Anyone with an interest in the role of antiquarian bookselling in relation to the broader study of rare books, bibliography, and early printing will want to read an article recently published by Fabrizio Govi in the Italian scholarly journal TECA entitled “Online Bibliographical Tools for the Antiquarian Book Trade. Their History, Use and Impact.”
A well established and highly respected Italian bookseller from Modena, Govi explores his subject broadly from both economical and historical perspectives. As the origins of online antiquarian bookselling slip further into memory the latter of these has become increasingly of interest, at least to me.
Sharing that interest, Govi began his research by identifying 17 different international websites that have focused primarily on the used and rare book market. He then attempted to contact all of them to request information about how they started and what information they might offer about the online book market as it exists today. Only three of these chose to respond. Nevertheless, Govi was able to dig through a variety of primary and secondary sources to compile a significant amount of interesting data on the origins of the antiquarian market and how it became what it is today. He tells me that what he has just published is only a preliminary study. I’m encouraged that there could be even more to come.
You will find the article here: