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A conversation with ILAB President Arnoud Gerits

June 28, 2011 1 comment

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers posted an excellent article on its President Arnoud Gerits, chronicling his career in books and bookselling. It provides an extensive overview of his journey as an ILAB member, his successes in bookselling, and even his disappointments. It reveals the relationship with his father in their book business, how his personal interests coincide with his book profession, and how he still treasures the chances he gets to meet other ILAB members, hold their books, and talk face-to-face.

Arnoud Gerits has been closely connected with the League for more than a decade. He joined the ILAB Committee in 1998, was editor of the ILAB Newsletter from 2002 to 2006, and became Vice President in 2008. As Secretary of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography he supervised the 15th Prize in 2010 and will be responsible for the 16th award in 2014. During the 39th ILAB Congress and 23rd International Antiquarian Book Fair in Bologna the presidents of the affiliated associations elected Arnoud Gerits as the new President of the League – and welcomed him with standing ovations.

One Night in Amsterdam

It runs in the family: In 1993 both father and son sat at the conference table of the Presidents Meeting in Los Angeles. Anton Gerits as ILAB President, Arnoud Gerits joined the meeting as delegate of the Dutch Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (NVvA).

“I have grown up in a rare book selling family. Books, reading, and the interest in history and politics were vital for us”, says Arnoud Gerits. He studied history and Dutch language and literature at the University of Amsterdam. In the 1970s most professors held their lectures about the Middle Ages. As he has always been a passionate reader with a special interest in history, he knew most books, facts, persons and epochs they were referring to in their lectures – and got bored. He took his degrees and thought about his future career. Then, one evening in Amsterdam, a friend celebrated the opening of his bookshop, and at the opening Arnoud Gerits met the owner of Athenaeum, one of Holland’s largest independent bookstores founded in 1966. The owner urged him to establish his own business. “And suddenly I knew: I wanted to become a bookseller.” The next day Arnoud Gerits called his father, who said:

“If you want to work in a bookshop, why don’t you work for me?” 

Click here to read the full article.

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