Monday, December 21, 2015

Why do you like used bookstores?

We've long admired the clever and entertaining videos posted by the folks at Bookman Bookstore in Orange, California. So when owner/filmmaker David Hess suggested we make a video together, we were more than happy to participate.

David, who has been making short films since he got his hands on a Super 8 camera when he was 16 years old, offered a script. We liked it and set about shooting our part. We've noticed over time that Bookman Bookstore seems to have a cadre of actor/staffers who frequently show up in his videos. We just have Mike and Sarah, and although they participate in their share of videos, they admittedly do so out of necessity, not for any great love of being in front of the camera. Besides, the script called for multiple characters who couldn't be played by either of them.

We were fortunate to find willing friends, who did an outstanding job in our estimation. Special thanks (in order of appearance) go to Diann O'Connor, who is an avid reader and participates in a local book club; Karleigh Chase, an actor who has appeared in local theater and independent films and recently returned from trip to Los Angeles and Vancouver for an indy production to be distributed nationally; Niki Smith, a local interior designer and long-suffering spouse of our video guy, T. Allan Smith; and Jason Dudney, a local entrepreneur who, so far as we know, has no aspirations as an actor but nevertheless possesses considerable camera presence. We appreciate your participation.

The video is called Why Do You Like Used Bookstores? We think the message is an important one. Local independent bookstores need the support of local book lovers to survive. We are grateful for the support we've received for almost four decades in St. Petersburg. If you agree, you're welcome to share this video with your friends.  We'd be very happy if you did.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

It'll be book fair time before you know it

A new post on the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair blog reminds us that the book fair is not that far away. It's on March 11-13, 2016, at this writing just 81 days away, according to the counter on the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association website.

Of course, we've already been putting books aside we're planning to bring to the book fair. It's a process that takes time. We have an alcove to fill up and it isn't something that you can do instantly. As usual, we expect to be in Alcove 3, and we're looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends there.

The pitch on the book fair blog is to buy book fair tickets as stocking stuffers for Christmas, which isn't a bad idea but since there are still a few days left before Christmas, we'd also suggest making a stop in the store. We have lots of books from which to choose, and most of them would make great Christmas gifts. If you have a real bibliophile you're buying for, we'd suggest both a book (or books) and the book fair tickets.

The book fair in March will be the 35th one, and we've been there for all of them. We'll have more to say about all those intervening years later but suffice it to say that we've enjoyed every one of them.

In the mean time, we're finishing up on this year's run up to Christmas, and we're wishing all our friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Our Thankful Sale: Leatherbound volumes

Sarah knows exactly what would make the perfect Christmas gift for your book lover. Music by Kevin MacLeod.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Our Thankful Sale – In a customer's words

After Allan Roit and his friend read Our Thankful Sale post card when we posted in on Facebook, they had to come down to check out our sale. Can't blame them. After all, everything under $100 is 50% off and everything over $100 is 20% off. That includes books, maps, and prints. So we asked Allan if he'd like to make a video about our sale. He did it right on the spot. No script. No rehearsal. Just spoken from the heart. Thanks, Allan! We appreciate it. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Our Rare Book Cafe: aviation and old maps

We got a laugh as we showed an 1830s map of Florida showing Mosquito County.
We had a grand time on Rare Book Cafe, the new Internet program devoted to antiquarian books. We were on Wednesday afternoon with our friends Steven Eisenstein and Thorne  Donnelley, who serve as co-hosts for the program, which is sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

Steven is the owner of A-Book-A-Brac Shop in Miami Beach and Thorne owns Liberty Books in West Palm Beach. Both are exhibitors each year at the Florida Antiqurian Book Fair, and both generously volunteer their time to make Rare Book Cafe happen twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We appreciate that.

The program, which you can watch if you follow this link, give us an opportunity to show some of the amazing items in a huge collection of aviation books we acquired awhile back. There are some truly outstanding pieces in the collection that will be of tremendous interest to fans of anything having to do with flying. Among the items we showed was a 1909 airplane catalog offering all the parts you would have needed to put together your very own flying machine. You could order the fabric, guy wires, and everything else needed for your Wright Brothers plane or several other makes.

There also was an instruction pamphlet for aerial combat during World War I. Pilots were instructed to tie themselves into their cockpits to afford them more confidence in looping aerial maneuvers, especially if the trick didn't result in vanquishing the enemy. At the top of each page, presumably to keep the objective squarely in front of each trainee, are the words TAKE DOWN THE HUN.

We mentioned some other items in the aviation collection but there are far too many to cover in one sitting. Maybe we'll have to revisit the subject later.

Another item we were pleased to share was a vintage Florida map that just came in. It's an extraordinary piece from the 1830s with which we should spend some more time. Everybody got a kick out of the designation of Mosquito County, which took up a big chunk of what is now Orange, Seminole, Osceola and some other counties in the Central Florida area. The area of the Keys, Miami, the Everglades, and point north were all part of Monroe County back then. Steven noted that there was no Miami Beach (where he lives) in those days.

Steven and Thorne shared stories, anecdotes, and items of interest as did Edie Eisenstein, Steven's wife, who has a large collection of miniature books.

Thank you to everyone for sharing your time, talent, and stories, and thank you for inviting us to participate. We'll see you again on Rare Book Cafe.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

We're on Rare Book Cafe today! Join us!

We're  on Rare Book Cafe today and we'll be sharing a look at some of our recently acquired collection of aviation books. We hope you can join us.

Rare Book Cafe is a new live streaming program accessible on the Internet at You sign in with your Twitter account, then search for Rare Book Cafe under Scheduled programming. Use a Chrome or Firefox browser. It won't work on other browsers yet. If you'd rather just watch instead of participating, you can see it live on the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair blog. Just click on the link. After it's all over, you can still tune in to the replay at the same link.

We would be remiss in not mentioning that we're in the midst of Our Thankful Sale during the month of November. Everything under $100 is available at 50% off its regular price. Everything over $100 is available at 20% off. That includes books, of course, but also maps and prints. If we have time, we'll show you some of our extensive collection of maps as well.

The Rare Book Cafe is sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and affords book lovers an extraordinary opportunity to learn about and enjoy seeing rare books and talking to antiquarian book dealers. It's the next best thing to being at a book fair.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thank you for being our customer!

This is the time of year we all pause to reflect on the many abundant blessings in our lives. For us, our loyal customers throughout the years are among those many blessings. After all, our customers are our friends. This special sale is our way of showing our gratitude for nearly four decades of support. Consider this an invitation to stop by and see us during Our Thankful Sale throughout November.

Monday, October 26, 2015

LIVE at the Times Festival of Reading

We had a grand time at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Saturday, not because we had scores of people waiting to have their books evaluated. We didn't. In fact, there weren't any. However, it did afford us time to look more closely at some recent acquisitions of our own.

We appeared on the new live streaming platform program Rare Book Cafe, which is sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. There's a recording of the program above.

It's always a delight to talk with Steven Eisenstein and Thorne Donnelley, the co-hosts of Rare Book Cafe. Steven is the owner of A-Book-A-Brac Books in Miami Beach and Thorne owns Liberty Books in West Palm Beach.

We showed an emblem book from the 1550s with its elaborate illustration and design. We wanted to contrast that design with a Kelmscott Press edition from the 1890s, also a beautiful volume.

Although we had a few technical difficulties, the session went well. It was good to be able to share these beautiful books. After we left, Steven and Thorne went on to discuss a number of other interesting volumes, and Edie Eisenstein joined in with some of her miniature books.  Thank you to Steven and Thorne for hosting Rare Book Cafe.

You can visit Rare Book Cafe live on Episodes are broadcast every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Everybody will be in Brooklyn Sept. 19-20

We’re headed out again, this time to Brooklyn for the final leg of our three-fair back-to-back road trip. The Brooklyn Books Art Photos Design Exposition and Sale is in its second year, and promises to be an exciting show.

More than 60 ABAA booksellers are expected to be among the 150 dealers in antiquarian books, of course, as well as fine press editions, ephemera, art books, manuscripts, painting, sculpture, fine art prints, vintage photographs, contemporary photographs, daguerreotypes, vintage jewelry, and antiques.

We expect to see a lot of our friends there (booksellers who exhibit at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair every March), including the fine folks from Between the Covers Rare Books ABAA, Bookleggers Used Books ABAA, Bartleby’s Books ABAA, B&B Rare Books, Colebrook Book Barn ABAA, Bauman Rare Books ABAA, Doyle’s Books, First Folio ABAA, G. Davis Rare Books ABAA, Kenneth Mallory Bookseller ABAA, L&T Respess Books ABAA, Lorne Bair Rare Books ABAA, Old New York Book Shop ABAA, Peter L. Stern & Co. ABAA, and more.

Last year’s show was marked by what The New Antiquarian blog called “the youthful energy and hipster vibe of the show-goers.” There is an enthusiastic optimism about this show that is nice to see. Read this account by John Schulman, of Caliban Book shop in Pittsburgh.

Interestingly, this show is set on the same weekend as the Brooklyn Book Festival, which has only  new books, and the New York Arts Book Fair, which is in Queens and about six miles away. The critical mass of multiple events for book lovers is certain to be a benefit for all.

If you can make it to the show, we’d love to see you. If not, we’ll see you at the shop when we get back.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rare Book Cafe: A program for book lovers

We participated in an interesting project on Wednesday – the live broadcast of a conversation between book dealers in different parts of Florida on a new program called Rare Book Cafe. Although we had a formidable task before us – packing for the Brooklyn Books Art Photos and Design Expo on September 19-20 – this little interlude on Wednesday afternoon was kind of fun, and a welcome respite.

The project is sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, and is intended to serve as an online meeting place for people in the rare book trade and people who can't get enough of antiquarian books, who thrive on absorbing as much information as possible about them. You know who you are.

There were some technical difficulties, of course. This new live streaming platform called Blab is still in beta, which means the folks who created it have a working model up and running but it still has quirks. Be that as it may, it was a delight to participate in conversation with Steven Eisenstein in Miami Beach and Thorne Donnelley in West Palm Beach. There were watchers as well, though none of them jumped into the available fourth chair. Apparently they only wanted to hear us swap stories, which we did.

Live streaming has been around for a long time (think video teleconferencing). What's different now is that this is free and accessible to people without a lot of special equipment, and it has a built-in mechanism for viewers to participate by sending text messages. To take part in the discussion or even just to watch and listen, all you need is a desktop computer and a decent wifi connection. Blab works on a Google Chrome browser or a Firefox browser. (That was one of the technical difficulties we had. We at first tried to log on with a Safari browser.) The Blab account and the Twitter account are both free, too, and take only a few minutes to set up.

What's intriguing about all this is the possibilities for connecting not only with book dealers around the world (assuming some of them want to stay up late to talk to us) but also with book lovers everywhere. Never before has such a possibility been so accessible to so many people.

This is an ongoing project. Rare Book Cafe will be on the air at least on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. EDT and Saturdays at 2:30 EDT. Also, Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is posting recorded episodes on  the blog. It is an exciting time we live in. The irony of using a 21st century mechanism to bring together people who perpetually live in the 16th and 17th centuries is just too delicious.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

See you at the Georgia book fair this weekend

Well, we're heading out again, this time to The 2015 Georgia Book and Paper Fair in Decatur in the Atlanta suburbs.

The show is in a new location this year -- the gymnasium at the First Baptist Church in Decatur. In other years it has been up in Marietta, north of Atlanta in Cobb County. This year's show is in conjunction with the AJC Decatur Book Festival, an event sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and featuring new books and authors.

The keynote event features author Erica Jong, who wrote the groundbreaking 1973 novel Fear of Flying that caused a stir because of its attitudes toward female sexuality. Jong is now 73 years old and is promoting her new book, Fear of Dying. Jong has written 11 novels, seven non-fiction books, and several poetry collections in her four-decade career. Wouldn't be a bit surprised to find some of her books among dealers' offerings in our show.

As for us, we recently acquired a vast collection of aviation books and we're taking many of them to Decatur, where we're certain to find airplane enthusiasts. We're also taking a good selection of children's books, which are popular at the Georgia fair.

The Georgia fair is a favorite, and we always look forward to seeing a lot of old friends there. Many of the dealers who exhibit at the Georgia fair will also be in St. Petersburg in March for the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Libby Ware, of Toadlily Books in Atlanta, is the president of the Georgia Antiquarian Bookdealers Association. We see her every year in St. Petersburg. Other officers of GABA are regulars, too, including Tom Brennan, David Hamilton of Americana Books, ABAA, and Frank Walsh of Yesteryear Book Shop, ABAA.

We also expect to see Josh Niesse and Megan Bell of Underground Books in Carrollton, who do a lot of Internet work for GABA. We'll also see old friend Cliff Graubart, of Old New York Book Shop ABAA in Atlanta, and numerous other friends who also come to Florida every year.

Here's a link for all the details of The 2015 Georgia Book and Paper Fair. If you are going to be in the area, please come by and see us. The fair is Saturday and Sunday and admission is free.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Like Willie, we're on the road again

That old Willie Nelson song came to mind as we were getting ready to head out on the highway for some book fair adventure. First stop will be Baltimore, for the annual Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, the largest antiques show in the country.

It is a prestigious event that draws top antiques dealers from around the world. You've probably seen some of them on Antiques Roadshow. The show we're going to features high-end jewelry dealers showcasing both vintage and estate heirloom treasures. 

The four-day show also features an Antiquarian Book Fair, showcasing rare books, first editions, autographs, fine manuscripts, prints, and unusual biographical material. The dealers offer a diverse array of material appealing to all levels of experience – something for every type of collector.

Many of our friends and fellow booksellers who exhibit at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in March also participate in this show. Among them, we expect to see A. Parker's Books, B&B Rare Books, Colebrook Book Barn, First Folio, and Four Winds Fine Books. We look forward to seeing them at this show.

The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show is August 20-23 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Click the link for more details.  If you're going to be in Baltimore and would like to go to the show free, we've got tickets. Stop by the store and we'll give you a card (like the one in the picture) you can use at the show to get a one-day ticket for two. Pretty nifty, huh! Hey, it pays to know the right people! You can also buy them online. They're 20 bucks each.

Our next stop will be the 2015 Georgia Book and Paper Fair on September 5-6 at the First Baptist Church in Decatur. That's a fun show for us, too. Even more of our dealer friends show up for that fair. In fact, it's a little known fact that the Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association holds a meeting during the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in March. Collectors come to that show looking for rare and collectible books, first editions, leather bindings, ephemera, and antique maps. As you might expect, there is lots of Southern history, African-American literature, regional works, Americana, fiction, Civil War and children's books. Lots from which to choose.

Then, at the end of September, we'll hit the road again for the Brooklyn Books, Art, Photos, and Design Expo. Everyone will be in Brooklyn September 19-20. More about all of that later.

Meantime, we've got that Willie Nelson song going round and round in our minds. Now you do, too. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

THIS JUST IN: 1856 Seminole War-era map

Here's another episode of our This Just In series. Michael Slicker has an amazing 1856 map that was created for use during the Seminole Wars in Florida. It is a nice specimen and has a great story with it. This is the first time we have broadcast on the live streaming platform Periscope. We might try it again. After all, the point of live streaming is that the audience is watching. Let us know what you think. Would  you watch a live version of This Just In or our other series, Rare Book Moment?

If you'd like to learn more about this map and book or other items in our store, call us at (727) 822-3278 or send us an email at Visit Lighthouse Books, ABAA online. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

THIS JUST IN: Aviation book collection

Rare book appraiser Michael Slicker discusses a new collection of airplane books now in the store.

Rare book appraiser Michael Slicker has owned Lighthouse Books, ABAA in St. Petersburg, Florida, for more than 35 years. Lighthouse Books, ABAA specializes in antiquarian books, serving St. Petersburg, Tampa, the Tampa Bay area and all of Florida. In addition to rare books, out-of-print books, used books, antique maps, vintage prints, and antique photographs, Lighthouse Books, ABAA also offers expert appraisals of antiquarian books, maps, prints, photographs, and ephemera.

If you'd like to learn more about these or other books in our store, call us at (727) 822-3278 or send us an email at

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

During June, gardening books are 50% off!

Get your green thumb in gear! We're offering gardening books, horticulture books, orchid books, and more at half off the marked price. That means if you love flowers, plants, and soil, or you know someone who does, this is your fabulous opportunity to save money and stock your bookshelves with great books on your favorite subject. We're overwhelmed with gardening and horticulture books right now (it's almost like they're back there multiplying) so our dilemma is your good fortune. Call us or come see us today!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

THIS JUST IN: Henry David Thoreau's Walden, a scarce 1854 first edition

Michael Slicker discusses an important contribution to American letters, a scarce first edition of Henry David Thoreau's Walden, published in 1854.

Rare book appraiser Michael Slicker has owned Lighthouse Books, ABAA in St. Petersburg, Florida, for more than 35 years. Lighthouse Books, ABAA specializes in antiquarian books, serving St. Petersburg, Tampa, the Tampa Bay area and all of Florida. In addition to rare books, out-of-print books, used books, antique maps, vintage prints, and antique photographs, Lighthouse Books, ABAA also offers expert appraisals of antiquarian books, maps, prints, photographs, and ephemera.

If you'd like to learn more about this or other books in our store, call us at (727) 822-3278 or send us an email at 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

THIS JUST IN: New discoveries of old things especially fun in old book stores

Michael has a couple of new discoveries to share. If you'd like to learn more about them, call us at (727) 822-3278 or send us an email at

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Michael is headed to the Miami map fair

Michael Slicker shares a special map he is taking to the Miami International Map Fair. The fair showcases antique maps, rare books, panoramas and atlases, and features some of the finest map dealers in the world. It is one of the world's largest map fairs.

Friday, January 16, 2015

You can buy tickets online for the book fair

As most of our regular readers know, we delight in participating in the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair every year. The book fair is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 13-15 this year. This is a public service announcement to let you know you can buy tickets online for the event. They're available now so if you want to get them in advance you can. This blog post will move on and be replaced by other posts eventually so the link in the column on the left also takes you to Eventbrite where the online ticket are available. If you're interested in keeping up with the lastest news about the book fair, click the link and you'll be taken to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair blog. Just a few reminders about the book fair. It'll be here before you know it.

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

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