Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Antiquarian books anything but outdated, say collectors

ST. PETERSBURG — Never mind that the iPad, Apple's much anticipated electronic reading tablet, hits stores in 20 days to strike what many say will be the death knell for books.

Bibliophiles couldn't have cared less Saturday as they combed through the stacks for rare finds at the 29th Annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair at the Coliseum in downtown.

"There is nothing like holding a nice book," said Mark Raffauf, a 51-year-old photographer. "I don't care what anyone else says, you can't get that kind of feel or smell from a screen."

There was a swagger to the more than 2,000 who attended the fair, which featured about 115 specialized dealers from the United States and Europe. Sure, they might have been bookworms. But no one was going to bully them into reading from something as debased as an e-reader.

To this bunch, liquid crystal displays are for losers; leather binding, parchment and ink rule.

"The Kindle is convenient, but I don't want to read a book from a little screen," said Dennis Melhouse, owner of First Folio Rare Books in Paris, Tenn. "You're not going to get a signed copy of Leaves of Grass on the Kindle."

Sure enough, Melhouse sells a copy signed by Walt Whitman. He'll sell it to you for $8,000.

While his business is down 30 percent, he doesn't blame technology. It's the economy, he said.

But with some predicting that the printed word is facing extinction in the Digital Age, Saturday's turnout was proof that books are here to stay, said Sarah Smith, manager of the fair.

In fact, the rare and specialized book market will probably be better off as more and more books are published electronically, Smith said. With fewer books actually published, more books will qualify as rare and collectible, she reasons.

"That's an optimistic guess on my part," she said. "But I truly believe that there is some core part of being human that needs to hold and see part of our history. It's amazing to hold something that was held once by Ben Franklin. That's not something you can get electronically."

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (727) 893-8037 or mvansickler@sptimes.com.

Antiquarian books anything but outdated, say collectors 03/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 13, 2010 9:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table

    Travel

    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers

    Nap

    Walk 6.2 kilometers

    Nap

    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  4. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  5. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.