BOOK TRADE


BOOK TRADE
-Antiquity Information on the book trade in antiquity among Jews is very scanty. In biblical and talmudic times the scribe himself was the seller of his products (Tosef., Bik. 2:15; Pes. 50b; Git. 54b). The Tosefta (Av. Zar. 3:7–8) and the Jerusalem Talmud (Av. Zar. 2:2, 41a) speak of a gentile bookseller in Sidon who sold Bibles. While it was forbidden to sell sacred books to non-Jews (Tosef., Av. Zar. 2:4), it was permitted to exceed the current price by half a dinar to buy (really redeem) them from them (Git. 45b). Otherwise a man might buy sacred books from every Jew, but no one should sell his own except for particularly important reasons (Meg. 27a; cf. Sh. Ar., YD 270:1). A Torah scroll is literally priceless and no claim can be made for overcharging (BM 4:9). A story is told from Babylonia in the fourth century of a Sefer Torah which was stolen, sold at 80 zuz (approx. $1,200), and resold at 120 before the thief was found (BK 115a). A cushion and worn copies of Psalms, Proverbs, and Job were valued at five minah (approx. $75; Git. 35a). -Middle Ages In the Mediterranean area books circulated freely in the early Middle Ages, as can be gathered from documents recovered from the cairo genizah . Among the wares of Nahrai b. Nissim, a wholesale merchant of high standing in 11th-century Egypt, were a variety of Hebrew and Arabic books: Bible, Talmud, rabbinics and homiletics, grammars, etc. They were transported or shipped in wickerwork crates or other baskets as well as in tin or lead cases. One document reveals the sale by two ladies of a Bible codex for 20 dinars; books were also used as collateral and passed from generation to generation as family heirlooms. In the Genizah lists of books have been found with prices attached which are apparently booksellers' catalogs (Tarbiz, 30 (1961), 171–85). The (auction?) catalog of the library of Abraham he-Ḥasid of Cairo, sold after his death in 1223 by the Jewish court, has also been preserved. Individual authors, apart from the professional scribes, sold their own books, while others paid scribes to copy books for them. By the Middle Ages the itinerant bookseller emerged, "rolling" his stock from city to city or country to country in special barrels, and carrying with him booklists, a forerunner of the catalog. They approached bibliophiles whose names were well-known to offer them their wares. Aaron, whose collection, brought back from Spain, was ransacked by immanuel of Rome at Perugia around 1300, may have been a bibliophile, not a dealer as is generally stated, though he carried with him a list of his 180 books (Maḥberot Immanuel ha-Romi, ed. by D. Yarden (1957), 161–6). TRADE IN PRINTED BOOKS When books began to be printed from the end of the 15th century onward and were available in greater quantities and at considerably cheaper prices, it became possible to speak of a proper trade in Hebrew or Jewish books. Once more the printers themselves or their agents – as well as the authors – were the principal booksellers. The famous gershom soncino sold his books while moving from place to place, while his great competitor daniel bomberg handed the Swiss scholar Conrad Gesner a list with prices of 75 Hebrew books, printed by himself and others, and Gesner printed the list in Latin in his Pandectae (1548). Two Jewish bookdealers on a large scale, David Bono and Graziadio (–Judah?) are mentioned in Naples in 1491, being exempted from tolls and duties like other bookdealers who followed the same calling. The former is recorded as exporting 16 cases of printed books in one consignment. Whether they were in Hebrew is not specifically stated, but is probable. R. Benjamin Zeev of Arta (c. 1500) refers in his responsa to the useful function of the itinerant booksellers of his day. The will of R. aaron b. david cohen of ragusa (1656) gives some interesting details on how books were diffused: he left money for the publication of his Zekan Aharon, of which 800 copies were to be printed: 200 were to be sent to Constantinople, 100 to Salonika, 50 to Venice, 20 to Sofia, 10 to Ancona, 20 to Rome, 50 to Central and Eastern Europe, 50 to Holland, to various places in Italy and to Ereẓ Israel; the last were to be distributed without charge. Issuing works in "installments" was not uncommon in early Jewish publishing, particularly by the Constantinople presses. Thus the responsa of Isaac b. Sheshet (Constantinople, 1547) were printed in sections and sold in this form by the printer to subscribers week by week. From the 17th century onward the book fairs of Frankfurt on the Main became centers for the diffusion of Hebrew books also. Two Jewish booksellers of Frankfurt, Gabriel Luria and Jacob Hamel, were in correspondence with the buxtorfs with reference to the sale of books. The Buxtorfs were also in contact with Judah Romano of Constantinople, who, whether a professional bookdealer or not, was active in the   Hebrew book trade. manasseh ben israel is known to have attended the Frankfurt fair in 1634 – the only Jew among 159 Christians – but his application for membership of the Amsterdam booksellers' guild in 1648 was refused. The catalog (in Spanish) published by his son Samuel (1652) includes some books which were apparently printed by other firms. Some years before, Samuel had also distributed a list of secondhand books which he had for sale, copies of which even reached England. Isaac Fundam (Fundao) of Amsterdam produced a printed catalog of books and manuscripts in Spanish and Portuguese (1726), and works purchased from him are occasionally recorded. At the end of the 17th century, the Proops firm of Amsterdam styled themselves in their publications "Printers and Booksellers": their first catalog (Appiryon Shelomo) appeared in 1730; they had already been admitted to the booksellers' guild in 1677. At the end of the 18th century Johanan Levi Rofe ("the physician") was also active in the book trade in Amsterdam. In the 18th century, especially in England, Jewish and Hebrew works were frequently published by subscription, a wealthy person sometimes purchasing several copies. The lists of subscribers printed with the works in question are often important historical sources. The business of distributing books in bulk by the publishers could be complicated. They were not infrequently disposed of by barter, in some instances in exchange for wine. In Eastern Europe the great fairs were the centers for bookdealing, and cheap chapbooks were sold all over the country by itinerant dealers. The Council of Lithuanian Jewry in 1679 ordered that each community should appoint a person to purchase tractates of the Talmud at the fairs of Stolowicze and Kopyl so as to stimulate study. James Levi, who conducted book auctions in London from about 1711 to 1733, presumably dealt solely in non-Jewish books. On the other hand, Moses Benjamin Foà (1729–1822), book purveyor to the court of Modena and a dealer on a grand scale, was deeply interested in Jewish literature also, though more as a collector than a merchant. D. Friedlaender and his friends obtained in 1784 a royal license for their Orientalische Buchdruckerei und Buchhandlung (for a catalog see steinschneider , in ZGJD, 5 (1892), 168f.). Heirs to collections of Hebrew books who wished to dispose of them produced sale-catalogs, such as those published by the heirs of david oppenheim ; two separate catalogs of this famous and outstanding collection were printed: Reshimah Tammah (Hamburg, 1782) and Kehillat David (ibid., 1826, with Latin translation). -Modern Times In the 19th century, in Hebrew as in general books, there was a division between printers on the one hand and publishers and booksellers on the other. In Eastern Europe, however, the three functions remained united in the activities of such firms as Romm in Vilna, which published catalogs as well. In the 20th century, the center of the Jewish secondhand book trade was first Berlin, with the firm of Asher, and then Frankfurt with Joseph Baer, Bamberger and Wahrmann (later of Jerusalem), A.J. Hoffmann, J. Kauffmann, and Leipzig with M.W. Kaufmann. The firms of Schwager and Fraenkel (of Husiatyn, later Vienna, Tel Aviv, and New York), F. Muller (Amsterdam), and B.M. Rabinowitz (Munich) made contributions to scholarship through their diffusion of rare books, and sometimes through their learned catalogs, as did ephraim deinard in the United States. The journeys undertaken by some of these booksellers in search of rarities place them almost in the category of explorers. In London Vallentine (later Shapiro, Vallentine) was active from at least the beginning of the 19th century, followed by the firms of R. Mazin, M. Cailingold and Rosenthal, while in Paris the firm of Lipschutz was eminent for many years; in the United States the bloch Publishing Company has been in existence for over a century and the Hebrew Publishing Company since the 1890s. Important Jewish booksellers in Switzerland were T. Gewuerz and V. Goldschmidt of Basle; in Holland J.L. Joachimsthal and M. Packter of Amsterdam; in Berlin M. Poppelauer and L. Lamm; in Vienna and Budapest J. Schlesinger. Some non-Jewish booksellers, such as O. Harrassowitz (Leipzig, then Wiesbaden) and Spirgates (Leipzig); Mags Brothers and Sothebys (London), have also played a role in the sale of Hebraica and Judaica. See archives ; libraries ; manuscripts ; printing , Hebrew. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Yaari, Meḥkerei Sefer (1958), 163–9, 430–44; idem, in: KS, 43 (1967/68), 121–2; idem, Ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Kushta (1967), 13–15; S. Assaf, in: KS, 16 (1939/40), 493–5; M. Kayserling, in: REJ, 8 (1884), 74–95; F. Homeyer, Deutsche Juden als Bibliophilen und Antiquare (19662); J. Bloch, Hebrew Printing in Naples (1942), 6–7; S. Kaznelson, in: idem (ed.), Juden im Deutschen Kulturbereich (19623), 131–46; H. Widmann, Geschichte des Buchhandels vom Altertum bis zur Gegenwart (1952); S.D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society, 1 (1967), index. (Cecil Roth / Abraham Meir Habermann)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Antiquarian book trade — Торговля антикварными [букинистическими] книгами …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • Retail book trade — Розничная книжная торговля …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • Retail book-trade system — Розничная книготорговая сеть …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • Second-hand book trade — Торговля подержанными книгами; торговля букинистическими книгами …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • Wholesale book-trade system — Оптовая книготорговая сеть …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии