Florida Antiquarian Booksellers' Association members can help you find the titles that are missing in your collection or provide help and advice in the care of books you already own.
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We encourage you to explore the site and bookmark it to check back with us often. Of special interest is the complete listing of FABA dealers throughout the state. This is your source for bibliophile resources.
Although much has been written about the death of the printed book (brought on, it is said, by the advent of the e-book), there are ample reasons for optimism among book lovers.
“The Internet has returned us to the alphabet … ” said writer and critic Umberto Eco in his new book This Is Not the End of the Book: A Conversation. “From now on, everyone has to read.”
In 2010, when Nicholas Negroponte, the e-media visionary, predicted that the sale of e-books would overtake printed ones by 2015, pundits seemed to rejoice at the demise of the book as we know it. Amazon had just announced that it was selling more e-books than printed ones. Two years before, The Times of London had already grimly announced that “the slow death of the book may be with us.” It didn't happen. Although there was a brief surge in sales of e-books, readers made it clear they preferred the traditional volumes, and they weren't accepting any compromise. Indeed, for several years now, publishers have recorded steady increases in traditional book sales.
As Mark Twain might have said, the demise of the book has been greatly exaggerated. It isn't a new phenomenon. In an article in the Los Angeles Times Review of Books, author Ben Ehrenreich called it biblionecrophilia. He suggested that this unnatural obsession with the death of books has been with us for a long time, almost since the beginning of mass-produced books in the 19th century. It appears, therefore, that the end of the printed book isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
For true bibliophiles, the older the book, the more we enjoy exploring each page. We experience the visceral pleasure of opening a rare volume — the feel of the binding, the smell of the ink, the knowledge that someone has enjoyed it before us. “I love owning books that have belonged to others before me,” says Jean-Claude Carriere, who co-wrote This Is Not the End … with Umberto Eco.
Genuine book lovers also know the sheer pleasure of visiting bookstores, encountering fellow book worms and interacting with knowledgeable booksellers, browsing the stacks, discovering hidden and unexpected treasures. For the true bibliophile, the experience is more than just the reading.
"The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved."
— Umberto Eco
In its article on the slow death of the printed book, The Times of London asked: Is it the paper or the words written on it that count? Both, true book enthusiasts would reply. The paper, binding, typography, illustrations and the ink are vital components of the entire package.
It is comforting to note the increased activity of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, where antiquarian book professionals gather in the summer to pore over the paper, ink and bindings of ancient tomes to learn not only their contents but also the stories of the objects themselves.
The true reason for attending RBS involves the world-class faculty and the professional level of attendees. Professors and students travel thousands of miles for the opportunity to be a part of something totally inspiring. RBS transcends the strict term of "bibliophiles;" this is about scholars, librarians, academicians, serious collectors and dealers sharing their knowledge and experience in the presence of top experts as they collectively approach wide ranging aspects of the printed word in a most serious and professional atmosphere. Class trips to The Library of Congress and The Folger Shakespeare Library only serve to enhance a perfect experience for each scholar.
Michael Suarez, the English literature scholar and Jesuit priest who runs the Rare Book School, shares an optimism about the future of antiquarian books.
“I actually think that the digital is making us much more aware of the form of the printed book,” he told The Washington Post. “And so I think this is a moment of rare opportunity, rather than a moment of great crisis. This whole Gutenberg elegy, death-of-the-book thing — I’m not buying it.”
Umberto Eco went further. The book is perfect as is. “Alterations to the book-as-object have modified neither its function nor its grammar for more than 500 years. The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved,” Eco wrote.
As for bookstores, Eco is equally optimistic. “We are living in the first era in any civilization to have so many bookshops, so many beautiful, light-filled bookshops to wander around in, flicking through books.” Indeed.
– T. Allan Smith
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