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Sad state of ballet book selling


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#1 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:18 PM

In the interest of ballet books I have just spent some hours browsing various sites in various countries. The results almost made me cry, both with sorrow at the actual situation, but also with joy looking at my book shelves. Will give you a couple of
examples: That great big tome I have talked about before "Rolf de Mare, art collector, head of ballet company, creator of Dance Museum in Stockholm". Books measures 10 by 8 inches, 616 pages, extremely richly illustrated, hard cover in pink linen cloth. A
really beautifully produced volume.
Dance Books UK has it for 50 English pounds. Fair enough! Then I came across it at the Swedish e-bay for 9 SEK... That works out at less than two (2) US dollars. Well?! I myself paid 100 SEK for it, on auction site. Even that dirt cheap.

My greatest find to date is Benois' Reminiscences of the Russian Ballet. I had gone to an antiquarian shop with a lot of old rubbish, cheap novels, some kiddies stuff and absolutely nothing of any value and I was able to exchange my bag of junk with Benois which they wanted 100 SEK for! Look up a list, and find that it is out of print and madly expensive! You see, it helps to keep your eyes wide open!

Someone once remarked that I probably have the finest private collection of ballet books in this country. A bit of flattery, OK,
but there is certainly some truth in it. And I will continue browsing sites for incredible bargains!


#2 Marga

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 12:54 AM

I, too, have a vast ballet library, which I believe might be the biggest personal ballet library in Ontario, if not all of Canada. I have a few special finds and also 'hoard' particular books, like The Ballet Cook Book, of which I have about 20 copies, buying them whenever I find a fair price. I bought my first two copies of The Ballet Cook Book from Tanaquil LeClercq herself, for $5 apiece, in 1968. One of them I had signed by LeClercq and Balanchine and a very large number of dancers, a couple of conductors (Robert Irving and Hugo Fiorato) as well as Beverly Sills, who was there, and Jean Dalyrymple.

There is thrill in the hunt for old ballet tomes. Posted Image

I just looked up [font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]Benois' [/size][/font]Reminiscences of the Russian Ballet on addall.com and found many copies ranging in price from $1.79 to $54.00 (for a 'fine' First Edition copy).

[font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif"][size=4]The Rolf de Mare book was re-issued just a few years ago. It's available at various affordable prices.[/size][/font]

#3 bart

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:18 AM

Pamela and Marga: I am impressed. And intrigued. I have a number of shelves of ballet and other dance books, but use them mostly to enrich my personal interests and to help me to keep up with the knowledgeable people on Ballet Alert.

I know a few people who seriously collect ballet cds and/or dvds. Now you are making me wonder about how many people devote serious time and interest in collecting and ballet books? What got you all started? How do you "use" their books? What do you feel about living with them on a daily basis? How do you feel when you have to let one go?

It would be wonderful to hear more from both of you, and from others on this Board. (And I do suspect that there are more than a few "others" in this category. Posted Image Posted Image }

#4 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:56 AM

[font=arial][size=1]
[size=3][font="comic sans ms,sans-serif"]I have a small collection, maybe about 100 -200 books, mostly about Diaghilev and Balanchine. I love them, and read them irregularly. Mostly I dive in to check facts, remind myself about an incident or person, or compare versions of the same event.[/font][/size][/size][/font]

[font=arial][size=1]
[size=3][font="comic sans ms,sans-serif"]Right now I am very behind in reading them due to the recent spike in Diaghilev and Balanchine books published. I vascilate between wanting to get rid of all of them, and just going out and grab everything I can get. [/font][/size][/size][/font]

[font=arial][size=1]
[size=3][font="comic sans ms,sans-serif"]Because, in the future, what will happen to them? Who would want them? libraries in NYC turn them down repeatedly according to my friends, as the libraries have enough. People in small towns have no desire or knowledge about the topics.... universities don't seem to want them. SAB students don't want to read about dance history, they just want to dance.[/font][/size][/size][/font]


#5 California

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:10 AM

[font=arial][size=1][size=3][font=comic sans ms, sans-serif]Because, in the future, what will happen to them? Who would want them? libraries in NYC turn them down repeatedly according to my friends, as the libraries have enough. People in small towns have no desire or knowledge about the topics.... universities don't seem to want them. SAB students don't want to read about dance history, they just want to dance.[/font][/size][/size][/font]

Before assuming colleges and universities don't want them, contact the dance department. Some have their own modest collections or would know if some additions would be welcome at the college library. It's expensive to catalog new additions to a library collection, and I've found university libraries are not interested in duplicates.

Many public libraries accept donations which they sell at their book sales to help with library fundraising.

You can also look to book donation programs for third-world countries, community colleges, high schools in poor neighborhoods, etc. Lots of possibilities show up with a little googling. Here's a non-profit site with some good suggestions:
http://www.nationals...practices/17645

#6 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:14 AM

Thanks! Very handy. This relates to Jane Brody's column in today's New York times about "de-cluttering."

#7 sandik

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:50 AM


[font=arial][size=1][size=3][font=comic sans ms,sans-serif]Because, in the future, what will happen to them? Who would want them? libraries in NYC turn them down repeatedly according to my friends, as the libraries have enough. People in small towns have no desire or knowledge about the topics.... universities don't seem to want them. SAB students don't want to read about dance history, they just want to dance.[/font][/size][/size][/font]

Before assuming colleges and universities don't want them, contact the dance department. Some have their own modest collections or would know if some additions would be welcome at the college library. It's expensive to catalog new additions to a library collection, and I've found university libraries are not interested in duplicates.

Many public libraries accept donations which they sell at their book sales to help with library fundraising.

You can also look to book donation programs for third-world countries, community colleges, high schools in poor neighborhoods, etc. Lots of possibilities show up with a little googling. Here's a non-profit site with some good suggestions:
http://www.nationals...practices/17645


My partner and I both have extensive personal collections in our fields (he's an avocational philosopher) Neither one of us have anything particularly collectible in the rare book sense, but we do have works that are long out of print, and materials that were very useful to us as we were first learning about our fields. Since we were both poor grad students at one point, and remember longing to buy books we couldn't afford at a time that we really could have used them, we realized that we should make a plan to donate our collections to that population when the time comes. So we're making arrangements with the dance and philosophy departments at our local university to offer our books to graduate students or undergraduate majors who are just starting their personal collections.

#8 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

[size=4][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]Those are all great suggestions,and I'm familiar with some of them. (There are also great book trading opportunities online.) I mentioned New York because they don't accept donations anymore (and they don't even have the great sale they used to have!!). [/font] I visited Kaatsbaan once, and talked to them about books, and donating. They had noticed that young dancers aren' t interested, but later they begin to appreciate the importance of history. I haven't noticed that. I would leave all my books to Kaatsbaan, because their hearts are in the right place, they are starting a great collection, lots of young dancers are aware of them. My fingers are crossed that the organization will survive.[/size]

#9 California

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:41 AM

Perhaps they've changed their policies since posting this, but the NYPL says they accept donations at their mid-Manhattan branch:
http://www.nypl.org/...s-and-materials

A few more NYC organizations that accept book donations are listed here:
http://www.ehow.com/...-donations.html
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe looks promising:
http://www.housingwo...p-off-donations

#10 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:51 PM

Marga, it is possible you talk about a pirate edition of Rolf de Mare, but I find it hard to believe that people go to that length for this type of book. There is simply not enough money in it for criminal activity. The very book I am talking about was published in 2008 in Sweden and there is no pocket version either. You probably mean some other book about de Mare, I know that there are some old pamphlets about him, after all he belonged to one of the most important families in Sweden, so that way there must have been an interest.

Yes, I sympathise with all of you thinking of disposing of your collections when the day comes. The horror of it, pulped as waste paper. In my own case, I think one of my two daughters would be happy to be the custodian of my collection. But I agree, it is a problem. Or if one can find some kind of institution, in my case the Dance Museum is out, I figure they already have what I have got.

#11 Marga

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:25 PM

No, no pirate editions, [font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]b[/size][/font]ut several from Dance [font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]B[/size][/font]ooks, UK, the company you mentioned. So, I guess your find was lucky, indeed!
Here is one of them.T[font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]here are a few others which are cheaper. They're all from [/size][/font]Dance [font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][size=4]B[/size][/font]ooks, published in 2009.

http://www.abebooks....r=para&para_l=0


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