Summer in the City (and Elsewhere)

Before we lock the cases for the holiday weekend and pack our bags for next week’s London International Antiquarian Book Fair, we want to share some summer news.

We’re delighted to announce the Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize, an annual award of $1000 for an outstanding book collection built by a young woman. Visit the website for complete prize details: applications are due July 15, and this year’s prize will be awarded in September. Please, if you know bookish women under 30 – and we know you do – spread the word!

On June 21 and 22, Rebecca will be running the Honey & Wax booth at the ABAA bookseller showcase in Iowa City, part of the annual meeting of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. While Rebecca’s in town, she’ll also be discussing her new book Printer’s Error at Prairie Lights Books, so librarians and Iowans: go!

And from July 16 to 21, Heather will be this year’s specialty dealer at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, now in its 40th year. A weeklong rare book boot camp in the shadow of Pikes Peak, CABS is a great opportunity for experienced and aspiring booksellers, librarians, and collectors to share their knowledge and love of the trade. Early registration closes May 29, and some scholarships for this summer are still available.

If there’s something that we should be seeking in London that you have not mentioned to us, now would be an ideal time. We’ll try to post photos from Olympia next week!

Spring: Now Sprung

Happy spring from Honey & Wax!

If you’re in the Philadelphia area tonight, come see Rebecca at The Rosenbach, where she’ll be talking about her new book, Printer’s Error. If you can’t make the event, check out the great short interview posted on The Rosenbach website.

Now that the California and New York fairs are behind us, we’re cataloguing new acquisitions every day, and hope you’ll stop by the website to see our latest books as they arrive. And, as always, let us know how we can help with your ongoing bookish plans and pursuits.

Honey & Wax, East Coast

Do you feel as though, just moments ago, you received an invitation to a book fair from Honey & Wax? That’s because you did.

This year, the California and New York antiquarian book fairs are separated by a mere four weeks: four weeks of compulsive list-making, energetic cataloguing, and free-floating anxiety. Preview our show list here, or just come by booth E17 at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair this weekend, March 9-12, and see for yourself.

And later this month, after the fair,  join us for the New York launch of Rebecca’s new bookPrinter’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History, co-authored with J.P. Romney. Rebecca and Heather will discuss the past and future of print at Brooklyn’s Community Bookstore on Wednesday, March 15, at 7 PM. Book signing to follow. You can preorder your first edition of Printer’s Error directly from Community, or through HarperCollins.

We hope to see you soon, in one borough or another!


Honey & Wax, West Coast

West Coasters! And those with frequent flyer miles and a sense of adventure:

Please visit us at our California debut this weekend. Honey & Wax will be in booth 903 at the 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair at the Oakland Marriott City Center, February 10-12. We’re bringing sixty of our favorite books, many not yet online, which you can preview here.

We’ve come all the way from Brooklyn, and there’s a blizzard there, so we can’t go back. Come say hello!


To 2017!

Happy holidays from Honey & Wax, with the promise of many more books to come in the new year! We hope to surprise even ourselves.

Your faithful Brooklyn booksellers,

Heather & Rebecca



O Come, All Ye Faithful

Here at Honey & Wax, we’ve stocked up on red ribbon and eco-friendly non-denominational holiday wrap. Let’s welcome the season!yeoldebookshoppe

Catalog 5 is now available online, and new acquisitions are added to the website as they arrive. We’re happy to collaborate with you on a present for someone special, and offer personalized gift cards at any price point.

And if you’re in New York this Saturday, December 3, pick up some unexpected holiday gifts at the Fifth Annual Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair at Park Slope’s historic Old Stone Housebhbfpostcard

This year’s fair celebrates the publication of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas and the newly released collection of Jane Jacobs essays, Vital Little Plans: The Short Works of Jane Jacobs. Jonathan Tarleton of Nonstop Metropolis and Nate Storring of Vital Little Plans will lead a free walking tour of Brooklyn, explaining the intertwined legacies of Robert Moses and Frederick Law Olmsted in the borough, followed by a book signing. We hope to see you there.

A Week in York

Some belated snapshots from last month’s visit to York:

Everyone told me that York was beautiful, but I didn’t really understand until I arrived. This walled city — home to Romans, Vikings, and Richard III — hosts the York Antiquarian Book Seminar (YABS) each fall, a great resource for booksellers looking to learn the trade.yorkwallruinimg_2495gateI gave the enthusiastic (if jetlagged) YABS keynote on a Monday morning, 4 AM Brooklyn time:keynote

And had a wonderful week with the seminar faculty and students. On the YABS faculty side, here are Anthony Smithson of Keel Row Books and Justin Croft:anthonyjustin

The inimitable Jonathan Kearns:jonathan

The inspiring Sophie Schneideman, just leaving Janette Ray in York:heathersophie

Dinner at Akbar’s with Simon Beattie and this year’s featured dealer Jenny Allsworth:akbarsBonus shot: Sophie and Jonathan with the fabled “curtains of naan”:akbars2

After the seminar, it was time to set up at the York National Book Fair, the largest book fair in England — and an opportunity to catch up with Fuchsia Voremberg of Maggs, and expat Brooke Palmieri, newly appointed editor of Printing History:img_2542

A million thanks to YABS student Kait Mellini for her help at the Honey & Wax stand:


And then, farewell York! I look forward to walking your streets again one day.


And hello, Brooklyn!plane

Rebecca’s Back

Rebecca’s back in town (not a moment too soon), with a report on this year’s Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. Reposted from Rebecca’s own rare book blog, Aldine:

Full disclosure: I have just returned from a week at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, and the blush of my enthusiasm is still burning. I want to tell you all about it.

The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) is often called Boot Camp for Booksellers. It’s a week-long seminar held in Colorado Springs each summer where the foundations of buying, researching, cataloging, and selling antiquarian books are taught. I was grateful to receive a scholarship from Bibliopolis this year after my Honey & Wax Booksellers colleague Heather, a CABS alumna, encouraged me to attend.

Let’s start with the nights. After dinner we wander over to the tables set up outside our building and talk to each other. Everyone has a story, tales of book scouting hoarders’ houses from Oregon to Italy, of the books we most covet, of the booksellers’ catalogs we most admire. We talk history and obscure facts (a shout out to sword swallowing and neon lights). Above all, we talk about the moment we realized we were in love with bookselling.

Each teller’s countenance glows a bit when they talk about falling in love. I feel like I’m watching fireflies. We bookish types rarely talk so much. We sit outside in the rusty orange light, consume food and drink scavenged from the 7-11 across the street, and take in the spectacle. We are a tribe.

The next morning we stumble blinking into the sunlight and get back to work. Running a business is not forgiving in this world, an odd little corner of life which strikes many as a curiosity at best. There are no shortcuts. There is only your knowledge, your skill, your creativity, your work, and your pragmatism. Only one third of the CABS class from ten years ago is still in business. I mull over the lectures and think: if I don’t do this well, I won’t be able to do it for long.

The faculty doesn’t sugarcoat this. They are unforgiving and even, at times, ruthless. They take pride in the standards of their profession, and they will not see those standards slip. But they are so good at their jobs. It’s a pleasure to watch. I feel honored to know them. I see how they observe each other, play off each other, poke fun at one another. This is part of the business, too. Make no mistake: bookselling is a way of life. CABS sets the standard for it.

Herein lies the seminar’s real value. We antiquarian booksellers have a responsibility in how we seek, research, and sell the printed artifacts of our civilization. While at a certain level we are in competition with one another, in more important ways, we are united in both our temperaments and our goals. We want to make a living, even (dare I say) a fine living. But we also feel a moral imperative to care for these fragments of human thought, to rediscover forgotten paths, and to keep the memory green. And, okay, yes. It may also be the case that we just couldn’t help going down the rabbit hole of research on that obscure little pamphlet we came across the other day. It’s amazing; I can totally sell that.

If you are thinking of entering the antiquarian book trade, go to CABS.
If you work in the trade and haven’t yet attended, go to CABS.
Even if you’ve been doing this for a while (closing in on a decade for me), go to CABS.

Antiquarian booksellers are typically resistant to this kind of rhetoric. I get it. Most of us have the temperament of a cat; we look with disdain upon those who dare suggest we act a certain way. But this philosophy contains a generous breadth and depth. It asks only that you work hard, ethically, and creatively; that you take pride in what you do; and that you value the role of the antiquarian book trade in the world.

Many of you who are reading this aren’t newer booksellers, or even booksellers at all. For you, attending may not be the right fit. However, if you see the worth in maintaining this world at the highest standards, consider donating to CABS. If you value the antiquarian book trade, demonstrate that your opinion isn’t simply a vague feeling of good will. Be generous in your donation if you can. I’ve donated an amount just large enough to be a bit painful. If you can’t, a small amount is fine, too. Even with $10, you’ll be investing in the future of this gently mad world.

To learn more, visit the CABS website.Marble