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MINUTES OF THE GENERAL MEETING
28th September 2007
La Mutualité - Paris
1. President’s Welcome
Michael Steinbach, ILAB President, opens the meeting at 9 :10 am. He welcomes the delegates with the following speech which he reads in both English and French :
Dear Presidents, Presidents of Honour, members of Honour, immediate past President and fellow committee members,
Welcome to Paris. I am very happy that so many of you could make it possible to join us in this lovely city. I think it is the first time that so many Presidents have attended a meeting. This is certainly also due to the wonderful program our French hosts have organized and therefore my thanks go to our French hosts, the SLAM President Monsieur Frederic Castaing and also to our committee member Jean-Pierre Fouques, who has personally with his wife organised such a great event. Furthermore, I am very glad that we have so many Presidents of Honour here today, most of all Kay Craddock -who became ‘Member of the order of Australia’ recently- who came all the way from Australia to join us. Last but not least my thanks go to my committee members and our executive secretary, who have worked very hard since we last met six month ago in Vienna.
Since we have many items on our agenda let me keep this short and lets get to work. Thank you.
He also warns that the order of the agenda will be modified due to outside interventions.
2. Presence, Apologies, Announcement of Proxies and Establishment of Quorum
From the ILAB Committee
Michael Steinbach, President
Adrian Harrington, Vice President
Poul Poulsen, Treasurer
Arnoud Gerits, Secretary
Bob Fleck, Immediate Past President
Nevine Marchiset, Executive Secretary
Presidents or Delegates
Roger Auger (ALAC/ABAC - Canada)
Ana Maria Bocayuva de Miranda Jordao (ABLA - Brazil)
Frédéric Castaing (SLAM - France)
Norbert Donhofer (VAO - Austria)
Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes (AILA - Spain)
Maria Girsel (ABF - Denmark)
Henri Godts (CLAM/BBA - Belgium)
Ton Kok (NVvA - Netherlands)
Eberhard Köstler (VDA - Germany)
David Lilburne (ABAA - USA)
Alain Moirandat (VEBUKU/SLACES - Switzerland)
Yoshio Okudaira (ABAJ - Japan)
Umberto Pregliasco (ALAI - Italy)
Sten Ringselle (SVAF - Sweden)
Alan Shelley (ABA - United Kingdom)
Peter Tinslay (ANZAAB - Australia & New Zealand)
Presidents and Members of Honour
Yamato Nakasato, Japanese Interpreter
Apologies have been received from:
Mitsuo Nitta, Member of Honour, attending the Bibliophiles’ Meeting in New York.
Bob de Graaf, President of Honour
Georg Beran, President of SACR.
Tom Congalton and Adrian Harrington are appointed as scrutineers.
C) Establishment of Quorum
The SLAM, the ABAA, the VDA and the ABA have 2 votes each. The other associations have one vote each. Alain Moirandat (VEBUKU/SLACES) has received a proxy from SACR. The total number of votes is: 21. The quorum is established. To be carried a motion needs 11 votes.
3. In Memoriam
A minute of silence is observed in memory of:
From the USA (ABAA)
From the Netherlands (NvvA)
Ans van Pagee
From Canada (ABAC):
Fred Kahn (aslo a member of the ABA)
From Australia (ANZAAB)
From Belgium (CLAM)
Mademoiselle Francine Van der Perre
From France (SLAM)
From the United Kingdom (ABA)
Mrs P Leeming (Retired Member)
David MacNaughtan (Former Member)
Raymond Smith (Retired Member)
Jane Morrison (Retired Member)
Elizabeth Gant (Retired Member)
Thomas P MacDonnell (Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles) (also a member of the ABAA)
Renate Kilgarriff (wife of Raymond Kilgarriff)
Robert T Moore (Former Member)
William Reeves (Retired Member)
Irene Fletcher (Mother of Keith Fletcher)
4. Approval of Wilmington Minutes
The minutes are unanimously approved.
5. President’s Report
First of all I want to thank my committee members, our executive secretary Nevine Marchiset, our immediate past President Bob Fleck and our web master Jelle Samshuijzen for all the work they have done in this past year. All of them have spent many hours of their time for the good of ILAB and I think all of you appreciate this very much. We have met once officially during this year, but most of the issues have been discussed by personal emails, phone calls, sometimes meetings and hardly a day has gone by without dealing with some issue concerning ILAB.
What follows is a short summary of the most important activities which have been done this past year, not mentioning the little details which finally lead to a decision.
One of the major targets in the last months was to straighten out the situation about the next ILAB Congress and Fair in Spain, since there had been some complications within the Spanish Association, which fortunately have been solved with the election of a new President and Committee. In close contact with the new Spanish President Mr. Gonzalo Pontes, a new venue and program was established and I am very happy to announce that the Congress and Fair will take definitely place in Madrid from the 8th to the 13th of September 2008. Mr. Pontes will hand out the program at this Presidents’ meeting and say a few words. Since the last Congress failed, it is in our interest to make next years’ event a real success. Therefore I want to ask all of you to encourage your members to be part of the next Congress. Our colleagues from Spain have prepared an exciting program worthwhile to consider.
Concerning the Prize for Bibliography I see a huge step forward towards the funding of the prize, thanks to our Past President, Bob Fleck. Our secretary Mr. Arnoud Gerits, committee member Jean-Pierre Fouques and myself met in April in Paris with Mr. Felix de Marez-Oyens, Chair of the Breslauer Foundation, and we had a very positive chat about the funding of the prize. You all have got the report of the meeting from Mr. Gerits and I ask and urge you to give us free hand to negotiate with Mr. Marez-Oyens to lead this to a successful outcome. I think we in the committee can all live with a change of name of the prize into ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography. I also want to suggest if there is an agreement with the Breslauer Foundation that we ask Mr. Marez-Oyens to join the jury for the prize. Together with Monsieur Chatelain from the Bibliotheque Nationale, Prof. David Adams from the University of Manchester, our committee members Arnoud Gerits and Poul Poulsen the jury would be complete. Furthermore Mr. Nitta has established a contact with Prof. Toshiyuki Takamiya as an consultant, if there are any entries for the prize concerning the Asian market. In addition to the hopeful funding by the Breslauer Foundation, Mr. Nitta chair of the prize, will start to request entries and donations for the prize from related publishers and ILAB members. All this together will give a big push in PR for the prize and thus for ILAB.
The second issue of the Directory has been distributed and was generally more appreciated then the first one. Thanks to the intensive work of our executive secretary Nevine Marchiset, the index is now improved and has not given way to as many complaints as in the first directory. Once more I want to make clear to you, that each affiliate is responsible for his entry on the ILAB website-directory and that it is this data which is used for the directory.
The second ‘Mini-Newsletter’, thanks to the great work of Tom Congalton and his team, has been produced and is about to be sent out to the affiliates. Due to the summer vacations a bit late, but still in an acceptable time-frame. It is a perfect medium to maintain the contact between the committee and our affiliates and keep them informed about what we are doing. A third issue will still be published this year, including the actual report of this presidents meeting.
Again thanks to the help of Tom Congalton we found an editor for the ILAB website which now is a lot more informative, up to date, filled with changing articles of interest for our affiliates and due to all this work, ILAB gets more visible to the in- and outside world. In cooperation with national associations we will also post some of the national newsletters to the site. If yourself in your association have some article which could be of interest for all our affiliates, please forward it to Mr. Congalton. Together with the continuous improvements done by Rockingstone, the Google advert campaign – English, French and German keywords have been posted to get more hits - etc. our site is getting more and more attractive and sees an enormous improvement in visits. This also benefits our data-base resulting in more sales for our affiliates. Also posters and bookmarks in different languages have been made available for our affiliates to download from the ILAB website in the members only section. The Chinese version of the essential parts of the ILAB website have been installed. More languages have to follow, like Italian, Spanish etc.
The cooperation with our Webmaster has improved a lot, he has started to send monthly reports on his activities and with statistics of the visits and hits to our site. There are still some requests about improvement of the website and the data-base by the national internet committees which are handled by Jelle Samshuijzen in a timely fashion The campaign to generate more participants for the ILAB data-base which was launched in April was also a success, so that we have now over 600 participants – a third of our affiliates – listing their books on the ILAB data-base. More participants are needed to give it more weight and importance against our competitors. Our immediate past president Bob Fleck has taken over the charge of welcoming each new member on the data-base and trying to convince each drop out to stay.
The ties with CINOA have been strengthened by the visit of Mr. Gerits to the general assembly of CINOA in Italy last summer and a visit of the CINOA President who will join us for the Presidents meeting and will outline some details about his organisation. We will also discuss the possibility of ILAB joining the CINOA organisation. Together we would have more weight and power when it comes to negotiate with authorities worldwide.
Paul Feain is handling our security site and it is working smoothly, however we had no spectacular success in the last months, like with the stolen maps from Copenhagen.
It is also thanks to Paul Feain’s and Mr. Nitta’s work that the first International Antiquarian Book Fair will take place on Chinese territory, in Hong Kong. Over 50 participants form all over the world have signed up, a splendid catalogue will be produced and coverage by print media and TV is guaranteed.
This will be a first step into the huge Chinese and southeast Asian market where we hope to form an Asian Association of Antiquarian Booksellers which will be able to join ILAB in the future.
The presence of ILAB at the international book fairs in the first half of this year has been very strong with stands at the major fairs, partly manned by our executive secretary Nevine Marchiset , who did a lot of excellent PR for ILAB. Posters, bookmarks, directories, newsletters etc. have been widely distributed, thus spreading the word about ILAB.
For those affiliates who are not happy with their insurance company we have established contacts with an English insurance agency. A representative is coming to our meeting and will present a proposal for ILAB affiliates to insure their merchandise, as well as shipping, exhibition at fairs etc.
I am looking forward to continue the hard work this coming year, with my committee, to ensure even more successes for the benefit of all.
His report receives a round of applause.
8. Treasurer’s Report
Poul Poulsen warns that when he had sent out his accounts, there was a mistake in the exchange rate of the Euro on page 2. He therefore distributes a new page 2 to everyone. He then proceeds to read his report:
I have mentioned this many times but I will do it again. I want to underline that the account is in Danish Kroner, that is the figures in the first column of the statement, the figures in the second column are converted into US$ or € in rounded figures, you can see the rate of exchange at the top of each column. The figures in the third column are from the budget, which was adopted in Wilmington in 2006.
In contrast to last year, where the account showed a deficit, then I am much more pleased with the result of this year, because is shows a surplus, in round figures, of 45.000 € (61.000 US$). The reason for this nice result is, among other things, that the Paris Book Fair in Grand Palais brought in 335,4% more that last year Paris Book Fair and that the different fairs in USA brought in 112,1% more money, so to sum it all up I can only say that I am satisfied with the result of this financial year and I will also claim, when I look at the amount we now have in the Bank, that the League’s financial situation is good and sound.
I will now make some remarks to some of the figures. If we begin by looking at our income during the last period, then you can see that the Subscription have brought a little over 46.000 € or 63.000 $. The Korean Association paid their subscription at the end of August this year. As you know the 2007 subscription is based on 33 US$ per entry in the latest edition of the ILAB Directory. Broken down by country, see page 6. 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 rule.
The sale of our publications and the ILAB pins, added only modest 386 € (or 528 $) to our income
The levy from various Book Fairs around the world have contributed with over 70.000 € (or nearly 96.500 $). Broken down by country, see page 7. The question marks mean - that I am still waiting for the money. Here I would like to repeat what I have said every year during my now 16 years in office – Dear Presidents please remind your Book Fair committees to send 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.
In this financial year the League has earned interest to the amount of 2.088 € (or nearly 2.900 €.)
The ILAB/LILA.com expenses amount to nearly 15.500 € (or. nearly 21.200 $) that include: The yearly maintenance, the Stolen Book Database, the membership database, and our participation in book fairs in London, Paris, California, ads on Google.
We have spent nearly 8.700 € (about 12.000 $) to cover the Committee members’ travel expenses to their various meeting places.
One of the more heavy items of expenditure is as always the Administration, where we in all have spent 24.538 € (or nearly 34.000 $), but after all that covers the yearly allowance to the president, our general secretary and the treasurer plus the meeting allowance to the Committee members + our Immediate Past President and our Executive Secretary – in all ten persons - covering the meeting in Wilmington and the spring meeting in Vienna.
The rest we have spent on expenses for the Committee insurance, the ILAB/LILA Questionnaire, the ILAB/LILA poster, the interpreter, and our Swiss solicitor. The rent of rooms during our meetings, committee lunches and diners, the fee for our account, and other minor expenses
Our hard working Executive Secretary in this financial year cost us a little over 20.000 € (or 28.000 $) a modest sum for a lot of work.
The new ILAB/LILA Newsletter in this financial year cost us 843 € (1.150 $). The expenses for ILAB/LILA Bookmarker amount to a little over 1.500 € or 2.100 $
On July 1st 2006 we had 122.970 € (or 168.180 $) in the bank and on June the 30th 2007 we had 167.529 € (229.125 $) that means we have increased our balance with 36,2 %
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL PRIZE FOUNDATION
The Bibliographical Prize Foundation, has now 3.174 € (4.341 $) in cash in the bank and on July 1st 2007 the Foundation have shares and bonds for the amount of nearly 25.750 € or around 39.200 $.
In this financial year the Foundation have received donations from a national associations to the amount of 768 € (a little over 1.000 $) and earned interest to the amount of 875 € (or nearly 1.200 $).
On the disbursement side the Foundations have had expenses for new stationary, Postage, phone & fax and bank charges, in all 1.141 € (or 1.562 $) but also the Foundation had to face a loss on the value of its shares and bonds.
9. Motion from SLAM
Frederic Castaing moves the following motion:
The annual accounts of the ILAB will be presented according to international standards, with the help of a certified accountant. They will include at least a balance sheet, an operating account or income statement and a provisional budget, and allow a comparison with the figures of the preceding financial year.
Ton Kok seconds the motion.
Frederic Castaing explains that the SLAM motion was born out of some concern with the growth of the finances of the League and the fact that the current presentation does not give a clear picture of its yearly financial income. The motion seeks to upgrade the standards of the financial statements of the League in order to keep in line with its growing resources and allow a clearer understanding of its financial income, taking into account the outstanding invoices of bookfair levies etc.. He further indicated that he was fully supportive of the committee and appreciative of the responsibility it takes for the finances of the League.
Michael Steinbach thanks the SLAM for their proposal, which was discussed during the committee meeting. The motion has great merit, the committee supports it, and the next budget will be presented in the way that the SLAM proposes.
Poul Poulsen will ask his accountant whether she can prepare the accounts in this way, otherwise he will change accountant. This new way of showing the accounts will probably cost more.
Bob Fleck adds that what SLAM has proposed is a very serious proposal, it shows that our organisation is growing up, its finances are growing and it now needs more structured finances.
The motion is carried unanimously.
7. Security Chairman’s Report
Paul Feain reads the following report:
Sadly the thieves never stop and our members continue to suffer leakages of stock.
We have sent out emails as usual when notified of theft.
We have also kept affiliates aware of the existence of the Stolen Book Data Base which now contains 1311 books.
Presidents are reminded to tell members about the procedure for notification of stolen books and are also reminded that they can invite libraries and individuals outside the book trade to submit items for inclusion in the stolen book data base.
He is then asked by Henri Godts how many cases have been solved thanks to our security system and the stolen books database. Two important cases have been solved in the past two years: the theft of one expensive book at Adrian Harrington’s premises, which was retrieved in New York, and the retrieval of the stolen Copenhagen maps.
10. Legal Status of ILAB
ILAB is no longer registered at the Geneva Registry of Commerce, because it did not want to have to pay annual taxes, but has kept its official address in Geneva, at the offices of the notary NECKER, CHRIST, GREGORC & de CANDOLLE, 5, rue Toepffer Case postale 499, 1211 Geneva.
11. Hong Kong Book Fair and Efforts to form an Asian Association
Paul Feain explains that a year ago we had discussed the expansion of ILAB in South East Asia, and the idea about a book fair in Hong Kong had been launched. He had discussed this idea informally with Mitsuo Nitta, who happened to have a friend in Hong Kong, Christopher Lee, a new books dealer. The three of them organised this venture. An announcement was put on the ILAB announce list and he obtained an overwhelming response: 90 answers! But the fair premises could only hold 64 exhibitors. The book fair has already been talked about on the radio in China and in the South East Asian press. They are negotiating with a TV show to take place a few days before the fair. They are getting great publicity. There are many expatriates in Hong Kong who have good jobs whom they hope to attract, along with Chinese people. Five thousand catalogues have been printed. During the book fair, they will organise a meeting in the hope of creating a South East Asian Bookdealers’ Association. To begin with, there would be two executives in this association, Mitsuo Nitta and himself, and they would later pull out. In a few years, this association would apply to ILAB. Hong Kong is an easy place to hold a book fair, but he hopes that censorship and customs will ease in mainland China so that they can organise a book fair in Shanghai in about 5 years.
He is congratulated by Alan Shelley who asks how many exhibitors are ILAB affiliates; about 80% replies Paul Feain.
Ana Maria de Bocayuva takes this opportunity to mention that ILAB should make efforts to encourage the formation of a Spanish Speaking South American Association. Fairs are organized in Argentina by an Argentinean association with 32 exhibitors, some of which come from Chili, Uruguay and of course, Argentina.
Michael Steinbach reminds her that there had been talks two or three years ago with dealers from Argentina, but that it had lead nowhere.
Ana Maria replies that there is an association in Argentina, that it is very active, and has over 60 members, but that they need to be contacted by ILAB.
Michael will send them an official letter inviting them to Madrid as observers. He solicits Ana Maria’s help to let him know whom he should contact.
The subject then goes back to the Hong Kong book fair, and Paul Feain is asked whether any Indian dealers are exhibiting, he replies that one Indian dealer will come as a visitor, but that certainly, India should be the next territory to be explored.
Frédéric Castaing regrets that as SLAM President, he has not received official documentation about the Hong Kong fair, as he could have advertised it in the SLAM Newsletter. Every National Association has its own ways of communication and in France the Newsletter of SLAM is a very important and excellent means of communication: an article about Hong Kong would have been of great help. He congratulates, however, Paul Feain and Mr. Mitsuo Nitta for their efforts and diligent work. He also congratulates the League on the efforts it is making or will make to promote new associations in South East Asia or South America.
12. Prize for Bibliography
Michael Steinbach explains that the funding of the Prize has always been a problem. The Presidents had repeatedly asked the Committee to find ways of funding it. Thanks to Bob Fleck who established links with the Breslauer Foundation, Jean Pierre Fouques, Arnoud Gerits and himself had a meeting in April in Paris with Felix de Mayez-Orens, the head of the Breslauer Foundation. A report of the meeting was sent with the Agenda in July. The only point on which Mr. Mayez-Orens insists against giving ILAB 120,000$ is the change of name of the Prize, into ILAB-Breslauer Prize. The change of name would not be for ever, but for two or three editions of the Prize. If, at a later date, another sponsor would come along offering another sum of money, then the Breslauer Foundation would just want to be given a chance to match it. Of course, all details will be in written form. Michael Steinbach wants to put this up for discussion, as he would like the Presidents to give the Committee a free rein to negotiate with the Breslauer Foundation in order to reach an agreement. He asks the Presidents if they can live with a change of name.
Arnoud Gerits explains further that the Breslauer Foundation is not a commercial venture, it is named after an ILAB dealer, Martin Breslauer, who left his fortune to this Foundation. It supports acquisitions of books by American Libraries. As Martin Breslauer was very much into bibliography, the Foundation is willing to donate money for the Prize. If we add their donation to what we have already received from the Bromers and some National Associations, the Prize would be guaranteed to survive for a very long time. Of course, ILAB has a moral and financial right to have its name before Breslauer, as more than a quarter million dollars have already gone into the Prize. This is why ILAB maintained that it should be named ILAB-Breslauer and not Breslauer-ILAB, which was Mr. de Mayez-Orens’s first wish. The Committee does not want to be tied for ever with the Breslauer Foundation, and considers that it could come to an agreement to have the money definitely while sharing the name with Breslauer for about 12 years. Felix de Marez-Oyens proposed to seal the deal with a handshake, but the Committee wants a written agreement. The Committee asks the Presidents to allow it to make a deal with the Breslauer Foundation. If, along the way, something unexpected crops us, then the Committee will go back to the Presidents, either through the Presidents Discuss List, or at the next meeting.
Alan Shelley congratulates the Committee and says that he supports this deal.
Umberto Pregliasco suggests that it is perhaps not very elegant to expect that in a few years time the Breslauer Foundation accepts that their name be taken away from the Prize. He adds that the name cannot be changed every few years, and that he would prefer the name to remain ILAB-Breslauer for ever.
Michael replies that if someone comes along with more money, then the Committee will go to the Breslauer Foundation and give them the opportunity to top this sum.
Adrian Harrington explains that we would have a lot of flexibility with the Breslauer Foundation. He reminds the Presidents that the Committee tried during two years to raise money elsewhere but failed, except for a few donations. This proposal would solve a big problem. A change of name is not necessarily a good thing, but it gives us a flexibility.
Michael Steinbach adds that it was Mr. de Marez-Oyens himself who had suggested that the name change need not be for ever. He also adds that the Breslauer Foundation would be willing to give ILAB more than 120,000$ if necessary.
Frédéric Castaing explains that it should not be only a matter of money. We would not, for example, accept our name to be changed into ILAB-Coca Cola Prize. But Breslauer’s name is suited to be linked to ILAB’s. Arnoud adds that they need the publicity they will get from linking their name to ILAB’s. He doubts that someone else will come forward with a similar offer. ILAB has tried for 10, 15 years to find money. At last, thanks to Bob Fleck, this has been achieved. Furthermore, thanks to the ABAA, we will be able to arrange the transfer of money. Thus, the Prize will be funded without any strain on the ILAB budget.
The Committee proposes that the Presidents give it a free hand to negotiate with the Breslauer Foundation and accept the change of name into ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography.
David Lilburne seconds the proposal.
Arnoud Gerits adds that Mr. de Marez-Orens has not asked to be on the Jury, but that the Committee would like to ask him to join it, as he is a highly suitable person for the job. He has probably the largest collection on bibliography. He explains that books which wish to enter the Prize are sent to him, and all the books are studied by the Jury.
Kay Craddock asks if Breslauer will actively promote the Prize. Michael Steinbach replies that this matter has not yet been mentioned. Keith Fletcher says that we should not expect too much, because they probably think they will be getting this from us. Beb Fleck adds that it is the Committee who will publicize the Prize, and that it is working on it.
No more questions are asked, and the assembly proceeds to vote.
The proposal is carried unanimously.
Paul Feain reminds everyone that it is thanks to Bob Fleck and the ABAA that this deal may be made.
Michael Steinbach then reminds all the Presidents that they must encourage submissions to the Prize, and welcomes any further donation from the National Associations.
Arnoud Gerits then explains that Mitsuo Nitta was asked to be Chair of the Prize because he has many assets to get attention in Asia for the Prize. He knows, of course, that any bibliography published in an Asian language will have no chance of winning the Prize, unless it is translated. He is trying to promote the Prize in Asia. He has asked and received the help of a Japanese Professor. He has sent the Committee two letters filled with suggestions, among which the possibility for the Jury to accept books in electronic format, as maybe, the limit of a printed form submission might be outdated. He has also suggested that we hand out a second Prize or other rewards. Arnoud adds that up to now, he has received 6 entries; the Committee will draft a text to send out to publishers and magazines to encourage further entries. The deadline for submission is 31st December 2008. He has received all the files pertaining to the Prize from Raymond Kilgarrif and will study them carefully.
Umberto Pregliasco asks if there is a rule stating that an entry needs to be in printed form. He gives the example of ALAI where, to be accepted as a member, a rule stipulates that the dealer must have already published three catalogues, and where they now accept electronic catalogues.
Keith Fletcher then asks if manuscript bibliographies are still accepted. Arnoud Gerits and Bob Fleck tell him that an unpublished book will have a very limited audience - the author and the Prize committee - and that a winner of the Prize should serve a need which a manuscript does not serve. Furthermore, it might not be a good idea to accept manuscript entries, as there are no guarantees that they will ever be accepted by publishers.
14. Newsletter, Report from Tom Congalton.
To date, in 2007, we have issued two Newsletters, Issue 58, January: an eight-page, two color issue; and Issue 59, July (but not distributed until early September to avoid the Summer holidays): a sixteen-page, two color issue. We hope to have another issue ready to be mailed in mid-January.
In keeping with Michael Steinbach’s wishes to have a more frequently issued Newsletter, we have changed the Newsletter to its current format (the standard American letter-size, closely equivalent to the European A4 format).
Since I became editor, we have not offered, sold, or traded advertising for the Newsletter. Beginning with the next issue, we plan to adapt the advertising rates, previously formulated by Arnoud Gerits, to the current format, and offer advertising to our member nations and their individual associates, as well as to sell or trade advertising with other publications approved by the Committee. We will use the ILAB-Announce and ILAB-Presidents email lists to solicit advertising. After this step has been taken we will explore whether to expand the advertising program.
The Newsletter text has, to date, been composed mostly by Committee members. We will also use the email lists to expand the content and solicit contributions from our member affiliates, an effort that I hope the Presidents will both contribute to, and help us to promote.
To date we have expended $4697.68 of our $7000 annual budget for printing and shipping. This includes some shipping of the ILAB posters, which were printed in the U.S. The current weakness of the dollar has made printing in the U.S. attractive, but engendered additional shipping expense because the majority of our affiliates are in Europe. Any further expansion of the size or improvements to the Newsletter beyond our annual budget will be funded through advertising income.
01/24/2007 $1108.00 3000 Newsletters (#58)
09/06/2007 $1681.00 2500 Newsletters (#59)
01/15/2007 $ 696.75 2000 Posters (English/French
01/24/2007 $ 460.00 2000 Questionnaires
06/18/2007 $380.00 200 Posters (German/English)
01/23/2007 $ 16.94 Newsletters - US (to ABAA's printer via UPS)
02/09/2007 $589.65 Posters/Newsletters - Sweden, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Netherlands, France
02/12/2007 $235.35 Posters/Newsletters – Austria, Japan, Belgium, Switzerland
03/09/2007 $ 54.00 Newsletters - France
03/29/2007 $251.65 Newsletters - Italy, Norway, Brazil, Switzerland
06/25/2007 $105.30 Posters - Germany
09/04/2007 $ 24.69 Newsletters - US (to ABAA's printer via UPS)
09/04/2007 $736.40 Newsletters - To other affiliates (incomplete)
Total Newsletter Cost to date: $4697.68
This total does not include the cost of non-Newsletter printing, or the distribution costs of poster. It does include the cost of poster distribution when they were shipped together with the Newsletters. Some small distribution costs from the latest Newsletter have not yet been added.
He then asks if there are any questions or suggestions. Do we like this Newsletter? The answer is unanimously positive. He adds that he needs pictures and texts.
Arnoud Gerits adds that the Newsletter is an enormous work for Tom. It is easy to complain about it being very Anglo-Saxon, but if the various national associations don’t supply the editor with texts and be active about it, then all the burden will be on Tom’s shoulders and obviously, the result will be very Anglo-Saxon.
Frédéric Castaing stresses the need to exchange information between the committee and the editor of the Newsletter on the one side and the National Associations on the other: in particular the mailing of newsletters from National Associations to each other and the committee and its editor of the Newsletter would be of great importance.
Michael Steinbach urges the Presidents to distribute the Newsletter, or else all this work will be useless. The Committee also reminds the national associations which print a newsletter to send it to the Committee. The following national associations do have a newsletter: SLAM, ABA, ABAA, ABAC and ANZAAB (in an electronic form). Those who do not already do so will add the Committee and the other Presidents on their lists.
Alain Nicolas supports Frédéric Castaing in his suggestion that articles in the various Newsletters about fairs and news from trade associations and the like is very important for all of us. Information should reach everyone and our ILAB Newsletter is for everyone and as he points out, booksellers do read. And now with the developments concerning South America and Hong Kong is the best opportunity to show our affiliates that ILAB is not just concerned with Europe. He then apologises to the Meeting which he has to leave for personal urgent reasons.
Michael Steinbach announces the coffee break at 10:40 am, but wishes to welcome first the President of CINOA, Mr. Bo Knutsson.
17. Insurance for ILAB affiliates
The Meeting resumes at 11:00 am, with the arrival of Messrs. Richard Thompson, David Allway, and Joseph Thompson from Richard Thompson Insurance Brokers, who are introduced by Michael Steinbach.
They explain that their firm is an Independent Commercial Insurance Broker established in 1977. They take great pride in offering a high level of expertise and dedicated service. They specialise in insurance for the fine art and the valuables and collectables markets. They act on behalf of their clients and get paid from the insurer at Lloyds. During the past 20 years, they have developed a comprehensive understanding of antiquarian book dealing through the provision of the ABA Insurance Scheme in the United Kingdom. The scheme was created to provide ABA members with wider covers than any other commercial insurance package available, at reduced premium levels. They have, for over 10 years, successfully kept rates at a consistently low level, and have never had a claim refused. The ILAB Insurance Scheme is a new insurance policy which has been created specifically for members of ILAB to protect their requirements and particular needs. Significant benefits are achieved through providing such a scheme because a gross premium is generated by the collective, so as long as the scheme as a whole generates a profit, individual insurance rates are reduced and will remain constant. Richard Thompson Insurance will provide and service the policy on ILAB’s behalf. The policy will be exclusively for ILAB members, and will provide a unified solution for insurance in the book dealing market. Hiscox are Europe’s leading insurer of high value homes and fine art, with a long history of protecting valuable possessions and unique objects. Hiscox themselves collect, promote and sponsor art, and will cover ILAB members for all risks of loss or damage worldwide. ILAB members will have an opportunity to comment on the product, express requests and needs, and will therefore help to develop and grow the scheme. Richard Thompson Insurance and Hiscox rely on input from dealers within the market and consistently make changes to and improve their policies based on the clients’ suggestions.
The benefits of the policy include:
- Theft cover and cover for shoplifting
- Full retail/sales price settlement
- Broad wordings for the definition of stock
-Worldwide book fair attendance insured
- Insurance for sending stock anywhere in the world
- Cover for stock damaged whilst being restored, repaired or worked upon
- Deletion of the average condition
- Depreciation included for loss in value to items following damage
- Pairs and sets insured at the full value of the set
- Cover for the purchase of stolen or fraudulent books where the title is defective
- Cover for losses from unattended vehicles
- Stock insured whilst at auction houses
- Books held on consignment, in trust, or on commission, automatically insured
- Public/general liability
- Employer’s Liability/workers compensation
- Business interruption insurance
- Money cover
- Shop front and glass breakage cover
The cost of this policy is 0,225% of the sums insured.
Questions are then asked by the Meeting.
As a conclusion, it is noted that this Scheme is not compulsory, that each member can decide to join or not according to his needs. Even though they have been outstanding in the United Kingdom, it does not mean that they can become international overnight. The best way is to get the feedback from the dealers who will try them out.
Jelle Samshuijzen and James Hinck join the Meeting. However, due to technical problems, the presentation by James Hinck is delayed, and other points of the agenda are broached.
Nevine Marchiset explains that the second edition of the Directory has worked out much better than the first, because she collected and checked all the information on behalf of Publications UK. The advertising income for PUK was not excellent, but they are tied to ILAB for two more issues. The next issue will be ready on time for the Madrid Congress. She explains that it has been widely distributed at the New York, the Paris and the Olympia London Fair, including to the exhibiting dealers. Publications UK only sent the stock to three locations. The first location was at Tom Congalton’s bookshop in the US, the second at Arnoud Gerits’s in Amsterdam, and the third at Quaritch’s in London. The associations who wish to receive copies can ask either Arnoud or Tom to send them the requested number.
She then asks Bo Knutsson if his committee is happy with PUK for the printing of CINOA’s Directory. Bo explains that PUK prints about 6,800 copies, so that they have about 1,800 to hand out to customers.
Bo Knutsson presents CINOA which is a non-profit international federation of associations which was established more than 70 years ago. CINOA’s members are 30 art and antique associations from 19 countries. Through these associations CINOA represents more than 5000 dealers worldwide. Membership of CINOA is based on associations which bind their dealer members to adhere to reputable standards of quality and expertise, very similar to ILAB’s code of ethics. The CINOA secretariat, based in Brussels, has two official working languages: English and French. Why Brussels? Because it is where they can access important people in the Union. They have recently created a website www.cinoa.org. He shows the CINOA directory printed by PUK and hands it out to Michael Steinbach. A new president is elected every three years, and they are now looking into changing their by-laws in order to be able to accept as members other international umbrella organisations such as ILAB.
Michael Steinbach asks whether, if ILAB and CINOA join their forces together, will they have more weight in Brussels? The answer is yes. Bo adds that as small firms, antique dealers are powerless, but if they join forces together, they then become more powerful than auction houses.
Frédéric Castaing explains that in France the collaboration with CINOA and other Art Associations is very good and important. Bookdealers believing that many problems, such as Droit de Suite, are typical for Art but not for books make a serious mistake: it is important for all of us and will affect many bookdealers sooner or later.
Furthermore one needs to be practical: CINOA is a large organization and is present in Brussels and these two facts give CINOA a weight that should not be ignored. While we should be proud of the specific characteristics of our profession and while we should maintain our independence, we should at the same time seek cooperation where possible. The contact with the Art Trade in France gave SLAM the possibility to get the Grand Palais as venue for the bookfair.
If ILAB & CINOA joined forces, we would have two perspectives: national and international.
Umberto Pregliasco asks if CINOA restricts its membership to one association per country. He is told that CINOA accepts many associations per country. Umberto outlines this difference between the two organisations and wonders whether it would not be a handicap.
Arnoud Gerits then adds that he has attended their General Meeting in Sorento in Italy, where he was allowed in after the morning session. Unfortunately, their internet matters were handled in the morning. He hopes that for the next meeting, they will allow the ILAB representative to attend the whole meeting. The afternoon talk was dedicated to the problems caused by the auction houses. The Major auction houses now charge 25% + 12%. Maybe a legal challenge to this can be made. A market report was only given by the Swiss. CINOA also gives out a yearly Prize; the country which hosts the General Meeting also handles the Prize (10,000$), however, the money must not be spent by the winner for personal purposes but for a project. CINOA has changed its by-laws to allow organisations such as ILAB to join them. However, we should wait until they have finished writing their by-laws and rules to study the possibility of joining. We should only enter this as a partner organisation. Perhaps it would be a good idea to find a dealer who is at the same time a member of CINOA and ILAB to ask him to attend their annual meeting and give the committee a report. It would save time and money. We should also establish website links.
In any event, we have to work out a structure where we can join forces and lobby together in our negotiations with administrations. Whether it’s staying as we are, or joining together, or joining actions, we’ll have to see.
Michael Steinbach concludes that it is in the interest of ILAB to strengthen its ties with CINOA.
Adrian Harrington asks if the Presidents have noticed that ILAB is more present at various book fairs. This requires individual attention by volunteers to get the posters up, hand out the bookmarkers, etc. ILAB has bought two computers, one with a qwerty keyboard, the other with an azerty keyboard. They can be searched at book fairs by customers, where they are only linked to the ILAB website. There has been a controversy about allowing customers to search through the whole website where they can find books by non exhibitors, but the first search will show the results with the booth number and otherwise to get in touch with the appropriate dealer. One must not forget the customer, without whom we would not exist, and that he must not be allowed to leave with a bad experience of “sorry we don’t have what you are looking for”, but a much better “at present we do not have what you are looking for, but please leave us your name and your want, and we will contact you as soon as one of our dealers can satisfy your request.” Of course, the committee needs the feedback from the presidents to see if what it is doing is right. If the presidents are happy with what the committee is doing, then it will go on. But it needs local help.
Frédéric Castaing says that computers will never replace the experience a customer may feel upon seeing and touching books, and a book fair is first and foremost a place where people go for those reasons. Furthermore, his members do not agree to having paid an expensive booth while allowing non exhibitors possible sales.
Adrian replies that he agrees with him, it is a difficult problem. Even when people go to book fairs it does not mean that they know nothing about computers. Furthermore, when a dealer chooses books to take at a book fair, he cannot take along with him all his stock. Of course, at a book fair, a customer can touch and feel the books. The committee is now trying this experiment of computers at book fairs, but if the feedback is negative, then it will review it.
Michael Steinbach adds that the internet exists and we have to live with it. This feature is an additional service to the clients. Fairs are becoming more and more important because individual shops are disappearing.
Bo Knutsson adds that Fairs are venues where the dealers can compete with the auction houses.
Michael Steinbach concludes that we do not have all the answers and that we just try to do the best we can.
The Meeting adjourns for lunch at 1:10 pm and rejoins at 14:20pm.
19. Congress in Spain, September 2008
Gonzalo Pontes hands out the preliminary brochure containing the schedule. The Congress and Fair will take place from 8th to 13th September. They will produce and send invitations in Spanish, English and French and create a specific website for the occasion. Registration will also be possible through the Internet. He has arranged special rates with five, four and three star hotels, dealers will book directly their hotels, the AILA will not act as a booking agent. He will also propose rented apartments for rent at attractive prices. They will also arrange a deal with a customs office. Probably, about 30 Spanish dealers will exhibit, and he is counting on 60 exhibitors. The exhibition hall can accommodate 50 single stands and 14 large ones. He hopes that the Congress will attract at least 150 delegates, as it is the break even number. It will not be compulsory to do the congress in order to exhibit.
Michael Steinbach points out that only the big stand can be shared, and what will happen if a big number of dealers wish to participate in the fair? Perhaps all the stands could be shared, it would allow a greater number of participants. Perhaps the application form should warn that the places are limited at the book fair. Will a catalogue be printed? Not in printed form but on the internet perhaps? Otherwise, perhaps a fair guide with a list of exhibitors could be printed. Mr. Pontes is waiting to know whether the AILA will receive a financial sponsorship from the Ministry of Culture. He adds that no matter what, the congress and fair will not be cancelled. It depends on all of us to turn the event into a success. It the sponsorship from the Ministry is operational, then the Fair can work even with 50 exhibitors. Michael adds that there are no excuses not to attend the Congress/Fair, as length, duration and costs have been cut down, and the expenses have been kept as low as possible. The Presidents are urged to advertise the event and encourage their members to join.
Adrian Harrington expresses his congratulations to Mr. Pontes. The project is very well structured and the price is fair.
Frédéric Castaing adds that this event can reinforce AILA. He gives as an example the fact that 25 new members adhered to SLAM just in order to be able to participate to the Salon at the Grand Palais. He remarks that all and everyone does his best to make the Congress and fair a success: Presidents will promote the Congress and Fair and he will pay attention to it in the SLAM Newsletter: again he stresses that successful fairs and congresses are good for the National Associations, the affiliates and ILAB in general and efforts must be made to ensure success.
Gonzalo Pontes replies that since he has been elected President in Spring, 3 new members have joined the association. AILA wants to reach 80/90 members in a few years.
Umberto Pregliasco suggests that the printing of a small cheap black and white catalogue can make people come. He adds that he is planning to hold the next book fair in Bologna in Italy just after or just before the AIB meeting which will take place between the 25th and 28th September.
Bob Fleck asks what has happened to the Workshops of Presidents that Kay Craddock had created during her term. Will there be one in Madrid? He is told by the Committee that it depends whether there is are any controversial issues to be discussed or not. Kay Craddock then explains that the Workshop had been introduced to let the Presidents get to know one another in an unofficial atmosphere, a conversation where one can understand the point of view of the other. A lot of Presidents liked the workshops as it helped to get to know people. She adds that the length of a workshop is immaterial. Michael Steinbach replies that delegates have often complained about the length of meetings and that the workshop should be conditional on the amount of work. He adds that all the national presidents had been invited on the presidents’ discuss list to make subject proposals for the workshop, but that there had hardly been any response, nor any proposal made.
The question is raised as to how many new Presidents will there be in Madrid: CLAM (Belgium), NVvA (Holland), ABAA (USA) and ABAC (Canada). Allan Shelley then suggests that even a couple of hours before a General Meeting might make it easier to meet at the General Meeting. Peter Tinslay adds that perhaps small groups could be organised around set topics. Michael Steinbach repeats that all the national presidents had been invited on the presidents’ discuss list to make proposals for the workshop, but that none was done.
Frédéric Castaing remarks that, while he greatly appreciates the workshops and while he agrees that they have been useful, there must be a real topic to discuss for the Presidents, otherwise it is waste of time. A workshop just to have a workshop is not a good idea.
A vote is taken amongst the presidents to establish who is in favour of workshops:
In favour: 15
Abstentions: 6 (SLAM, VEBUKU/SLACES, SACR, VAO, ABLA)
To conclude, it is suggested to organise in Madrid on Sunday 7th September 2008 an informal meeting among the presidents, around 5:00 pm, after the Committee meeting. If necessary, the Committee meeting can even start on Saturday 6th September 2008.
16 B. Vialibri.net: a presentation by James Hinck
James Hinck, an ILAB affiliate, has created the Metabooksearch site www.vialibri.net. He has been invited to give his views on the future of bookselling on the internet and present Via libri. He starts off by explaining how the Google Library Project will be able to help antiquarian book dealers, because it is creating an index to all printed books. By using relevant search terms it is now possible to discover significant source materials in places where no one had ever thought to look before. Obscure books will be rediscovered for their relevance to subjects that had never previously been connected with. People will discover and want books they did not previously know existed. And the booksellers who know how to find and evaluate these books may find themselves in a new golden age.
Communication on the internet is done by means of two distinct types of network. The first type is a “centralised network”. Data communication between two users is impossible. There is always a middleman. The second type is what is referred to as a peer-to-peer network. Any part of the network can communicate with any other part. Each part stores its own data. The important parts of this type are not middlemen, but agents which show the different users how to connect to one another. Our individual web sites exist on this distributed network and connect with our customers by means of it. The future of book selling on the internet will align itself with the second model. Buyers and sellers communicate directly and transact their business without a middleman between them.
But that is not, unfortunately, the present state of things. Where do collectors buy books today on the internet? The most successful sites are Ebay and Abebooks. Ebay’s success can be attributed to three factors: pictures, fresh stock, and browsing. The thrill of discovery is fundamental to the psychology of collecting. Abebooks’ success can be attributed to three factors: its size, its wants matching program as the number of wants that Abe has accumulated over the years is enormous, and its marketing. It operates an aggressive affiliate program that pays commissions for sales generated by links on its partnered sites. Which explains the high commissions sellers have to pay Abe. It is hard to imagine that a competitor could come along and overtake either at its own game. We have to invent a third model. That would be our challenge.
Mr. Hinck then goes on to describe Vialibri.net.
It allows to sort and filter by publication date. When searching, it allows to select the most expensive items first, or the cheapest ones. It allows to look for first editions or for signed books. There is also a setting for minimum and maximum price. There are also two other filters: phrase searching or exclusion. Sorting wheat from chaff is what Vialibri is built to do. It also offers a quick translation service into 14 languages. It has a tool for searching library catalogues, including most major union catalogues. More features are planned. One of them will take all the permanent wants and match them against the latest uploads on all sites searched: only items which haven’t previously been seen will then be shown. Internet catalogues are listed on the left hand side of the home page, it’s a free service to all book dealers.
He concludes by explaining that the Internet has revolutionised the world of common book selling. Amazon, Abebooks and others have changed for ever the sales of new or second-hand common books. But rare books are very different, as they contribute too little to the sales of such websites. They are incompatible with a business model driven irresistibly towards ISBN titles and other forms of product standardisation. Rare books will not be standardised. It is their very uniqueness that makes them desirable. The future is taking us to individual web sites showing lots of pictures, with lists of new arrivals inviting the prospective buyers to browse. The challenges will lie in building these individual sites and helping the customers to find them. This is where the ILAB has a role to play.
16 A. Website and Database
a - b - e) Contents Information, Web Editor and Additional Contents
Tom Congalton gives the following report:
The Committee has hired for a modest sum a part time website editor for www.ilab.org. His name is Corey Bechelli, he works in my office under my partial supervision. With the help of Rockingstone, announcements, articles, extensive links, additional photos, ILAB newsletter, Newsletters of National Associations, have been added to the website. Any National Associations who wishes may forward their Newsletter to us at Corey@betweenthecovers.com.
Corey is beginning to re-index the existing articles on the site, interesting archives of older articles, obituaries, and announcements. For instance, we have just renewed the announcement for the Stuttgart book fair. We are continuing to add minutes and reports on the members only section of the site.
Again, as with the Newsletter, we need submissions of articles, announcements, and other content, especially in languages other than English! And you are encouraged to submit them.
While the minutes will of course continue to be posted in both French and English, articles can be submitted in any language. In the interest of adding content and in order to make the ILAB website a more popular and visible online destination, we will be happy to post their articles on appropriate subjects in any language and eventually we hope to index them by individual languages.
c - h) Rockingstone, Request from the German, Austrian and Swiss Associations
Jelle Samshuijzen states that he feels slowly that we are getting somewhere, the sales and the visits are improving. Concerning communication: a monthly report is now sent to the ILAB Committee, containing statistics and work done, he hopes it will be spread more widely to the Presidents and to the affiliates. He would like to send a monthly newsletter to the affiliates, giving a link to this report which could be posted on the members only section of the website. Thanks to Corey Bechelli, the content has grown lately. So what is Rockingstone doing in exchange of the money it gets? On one hand, there is the database necessitating work and upkeep of the servers, and the other hand there is the website. Rockingstone receives from ILAB 12,750€ a year. They host a very busy site, they run a special server as well as a backup. Normally, such a service costs about 500€ a month. Which adds up to an annual 6,000€. This is just for the hosting, not for the work done. Which leaves 6,750€ for the work done. They spend, and that’s a modest estimate, about 1,200 hours work per year. Which amounts to about 5.5€ an hour. Perhaps the Presidents can have it done cheaper elsewhere? The real question that needs to be asked is, why does Rockingstone do all this for so little money? Jelle himself was a bookdealer for 15 years, they have grown into this, they like what they are doing. He needs to be paid, however, for the work done and be able to pay his costs. Rockingstone has always had good dealings with the Committee. As for the database, he receives a total (from the participants) of 250,000€ with 600 participants. They have 2 servers, and he has to employ highly skilled people, and such people are in a very high demand, and he therefore has to pay them high salaries. He also has to pay taxes, rent, the accountant’s fees, bank charges, etc. He states that he is not rich, and that at each end of the month, it is difficult to make ends meet. Rather than waste his time in having to explain this again and again at each meeting, he would much rather look at the new technologies of the future, and be able to develop their use for ILAB, like for example what is known as web two. These new techniques will ease searches and he hopes to be able to implement some of them in the coming year, which will mean buying new servers, as these technologies need a lot of disk space. The problem that Rockingstone has to face with the National Associations is that it builds up relationships with a committee, then a new committee comes along and wonders why the preceding committee spent that much money. Perhaps, in order to avoid this, whenever a new President is elected or a new internet person nominated, they must maintain more contacts to renew a good relationship. Rockingstone is dependent on how the national associations give out the information to their members. This is why communication is very important. A forum was set up a while ago, he would like to promote it more. Many mailing lists exist.
The Presidents react by asking a few questions.
Norbert Donhofer thanks Jelle for his contribution which makes things clearer. This, added to SLAM’s financial proposal, will make things more transparent in the future. They did