Last Minute Christmas Shopping? Support the Fine Books Ecosystem!

I fully intend on keeping Books and Vines a non-sales site.  First, I am simply a buyer, reader, and lover of finely done classic literature.  I have no ‘skin in the game’ when it comes to buying or selling books.  Secondly, I am sure you all get bombarded with enough advertising and requests for you to spend money — I have no intent on ever adding to that!

On the other hand, we find ourselves one week before Christmas, and I am assuming that many of you may have some gifts left to purchase, including maybe that something special for yourself!  As lovers of classic literature and fine press books, I would encourage you to think about fulfilling those last minute wishes and gift ideas with books from your favorite book retailers and publishers. With the economy in the tank for years running now, it selfishly helps ourselves to help the ecosystem which provides us with the books we cherish.

Here are some last minute ideas for you to contemplate; chosen purely from people I have had the pleasure of doing business with during the last year, all of which deserve our support. There is no quid pro quo here, simply trying to hook up lovers of great literature with providers of such!


  • Probably my favorite fine press find of 2011 was Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness by Chester River Press.  What a beautiful book.  They also have recently published stunning editions of Homer’s Iliad & Odyssey, which I will review soon. Gerard Cataldo is fantastic to interact with, I would suggest dropping him a note with any questions on these or other books. They currently are offering 20% off for Christmas, with an additional 5% off for Books and Vines subscribers.  You just may be absolutely insane to not take advantage of 25% off these fantastic books. Call Gerard at 410-810-3880, or email at
  • Another of my favorite pick-ups of 2011 was Phisicke Against Fortune by Petrarch from the Foolscap Press.  They have a number of great letterpress selections, all done with extreme high quality.  I am thrilled to be a subscriber.  Owners Larry and Peggy Van Velzer are another example of fantastic and nice fine press publishers! They are offering 10% off any of their books for Books and Vines subscribers.  Again, do not miss this chance! They can be reached at (831) 429-6489 or
  • Jeanne Shiff is simply a wonderful lady who happens to have what is remaining of completely new Limited Editions Club (LEC)  books from the Shiff era.  You can call Jeanne Shiff at 212-737-7600 or 800-701-8870 to inquire about price and to order.  You should know that the prices are extremely competitive with what you can find in the used market.  These are books at the pinnacle of book design and quality, so you cannot lose! Search Books and Vines for numerous examples of their publications.
  • Carolyn Robertson, similarly, is a wonderfully nice lady who happens to have what is remaining of a number of completely new books from the Yolla Bolly Press.  Like the LEC books, these are as good as they get in terms of quality, materials and workmanship.  You can reach Carolyn at 707.983.6740 or  Search Books and Vines for numerous examples of their publications.
  • Peter Koch is at the peak of the book making craft. His work is unique, and utterly marvelous.  He can be reached at 510-849-0673 or Search Books and Vines for numerous examples of his publications.
  • A fantastic fine press producer in England is The Old School Press, proprietor Martyn Ould. Many of you may have seen a recent article on them from Books and Vines.  The Old School Press is offering Books and Vines Subscribers 10% off any of the following books: Palladio’s Homes, A Long Story, or  tokonoma if payment is by PayPal. Shipping is included with tokonoma. These are three beautifully done books, please check them out on Martyn’s web site.
  • Yet another “Best of 2011″ is the brilliant edition of Tennessee from David Bruce Smith Publications. They have kindly agreed to offer a 20% discount on Tennessee for Books and Vines subscribers that order this between now and Christmas.  Those of you who read my review of Tennessee know how much I loved the art by Clarice Smith. There is a special discount being offered on signed prints for Books and Vines Subscribers. Buy two prints at regular price ($750 each) and the third will be offered at 20% off ($600). Lastly, you can purchase Three Miles from Providence at a 10% subscriber discount. To place an order at these discounted rates email or call 703-786-1430.
  • Another publisher at the peak of the craft is Crispin and Jan Elsted at Barbarian Press. Their edition of Pericles is pretty much beyond description, it is that amazing. Much of what they create sells out pretty quickly, but contact them to see what is available, as everything is fantastic! They can be reached at (604) 826 8089 or
  • A relatively new press, of which I am excited about their future, is Bowler Press, the imprint of Jarrett Morrison.  I just adored their first book, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest; I think there may be some left.  I am looking forward to works from Swift and Austen, both of which in the works. Jarrett can be reached at 778.928.9568 or
  • You will soon see a beautiful little edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde reviewed on Books and Vines, from Hand and Eye Letterpress. Trust me when I see when you see it you will want it!  Contact Phil Abel at 020 7488 9800 or
  • When it comes to horror, science fiction, crime or gothic genre’s, is there a better place right now to stay up with then Centipede Press? High quality, good selection of otherwise hard to find titles when it comes to being given special treatment. Jerad Walters can be reached at 303-231-9720 or 


  • One of the best fine book sellers in Charles Agvent.  He has a great selection, among other things, probably the best LEC collection available out there, and his descriptions are always dead on accurate.  5% off any order with free U.S. shipping for the holiday for Books and Vines subscribers.  Contact him at (610) 682-4750 or
  • I recently picked up an amazing copy of The Mirrour of the World, Allen Press edition, from Braiterman Books.  Marilyn Braiterman is a pleasure to do business with.  She has kindly offered Books and Vines subscribers 10% off for any orders up until Christmas, if ordered directly from her.  You can look at what books she has on Abe’s or through her catalogue, but when ready to order, contact her directly at (212) 585-4373 or
  • One place that I have bought a large number of books from, and have never been disappointed, is Different Drummer Books. Owner Tom Toth, who is simply fantastic to work with; his descriptions are very accurate, ships quickly, etc., sells his books on Abe’s (click on the link to search for what books he has for sale at the moment).  He always has a lot of LEC’s, as well as other works.  You can reach him at 860-739-9075.
  • I have often done business with Iron Wheel Books in Colorado.  They have a great selection of fine books, fair prices and Molly is a pleasure to talk with.  I encourage you to check them out.  You can reach Molly at 720-515-8572.
  • I would certainly be remiss to not mention a couple bookstores in my home town of Phoenix.  Owner Mike Riley has a fantastic store called Book Gallery. Mike knows his books inside and out, and has a huge selection, including lots of LEC’s, first editions, fine press books, Bibles, etc.  Looking for something? I suggest calling him. Fair prices, top ethics in terms of quality and business dealings, you cannot lose!  I have bought a lot from him, and am never disappointed. He can be reached at (602) 508-0280. You have also seen on Books and Vines a few book reviews of first editions from By the Book, also in Phoenix. He has a large list of first editions and signed books.  Owner Sam Hessel can be reached at 602-222-8806.

I am sure Books and Vines readers have their own favorites, please share (and give them a bit of press), by commenting on this article.

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