An Adventure in Book Hunting #2: Albatross Books

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As some of you may know I sell antique and vintage books on Etsy. It’s a hobby that allows me to do one of my favourite things – buy old books – without feeling too guilty. It’s not really about making money (although that’s nice too), it’s about the joy of finding beautiful old / rare books, researching their history and giving them a new home. In this new feature I will be sharing some of my finds with you!

Albatross paperbacks – various

Found: Ebay

These caught my eye because of the striking covers and their resemblance to the classic Penguin books, but I’d never heard of Albatross. When I delved into the history of the publishers it all became clear…

  • Christmas Holiday by Somerset Maugham. 1947
  • These Foolish Things by Michael Sadleir. 1937
  • Strange Glory by L.H Myers. 1938

History

Albatross Books was a German publishing house based in Hamburg that produced the first ever modern mass market paperback books. Founded in 1932 by John Holroyd-Reece, Max Christian Wegner and Kurt Enoch, the name was chosen because “Albatross” is the same word in many European languages.

Based on the example of Tauchnitz, a Leipzig publishing firm that had been producing inexpensive and paper-bound English-language reprints for the continental market, Albatross set out to streamline and modernise the paperback format.

The books in the series, also known as the Albatross Continental Library, were produced in a new standardised size (181 x 111 mm), which became known as the Golden Ratio – still used today. They used new sans-serif fonts developed by Stanley Morison among others, and were color-coded by genre, with green for travel, orange for fiction, and so on. The series was so successful that Albatross soon purchased Tauchnitz, giving itself an instant 100-year heritage.

The outbreak of World War II brought the Albatross experiment to a halt, but by then Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books had adopted many of Albatross’ ideas, including the standard size, the idea of covers using typography and logo but no illustrations, and the use of colour coding by type of content. Lane later hired Kurt Enoch, co-founder of Albatross Books, to manage Penguin’s American branch. (Wiki)

More info here: Publishing History

Inscriptions/Features


Two of the books are signed and dated. One is unreadable but one clearly reads 1938. In These Foolish Things there is an original ‘postcard’ from Albatross books reading:

‘Dear reader,

If I have not yet chosen that special book you want me to publish, would you not care to select it yourself? A free copy is sent of every book published at a reader’s suggestion to whoever proposed it first. On receipt of your card you will be informed if the book in question has been suggested already and if not it will be read at once.

Hoping yours will be the first suggestion, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

The Albatross’

Purchase

I’ve found a few copies of Christmas Holiday in slightly better condition than mine over  on AbeBooks  for around $35, but haven’t had much luck with the others, so hopefully that means they’re pretty rare. I’m selling these three as a set for just £20 as they’re not in the best condition but still readable! I also have a sale on the moment with 1/3 off selected items. 

Do these books mean anything to you? I’d love to hear more about the history of  Albatross.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Perfect Gift? #TTT #ChristmasGifts

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is… Holiday Gift Guide freebie

OK so this topic is kind of perfect because I’ve been meaning to do a little gift guide for a while. I’m an affiliate of Waterstones, The Book Depository, and Foyles and I don’t promote them as much as I should so in the spirit of full disclosure, unless otherwise stated, all of these links are affiliate links and should you purchase anything from the sites I will get a small (really, very small) commission.

1. Born to Run ~ Bruce Springsteen

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Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.

Hardback, published: 27/09/2016

Who for: Rock n’ Roll parents
Best price: £10
Where from: Waterstones

 

2. Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

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Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook is packed with all the classics you need for the big day and beyond, as well as loads of delicious recipes for edible gifts, party food and new ways to love those leftovers. It’s everything you need for the best Christmas ever.

Hardback, published: 20/10/2016

Who for: Secret Santa; The In-Laws, that weird person in your life that doesn’t read fiction.
Best price: £13 
Where from: Waterstones

 

3. Lean in 15 ~ Joe Wicks

gift3Joe Wicks is a man on a mission. His goal is to get the world away from fad diets and miserable calorie-counting and into a pattern of healthy, sustaining eating and to become fitter, stronger and leaner.

Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach has inspired thousands to transform their bodies by shifting unwanted fat and building lean muscle and now he’s taking what he’s learned to the next level.

Paperback, published: 17/11/2016
Who for: Your health-conscious friend / your friend that fancies Joe Wicks.
Best price: £8.49
Where from: Waterstones

4. Selected Fairy Tales ~ The Brothers Grimm

 

gift4Part of a special set of 10 hardcover classics, designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, that innovatively use foil and a special new binding material to create a highly collectible set.

 Stepmothers, dark forests, strange beasts, broken promises, sinister brides, castle turrets, princes on horseback, magic lamps, industrious dwarves and a frog king. Collected and adapted from German folk tales, these imperishable stories can be read over and over again.

Leather / fine binding, published: 16/11/2015

Who for: Your favourite bookworm; little sisters
Best price: £14.99
Where from: Waterstones

5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

gift5It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Hardback, published: 31/07/2016
Who for: That secret pott-head in your life
Best price: £10
Where from: Waterstones

6. Ripley’s Believe it or Not! 2017

gift6The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! annual has now firmly established itself as a Christmas must-have, with an ever-growing army of loyal fans. Following hot on the heels of last year’s Top 10 best-seller, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! 2017 offers a completely new compendium of strange but true facts and amazing stories, ranging from the Polar Bear robot, to the edible human skull, to the woman who still suffers from sea-sickness three years after her last boat trip, to the Swiss daredevil who soars over famous landmarks in his custom-made jet pack.

Hardback, published 08/09/2016

Who for: The little brother who has everything (and likes gross things)
Best price: £10
Where from: Foyles

7. The Chemist ~ Stephenie Meyer

 

gift7In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life. She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers.

Hardback, published 08/11/2016

Who for: Thriller fans!
Best price: £10
Where from: Foyles

8. Jim Henson’s Labyrinth Tales

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Experience the endlessly imaginative world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth through the eyes of its most fantastical and beloved characters! Witness a day in the life of Sir Didymus, the recklessly heroic fox-terrier; Ludo, the lovable oaf; Hoggle, an ever loyal companion; and others as they play games, work together, and revel in the magic of the labyrinth. Written and gorgeously illustrated by acclaimed children’s book illustrator Cory Godbey (Have Courage, Be Kind: The Tale of CinderellaI), Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Tales takes readers deep into the adventure where magic knows no bounds.

Hardback, published 20/10/2016

Who for: Me! 😉 or anyone who has ever hailed Labyrinth as the best film ever!
Best price: £12.99
Where from: The Book Depository

9. His Bloody Project ~ Graeme McCrae

gift9The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows. Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear. His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary.

Paperback, published 11/08/2016

Who for: The perfect ‘I can’t think of anything else under £5’ gift.
Best price: £4.24
Where from: The Book Depository

 

End of Summer SALE now on in my Etsy Vintage Book Store! 30 % Off Everything!

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Hi guys, I’ve decided to celebrate the Bank Holiday by having a sale in my Etsy Store.

I’ve been busy adding new stock (and continue to do so over the weekend) and working on a range of handmade gifts to sell at a later date too. I’m currently in ‘perfecting’ mode as I don’t want to sell anything that isn’t the highest quality!

You can get 30% Off anything in store until the end of Tuesday 1st September. Simply use the code L1P5YY30 at checkout.

 

 

Here’s what’s been going on since my last post, two weeks ago…

Added to the shelves

Click on the book titles to view in store.

Ghosts and Two Other Plays (1949) – Henrik Ibsen
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Scottish Scenes Drinking Set (1950/60s)
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OK so it’s not a book, but look how awesome these little whisky/shot glasses are. So kitsch!

Sold

What Katy Did at School ~ Susan Coolidge (1920s)
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I’m so glad this has gone to a good home!

About the Shop

I opened the shop because I love nothing more than scouring second-hand bookshops, markets and car-boot sales for vintage books. I love the way they look, the way they smell and the way you can imagine the history of them.

I can’t however keep buying books indefinitely. I have limited space, and limited funds, and therefore I opened this shop in order to generate a bit of a return in order to carry on doing what I love – buying books! And the way I look at it, if they don’t sell I get to keep them – DOUBLE WIN!

30% Off anything in store until the end of Tuesday 1st September. Simply use the code L1P5YY30 at checkout.