaper books can be found on the net that are at the book fair.
Ton Kok has no idea and nothing to say, he will ask his members.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver says that for the past 2 or 3 years, there has no longer been a fair in Belgium, and she therefore could not give an answer. The new board is thinking of organising a fair, but Belgium is a small country and the CLAM does not have enough members.
Eberhard Köstler says that the VDA does everything that can be useful to its members, he would not sign a 5 year contract for this, but could give it a try.
Takao Nakao says that in Japan, there is a book fair every two years, 50% of the exhibitors are foreign dealers, the Japanese dealers who handle more rare books like to sell more rare books, however for Japan it would be difficult to use such a feature.
Fabrizio Govi says that he does not like this proposal, he prefers having the books in the catalogue present at the book fair, just like the Germans do.
Liam McGahern believes it is not as practical as when a website is created, customers don’t read the fine print: if they want a book the bookseller did not bring to the fair, they’ll put the blame on the bookseller. He would nevertheless give it a try once
Alain Moirandat says that the VEBUKU does not organize a fair, but if they did, he doubts that this feature would be used, as there is too much conservatism in Switzerland.
Adam Bosze says that his association does not yet organize fairs.
Maria Girsel believes that it defeats the purpose of a book fair, and that her association is not interested.
Laurence Worms says that if such a facility existed it would no doubt be used, but his concern is that from a customer’s point of view, why would you limit the search to booksellers who are exhibiting? The development cost has to be paid whether this feature is used once or more.
President Gerits tells the Assembly that it would be difficult for ILAB to finance the project if the associations think they might try the feature only once. Adrian Harrington reminds that this feature would be mostly used before a fair starts, to promote it. President Gerits adds that most people now carry a smart phone or an IPad, and with a free wifi access which is usually available at any book fair, all the information can be accessed very easily, meaning that ILAB’s investment might be obsolete within a couple of years.
Neveen says that if this tool existed, it would have to be ready a week or so before the start of a book fair. However, this would mean that – in the case of fairs such as the Stuttgart one – the material would be offered for sale without being able to be sold for an hour after the start of the Fair. And this might be in contradiction with laws of certain countries, such as France, where you cannot refuse a sale. Furthermore, some dealers prepare book fairs by hiding away the books they want to display, so as to excite the curiosity of customers who want to see at the Fair opening what treasures exhibitors have brought with them. So the question is: should ILAB spend funds for a tool which might be used by only a few national associations or will the national associations decide to deal directly with Jim Hinck to set up this metasearch for their specific fairs?
Gonzalo Pontes agrees that it would be a way to promote the smaller book fairs to which fewer customers go, however, he also agrees that it is important to keep books hidden until a book fair.
President Gerits asks if there are any further questions. He then summarizes the situation by reminding the Presidents that they will be asked to vote on allowing ILAB to spend nearly 4,000 Euros on the project or not, that there are two options, the first one is to agree to the expenditure, the other turning it down thus asking the associations which are interested to pursue the matter further.
Sarah Baldwin then asks whether in the case of associations having developed the project without ILAB, and if ILAB decided at a later stage to want to use the project, would it be possible to negotiate the lowering of the fair levy? President Gerits replies that these are two separate issues that should not be mixed up. If the ABAA wants to continue to pursue the matter, it might later share the result with other interested national associations and then try to recoup part of its investment; the present vote is with the presidents to find out if ILAB is to pay the 4,000 Euros involved or not, and has nothing to do with the book fair levy.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver seconds the following motion: do the presidents accept that ILAB spend 4,000 euros to develop the project? The vote is proceeded with:
- In favour: 4 (AILA, ABAA, ABAC)
- Against: 15 (ABA, ABF, MAE, ALAI, ABAJ, VDA, CLAM, NVvA, SLAM, ABLA, SVAF, NABF)
- Abstentions: 3 (ANZAAB, VEBUKU, VAO)
The Motion is rejected.
Adrian Harrington adds that those who are interested in the project might gather later to discuss the feasibility of doing it among themselves.
The Meeting adjourned for lunch at at 12:35 and resumes at 2 pm.
This workshop is moved to the end of the meeting, and will not be minuted.
President Gerits explains the present situation in regard to the Directory. Bob Fleck had signed a contract with Publications UK for four directories. Since this contract has now run out, the Committee suggested a new contract with better conditions for ILAB. This was refused so we decided to do it in house as Neveen feels that she can tackle this project.
Neveen explains that she had been working already on the bookseller data for the past three editions, going to PUK each time for over a week for doing so, making sure that at least the content was properly gathered and laid out. PUK was responsible for the graphic layout and advertisements. So, when the directory will be done in house, she will not only work on the data – which she did anyway – but take over the graphic and advertising side. A graphic designer will be hired. As for the advertising, she will of course contact the firms that had bought advertisements in previous issues, but will also go talk to dealers at book fairs. Barbara will be helping her with the German fairs and Neveen herself will do the London and Paris book fairs, and perhaps will even travel to New York for the book fair to speak face to face with the American dealers. The rates will be lower than for previous editions, 500 euros for a full page, 300 for half a page, and 200 for a quarter page. She believes that she will be able to sell sufficient advertising to finance the cost of publication: printing, distributing, graphic designer, and other expenses involved. The next edition will normally come out at the very beginning of 2013, and the advertising campaign will start at the beginning of 2012. She adds that each dealer receives a copy of the directory and that the rest are freely handed out at the major book fairs. 6,000 copies should be enough to cover our needs. Sarah Baldwin suggests that several design options should be discussed by the Committee. Neveen replies that no definite decision will be taken before the next Presidents’ Meeting, that it’s only the advertising campaign which will be launched soon. Sally Burdon then asks why only 6,000 copies should be printed, as it is very easy to distribute them quickly at book fairs. Neveen replies that storage would be one of the problems, as ILAB has no office and they would represent a difficult problem.
Eberhard Köstler says he is extremely happy with the solution as his members did not like much the advertising team of PUK, he thanks Neveen for the efforts she is willing to make. (Applause).
Alain Moirandat expresses his admiration, and from the depth of his heart he says thank you. However, he asks whether the size of the directory could not revert to its previous pocket format, to which Adrian Harrington replies that the directory is now aimed at the customer, not the dealer, the main purpose of the Directory is promotional, and if it gets too small, then that purpose is lost. Furthermore, if the size of the directory is too small, it will be difficult to sell half or quarter page advertisements! It would be easy for dealers to download the directory on their Iphone from the ILAB website. Liam McGahern asks then why not develop a specific application for mobile phones? Neveen replies that the cost is very high. To which Laurence Worms says that it needs not necessarily be so, as the ABA has received a quote for a simple ILAB-wide finding-device Iphone App. from Online Galleries at the very reasonable cost of 2,500 Pounds. Neveen will investigate the matter.
9. Update on Swiss Congress
Before passing the floor to the VEBUKU President, President Gerits stresses that ILAB and the national associations are, as was the case in 2010 in Bologna, the guests of the organizing association and that we are all eager to hear what our Swiss colleagues have programmed for 2012.
Alain Moirandat, VEBUKU President, stands up and hands out to all the programme for the 2012 Congress and Book Fair, saying that it is a great pleasure for the VEBUKU to welcome the next ILAB congress and fair. He reminds that the VEBKU played a big role in the early days of ILAB. The last congress held in Switzerland was in 1978. It had been Walter Alicke’s wish to have Switzerland welcome another congress, and the VEBUKU decided to fulfil it. However, they decided to avoid Geneva or Zurich as a Congress venue and opt for more “primitive” aspects of Switzerland. This is why Lucerne was chosen. But for the fair, one of the classical venues is the right choice.
ILAB CONGRESS AND BOOK FAIR 2012 IN LUCERNE
Friday, Sept. 21 Arrival of ILAB Committee members
Private dinner for Committee members
Saturday, Sept. 22 ILAB Committee Meeting all day
Lunch for Committee Members
Arrival of Presidents
Dinner for ILAB Committee Members
Sunday, Sept. 23 Presidents’ Meeting
Arrival of delegates and accompanying partners.
Monday, Sept. 24 Morning: Visit of the Lucerne Zentralbibliothek
Lunch in town
Afternoon: Visit of the Rosengart Museum
Transfer by bus to Hergiswald, visit of the baroque church with the emblematic ceiling decoration
Transfer to town by bus; free evening.
Tuesday, Sept. 25 Excursion by ship on Lake Lucerne
Morning:ILAB general assembly on the ship
Lunch near the “Rütli”, the founding place of the Swiss Confederation, with folkloric attractions
Return by ship to Vitznau, rustic dinner
Return by ship to Lucerne
Wednesday, Sept. 26 Excursion by bus to Einsiedeln
Visit of the baroque monastery and church and its library
Visit of the private library of Prof. Werner Oechslin
Lunch in Einsiedeln
Return by bus
Farewell dinner in Lucerne.
Thursday, Sept. 27 Fair preview from 5 m to 8 pm
Friday, Sept 28 Fair 11 am – 8 pm.
Saturday, Sept. 29 Fair 11 am – 8 pm
Sunday, Sept. 30 Fair 11 am – 6 pm.
The dates of the Congress and Fair, he adds, were not chosen by the VEBUKU, but imposed on them by the venue for the book fair: the week-end of the 27th to the 30th of September 2012 was the only possibility, and the VEBUKU had no choice but to organize the Congress just before, i.e. from 23rd to 26th September. Originally, he was attracted by the idea of organizing the book fair in Zürich Central Station, but the idea was turned down by the VEBUKU members who thought the problems raised by possible hooligans, security matters and the great number of people going through the Station every day would be too great to handle.
As to the costs, he says that the VEBUKU has been putting money aside for the past few years. He has based his provisional budget on the participation of 120 delegates. However, he states that the VEBUKU will reserve the right to cancel the congress if it does not receive the registration of at least 70/75 delegates. The cost will be around 1900 Sw.frs, or around1550 Euros at today’s exchange rate. As for the fair, they will be able to welcome 80 exhibitors, and not more because the hall is not expandable. Half of the stands will be large and will be rented for about 4,000 Sw. frs. The Congress should be more or less pay for itself through participant fees.
He concludes by adding that the Vebuku hopes that the weather will be fine, and invites all the presidents to come.
President Gerits thanks him and asks if anyone would like to ask a question?
Sarah Baldwin asks, on behalf of her members, about the religious holidays coinciding with the Congress and says that she is concerned with the timing.
Alain Moirandat replies that their hands are tied because of the venue of the book fair. Organizing a Congress and Fair in August would be out of the question and so would October as it is the season of auction sales. He adds that in 2012, the Spring Zurich Fair will be cancelled so as not to compete with the Congress fair in September.
Alain Marchiset asks about clearing the Swiss customs for foreign exhibitors.
Alain Moirandat replies that Swiss laws are not only strong, but observed. He has contacted Caladex about the Congress and Fair, and he urges the dealers who will exhibit to use them and not bring their books by car.
President Gerits wants to make sure that whatever paperwork will be needed, can the forms and information be supplied by the Vebuku?
Alain Moirandat replies negatively, adding that a firm such as Caladex will be able to perform all the necessary formalities.
Evelyne Morel de Westgaver asks whether it is possible to close the book fair on Saturday, in order to save a hotel night.
Alain Moirandat replies that this is not possible, but that perhaps the fair will start on Friday instead of Thursday; the venue is also hosting the Zurich Art Fair which is closing on Sunday.
President Gerits then asks him how many Swiss colleagues will participate in the congress?
Alain Moirandat replies that he would be proud to count 10 Swiss delegates. He adds that he is grateful for the possibility of having the centrefold of the next issue of the ILAB Newsletter, and that it will contain all the relevant information as well as the registration form.
Neveen Marsh then asks him whether he will nevertheless host a Presidents’ Meeting should the VEBUKU decide to cancel the congress.
Alain Moirandat replies that he has never thought about the possibility before, but adds that as the VEBUKU has put money aside, a Presidents Meeting can be organized should the Congress be cancelled.
President Gerits asks him if there will be a lower Congress fee for the accompanying person? Alain Moirandat replies that it is not possible. President Gerits tells him that he is worried about the high fee, as he believes it may cause a problem in reaching the minimum of 75 registrants. Alain Moirandat replies that he is still looking for sponsors and that, unfortunately, Switzerland is a very expensive country with a disadvantageous exchange rate.
Tom Congalton says that Alain Moirandat deserves everyone’s thanks as he has done his best.
President Gerits concludes by thanking Alain Moirandat and saying that ILAB will promote this congress and try and get many affiliates to participate, and that nothing can be done about the exchange rates. The programme looks interesting and we need the support of the presidents of the national associations.
10. Update on French Congress
President Gerits then asks Alain Nicolas to take the floor. He says that the SLAM is very happy to organize the congress in 2014 in Paris, the Committee has already started putting money aside, contacting libraries, and that they want to make it as cheap as possible in order to get a great number of delegates registering. As was said last year, it should take place by the end of April or early May 2014 instead of September. It will allow the French Association to stick to their annual book fair in the Grand Palais near the Champs Elysées, a most prestigious venue in the heart of Paris. It is very important to exhibit in this venue for our trade, it is there where the famous Biennale des Antiquaires is held. The problem is to obtain exact dates long time ahead, because the venue is much in demand. The SLAM will let the Committee and Presidents know the date as soon as it is known. Exhibitions, Conferences, Readings, etc. will also be organized during the fair, as the SLAM believes that fairs must not only be a place where books are sold but also where cooperation should be achieved with institutions in order to attract collectors, and particularly to obtain a good audience in the media. The Grand Palais Book Fair attracts each year over 20,000 visitors. Furthermore, 2014 will be the year of the SLAM’s centenary.
The President thanks Alain Nicolas, (Applause), and asks if there are any questions. There are none.
11. Next Congresses and Meetings
President Gerits says that ILAB has received an invitation from Adam Bosze for next Spring’s Committee Meeting (May 2012). But no invitations have yet been received for 2013, 2015, 2016, etc. He reminds the presidents that the committee depends on them for the invitations. The Committee is aware that holding a Presidents’ Meeting is expensive, which is why 6,000 euros are handed out by ILAB to the organising association, along with the rent of the meeting rooms (provided the Committee has first received and agreed to the quote), and one Committee Meal, usually a dinner. The Committee also has a couple of suggestions which might be an incentive for associations to decide to organize an ILAB Meeting:
- The Association can decide to charge a discretional fee for the accompanying person.
- The Association could hold the meeting at a time when a Book Fair is being held. This would bring in to the fair, as customers, all the dealers who are attending the meeting as presidents of their own association.
The cost for organising a Presidents’ Meeting is around 15,000/20,000 Euros. Most of the expenses are spent on meals. And almost 8 to 10,000 Euros will be paid for by ILAB. If a discretional fee is charged for the accompanying persons, an extra 2,000 Euros could be raised.
President Gerits then asks if there are any questions, and if any association is considering holding a Meeting? Laurence Worms replies that he will consult his committee.
President Gerits adds that we also have to consider a plan for the 2016 Congress. It is food for thought and careful consideration.
12. Patrons’ List
The Committee proposes that Patrons be found for the League.
In the early days of the League, a Committee of Honour had been set up ; each association had arranged for one or two VIP’s to agree to be part of that Committee. It did not involve any cost, and brought PR to the League. The Committee therefore proposes to revive it, and proposes that each association with one vote arranges for one VIP to accept to be part of such a list, and that each association with two votes arranges for two VIP’s to accept to be part of such a list. Each Association would report back to the Committee before Spring, so that the list can be finalized and voted upon shortly.
Maria Girsel seconds the proposal.
President Gerits explains that this proposal is a no brainer, as it is good PR for the League. There would be no cost for the patrons, no cost to ILAB, and could give us status and gravitas. It would involve each president thinking about the right people, and approaching them.
Sarah Baldwin reminds President Gerits that any American would have concerns about ways of using their names, as they would be worried about solicitations, and that therefore we would need to carefully spell out how and where such a list would be used: website, directory, catalogues, ILAB fairs, etc. President Gerits asks her whether she would come up with a number of suggestions of do’s and don’ts, in order to be careful about handling this proposal. Sarah Baldwin replies that she will try to suggest what would be appropriate. Adrian Harrington agrees with what Ms Baldwin has suggested and believes it will encourage Patrons to come forward if we define the criteria clearly.
This proposal will be preceded by how and when such a list will be used.
Vote: In favour: 19 – Against: 0 – Abstentions: 3 (NVvA, CLAM, VEBUKU)
13. Bibliophily by Country
The Committee proposes that ILAB publishes a booklet with as many chapters as there are national associations wishing to collaborate to the project, each association providing a chapter on the specifics of bibliophily in its country.
Such a publication can be either published solely by ILAB, or jointly with a publisher. It could be given or sold at a very low price at ILAB book fairs and/or by the national associations. It would be published in English and French.
Sarah Baldwin seconds the proposal.
Neveen says that, she has realized while going to different book fairs that the understanding of what bibliophily is differs in most countries. This is why she came up with the idea and sent an email to the Presidents asking whether they would want to participate in the project. She received a few eager responses and some even suggested people who could write for their country. Such a booklet could be either sold at book fairs for a symbolic Euro or Dollar or handed out for free, it would be a great PR tool.
President Gerits asks each delegate his thoughts on the project:
Sarah Baldwin, Gonzalo Pontes, Sally Burdon, Ton Kok, Eberhard Köstler, Takao Nakao, Fabrizio Govi, Liam McGahern, Maria Girsel and Adam Bosze like the idea. Alain Nicolas likes the idea but worries about its cost; he also asks why ILAB does not reprint Edgar Franco’s Dictionary as it is out of print; he is told that it is not out of print, that Scott Brinded holds the stock and that he can order some copies. Evelyne Morel de Westgaver asks why such a publication could not be appended to the Directory, and she is told that the Directory would be way too thick. Alain Moirandat is against the project as he is not sure that there is a nationalistic pattern of collecting criteria in Switzerland. Laurence Worms is wary about telling people what they should or should not collect, but he nevertheless thinks it is a good idea.
President Gerits asks whether all the countries need to submit a chapter, Adam Bosze believes that it should be an obligation. President Gerits replies that this would not be possible.
Vote in favour: 22. Carried unanimously.
Neveen adds that the texts should be submitted by Spring and that quotes will be ready for the meeting in Switzerland.
14. Other Business
a) Question raised by the ABAA about Book fairs and article 13 of the code of ethics (clear pricing).
Sarah Baldwin explains that both the ABAA and ILAB code of ethics require clear pricing of material for sale at book fairs. The Fair Committee struggles with trying to make sure that ABAA and ILAB members are aware of the necessity of having all material priced clearly. It is, of course, up to the national association to make sure that that happens, but would hope that ILAB reminds its affiliates of this obligation. It is also a legal matter, as New York State requires that all material be priced. No problem has yet been encountered but the ABAA would hate to have the issue raised. She urges the Presidents to let their members know that it is a continuing concern which will be looked at with more vigilance by the ABAA fair committee. All exhibitors have to have a price list in US dollars.
President Gerits agrees and reminds indeed the article 13 which strongly recommends to have priced books and price lists in book fairs. This reminder will be published in the Newsletter.
b) Overseas membership
A questionnaire regarding Overseas Membership has been prepared and handed out to all Presidents, about 10 answers have been received. Follows the questionnaire and the replies:
Some associations have foreign members. These members fall into two groups:
- Dealers who are in a country without a national association (Primary)
- Dealers who belong to their own national association and choose to join another one (Secondary)
1° Do you accept foreign members?
Yes: ABA, AILA, VEBUKU, SLAM, ABF, MAE, CLAM, VDA
Yes but: NVvA (only if they are member of another association)
No: ANZAAB, VAO, ABAA, ABAC
2° To which of the two groups described above do they belong?
Primary: SLAM, AILA, ABA
Secondary: NVvA, SLAM, CLAM, ABA, VEBUKU
3° How many of each do you have?
ABA: 14 P, 25 S – CLAM: 5 S – VEBUKU: 3 S – AILA: 1 P – SLAM: 1 or 2 P – 5 or 8 S
4° Do they pay full or reduced fees?
Full: NVvA, AILA, VEBUKU, CLAM
Reduced: ABA, SLAM
5° Do you differentiate between Primary and Secondary foreign members in their subscription? If so, how?
No difference for any of the answers received.
6° Are these foreign members allowed to vote?
Yes: NVvA, AILA, ABA
No: SLAM, VEBUKU, CLAM
7° Are they allowed to hold office?
No: CLAM, VEBUKU, SLAM
Laurence Worms adds that we should also consider the geographical spread of what we do, especially in countries who do not have associations. He believes that if we adopted a uniform approach in recruiting foreign members, especially those dealers who did not have a national association in their country, it might make it easier for them. He suggests that we collate all the answers, circulate the details and come up with an advisory proposal for the next meeting.
Before closing the Meeting, and moving to the Workshop on Book Fairs, President Gerits asks each President in turn whether he/she wishes to raise a specific issue.
Fabrizion Govi mentions a proposal he has received from the Franciscans in Jerusalem, who are planning to catalogue all their library with the help of students, including a great number of incunables and 16th Century books, asking for a sponsorship from ILAB: they are soliciting money and moral support.
President Gerits tells him that we are short of money, but that they can count on our moral support.
Eberhard Köstler then presents the following book to each participant: Ernst Fischer, Verleger, Buchhändler und Antiquare aus Deutschland und Österreich in der Emigration nach 1933. Ein biographisches Handbuch. Published by the German Antiquarian Booksellers' Association. He is warmly thanked for this gift and for having hosted a great meeting.
President Gerits thanks all the participants and particularly Eberhard Köstler, as well as the German VDA for this book which has been entered for the next edition of the ILAB-Breslauer Prize.
He then closes the meeting at 3:45 pm, asking everyone to stay in the garden for the workshop on book fairs.