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.

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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 39th annual book fair was set for April 24-26, 2020 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic intervened so the book fair had to be postponed. It will be rescheduled at a later time.

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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