This section was last revised early in 2019. We noted in 2014 that the number of book fairs and dealer participation in the existing book fairs in general had declined, "due primarily to the sometimes exasperating, sometimes exhilarating effects of the Internet on the antiquarian book business." Exasperation has now overtaken exhilaration, as sites like abebooks, where we post, have become less productive, cluttered as they are with bad actors, and our own participation in local books fairs declined as well for several years, for lack of enthusiasm on our part or because they ceased to take place. A similar decline was observable in German book fairs. We were impressed when the first European book fair at which we exhibited, Quodlibet in Hamburg, was opened by the mayor of the city and treated as an important cultural event, but it did not last long. We welcomed the chance to take part in the very professional antiquarian fairs that took place within the framework of the traditional book fairs at Leipzig and its more recent rival, Frankfurt, which we stuck with from its inception for more than a decade. We stopped exhibiting in Frankfurt in 2016 primarily because of logistical difficulties. Like other fairs the number of exhibitors at Frankfurt declined to a critical bare minimum, and it was reorganized in 2018 as a "book and art" fair (for information on the Leipzig, Frankfurt and other German antiquarian fairs see www.abooks.de). We were pleased to hear from the organizer that former customers missed us. Taking advantage of the opportunity afforded previous exhibitors of including a showcase entry in the fair catalog, we had a spread of four pages offering the variety that collectors and institutions had come to expect from us. Nevertheless, we found that customers were hesitant to order from the US because of the expense of shipping and customs fees. Since we began selling internationally through the Internet - a matter of some twenty years now - the cost of shipping has skyrocketed by several hundred percent, with no end in sight, and customs barriers, at least in Germany, have increased from a nuisance to a considerable expense for buyers. Not entirely dissuaded, we are appearing again in the 2019 catalog. A pdf of the entire fair catalog including our listings is available as of mid-September, for which use the above address for abooks.de.
Alongside the downward trends there are also countertrends. With the superabundance of books, including many formerly considered as scarce, there has been a noticeable shift in the antiquarian market toward paper items and ephemera. This kind of material has become an important part of our stock. After a hiatus we returned in 2017 to the Greenwich Village Book Fair, now prospering under professional management. In addition, we have just exhibited for the third year in a row at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Fair, which has gotten stronger with each passing year and includes dealers from abroad as well as many major US firms. An extra benefit is the lively neighborhood of Greenpoint with its authentic Polish restaurants and bakeries, and trendy Williamsburg next door. (For a schedule, see www.bookandpaperfairs.com.) We now find that things have come full circle and US-based fairs offer the best opportunity to extend our presence. We visited London in 2018 for the exciting June book fair season and that remains an enticing possibility.
In 2017 a visit to Mexico left us with a great admiration for the country (and a few books, of course), which we hope will be made concrete in a special list related to Mexicana and further explorations. We acquired a few years ago a large collection of books relating to Persia and Persian literature, including many in Farsi. It has been slow going to catalog them adequately. A list is in preparation which, with additional materials from other sources, will also cover besides Persia other countries of predominantly Islamic culture. We thought the march of time had ended our encounters with German exile libraries, but to our surprise we were not done, and in late 2018 we had the opportunity of purchasing a number of books with an exceptional provenance. Further lists concentrating on interesting ephemera are planned. See Catalogues on this website for further information.