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Dealer News:

All of us in the Guild would like to offer our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Barbara McLennan of the The Book Collector. Barbara recently had heart surgery and is at home now, resting and recovering.


Buy Rare, Collectible and Out-Of-Print Books at our Second Canberra Bookfair

St John’s Hall

45 Constitution Ave

Reid ACT

Friday 31 May – 5.30pm to 8.00pm

Saturday 1st June – 9.30am to 5.00pm

Sunday 2nd June – 12 noon to 4.00pm

We will have 10 dealers exhibiting a fine range of books. A list of dealers is to follow shortly.

Book Repair Workshop

Recently we held our Bookevent2 at The Cross Art + Books where John Turner of the Bookbinders Guild kindly ran a workshop to show us how to make simple repairs and to gain a deeper understanding of the bookbinder’s craft. Here are the notes from the workshop:

Some simple book repair and refurbishment tips

  1. Tightening joints on a cloth covered book (Outer hinge OK, inner joints OK, but boards a little loose).
  • Particularly with small books, results can be excellent using this method. What we are doing is reconstituting the cloth, cheesecloth (mull) lining and the endpaper at the joint.
  • Load a knitting needle or kebab skewer with PVA (available at art shops) and work it gently up and down, inside the joint, under the cloth.
  • Close the book.
  • Use a bone folder to shape the groove on the outside of the joint.
  • Open again in 1 hour or so.
  1. Cloth case – fraying at head, tail, corners.
  • Don’t overdo this, but the PVA will generally dry clear and the sheen will often match the cloth.
  • Work a very small amount of PVA onto the worn area with fingers.
  • Mould misshapen areas at head and tail into shape.
  • Leave for 1 hour.
  • Remaining frayed bits can be trimmed off with a small scissors to neaten.
  1. Cloth case – stained or faded patches.
  • Slightly dampen a commercial cleaning cloth (untreated types such as blue and white or wettex), and brush gently across both the faded and brighter areas. (Most old cloths are water soluble).
  • The trick here is to start carefully and work up to a bit more pressure. What you are doing is spreading the colour – taking a little from the fresher areas to replace the colour lost in other areas.
  • You may care to do a test in an inconspicuous spot first.
  • Wait for one board to dry before doing the other.
  • If you are careful, gilt decoration is usually not affected. Any pigment lying on the gold can be rubbed off. But, this is not always the case and you may care to test small area first. Colour blocking on the cloth (e.g. black) is a little more tricky and some dulling and discolouration often results.
  1. Cloth case – colour dulled.
  • Some of the original sheen can be put back via wax (I use hair wax).
  • Apply a very small amount to a cloth (or the palm of your hand) and work in.
  • Work carefully – if too much is put on in one patch it can be hard to even out.
  • Work lightly over the whole area in even sweeps.
  1. Repairing broken inner joints (boards not too loose, but endpaper split).
  • A strip of thinnish cream coloured Japanese tissue (Kozo is a good variety) can be used to repair.
  • Don’t cut the strip, but score the edges with a sharp pint and tear along the grain. The grain on Japanese tissue can be seen by looking at the paper against light – the grain matches the long lines. Grain should run on the book from head to tail.
  • Strip should be just wide enough to cover the width of the joint, and be the same length as the endpaper head to tail.
  • Apply Paste or a PVA/paste mixture with a brush. (Paste down on a sheet of glass or a piece of Gladbake to prevent sticking).
  • Carefully lift up the strip with both hands and place over the split. The strip should just reach the vertical surface of the joint.
  • Rub down carefully with your fingers, or the bone folder.
  • Leave open for a few hours to dry.
  • This method also strengthens and tightens loose joints.
  1. Detached plates
  • These can usually be tipped in by putting a very narrow strip of PVA or paste along the inner edge.
  • If you have steady hand, just hold the plate and run a brush along the inner edge.
  • Alternatively, lay down the plate on some waste paper, lay another piece on top, just exposing 2 or 3mm on the inner edge and apply adhesive.
  • Open the book to where the plate should lie, carefully align the plate, head and tail, tip in so that the inner edge of the plate touched the inner fold of the book.
  • Use a bone folder to press along the inner edge of the plate so that it beds in.
  • Close the book and let dry.

Australia Post price increases

They are doing it again!

Carol from Turn the Page books has kindly alerted us to another price increase from Australia Post. This time it looks like it is just about on everything!

Here is the link to the official webpage:

So get in before the 22nd of October to beat the price hike!

Canberra Bookfair


Buy rare, collectible and out-of-print books from reputable bookdealers at the 1st CANBERRA BOOKFAIR. Ten professional dealers will sell their best, quirkiest and latest treasures. Experience the thrill of finding that elusive copy. Get off on the sensuous smell, feel and look of real books. This is a rare chance to track down that elusive title.  If you’re researching your family history, yearning for a childhood favourite or looking for the last volume in that series, you’ll have to check out this bookfair.

St John’s Hall,

45 Constitution Drive

Reid ACT

Friday 1 June – 5.30-8.00pm

Saturday 2 June – 9.30-5.00pm

Sunday 3 June 2012 – 12 noon-4.00pm

Travels in the Tardis with Booksellers B & B : Just North

 An early morning at a school fete and a book fair then off after lunch north to Port Stephens. A good set of books has been bought on E-bay for very little money but pickup only so we check in to a campsite and go in search of dinner before calling in to collect the books. A pleasant couple: he is a long distance truck  driver, she has just retired and they are shedding themselves of their belongings before he retires and they take off permanently in their large caravan. We chat for some time before returning to set up camp.

The weather is fine and sunny, the fish are biting so our days there are extended. As usual, one day is set aside for buying. A possible special order is found at a charity shop and then just as we are leaving a real gem is put out on sale: a particularly good pop-up book on the Titanic so that gets bought as well. One of the bookshops produced nothing of interest: small & overcrowded and the bookseller reading at his desk.

The second proved elusive. Even the Post Office didn’t know where it was. Eventually we run it to earth in a back alley off one of the main streets just before 4.00 p.m. It looks promising. Well laid out & well lit but as we open the door we are told:  ”I’m closing in a few minutes. You can have a quick look round but don’t think you can stay for half an hour”. How welcoming!

He asks: “What if we’re buying?” as he reaches out to pick a possible special order from the shelf. “No, I’ve got a life” she says so we leave pondering the incomprehensibility (to us) of someone turning away a customer

Coming home, we call in to The Entrance to Richards Old Books. Richard was a very good friend to us as we were starting out in bookselling and we bought vast quantities of books from him at the beginning. Sadly he died some years ago and his wife has kept the shop on but it never seems the same without seeing Richard there. Two books bought: one for a customer & the other a pretty good bet for sales.

-Contributed by Barbara & Bill McLennan (The Book Collector)

Why is cheaper to ship books from the UK than within Sydney??

Many a bookseller has asked the frustrated question, “Why is it cheaper to send a book from the UK to Sydney, than within Sydney???”  , a writer for the Fancy Goods Bookseller + Publisher Blog tries to reveal the answer to this troubling question…

-Content suggested by Carol @ Turn The Page Books

Two things to come out of Borders closing…

The closing of Borders in Australia and the US has prompted much discussion about the end of the book.  Here’s two quick snaps on the end of the a bookstore.  One to make you laugh and one to make you cry.

This one might bring a tear to the eye…

And if you have ever worked in a bookstore, this one will make you nod in agreement…

Thanks to Carol @ Turn The Page Books for posting these links!

Collecting Motoring Literature

As motor vehicles have been around since the 1880s there are quite a lot of publications that can be collected.  There are books that were published not long after cars were made.  The oldest one in my collection is dated 1894.  Naturally these are now rare, although early magazines are more readily available.

There are many categories of motoring books.  There are the original publications as mentioned, plus many titles have been written on the subject of old cars, or veteran, vintage and classic cars.  Then there is motor sport which includes rallies and trials, both for cars and motorcycles.  As expected the early ones are more collectable.

Histories of marques are readily available, especially the more well known makes such as Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, MG, Porsche, BMW, Ford and Holden, here in Australia.  I am sure other makes are more readily available in their countries of origin.  Some of the larger motor manufacturers publish an in-house magazine.  Ford and Austin, for example, started quite early with pre-World War I copies occasionally turning up.

As well as books, there are brochures, magazines, workshop manuals, handbooks, parts catalogues, motor racing programmes, early advertisements in newspapers and magazines, photographs, postcards, and stamps featuring motor vehicles.  Even road maps and guides fall into the motoring literature section.

Motoring literature also encompasses commercial vehicles and motorcycles, and even farm and road making machinery.  And don’t forget traction engines, as they are classed as motoring for some enthusiasts.  And last but not least of motoring type publication to collect –  model cars.

–From Peter and Caroline of Booksnbits


Whilst threatening weather kept the numbers attending CLUNES BOOKTOWN 2011 down there was still rich pickings on offer  for those book collectors who braved the icy winds.

In what is now firmly established on the Australian  book collector’s  calendar as the premier book event Clunes Booktown once again attracted a large contingent of book dealer’s from all over Australia with books on every subject on offer.

Food & wine stalls and street entertainment added to the occasion and for two days this old goldmining town really came alive.