Aleister Crowley: The Man and the Magick

Aleister Crowley is a well known occultist and mystic, and the founder of Thelema. His credo of “Do As Thou Wilt” earned him the title, “The wickedest man in the world,” and the aliases Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast. The Thelemite prophet was an author and poet as well, and published many books until his death in 1947.

There are many sellers on Biblio who have stunning examples of his works, many of them signed first editions:

Memento Mori – Macabre Collectibles

Books and Ephemera on Death and Funeral Customs

Memento mori is a Latin phrase that means ‘Remember that you will die’ and it is meant to serve as a reminder that we all shall pass from this plane.  A commonly accepted story of the origin of the phrase claims that a slave was commanded to sing “Memento Mori” as he paraded behind his master, a triumphant war hero returning to Rome, to remind him that even though one may be strong, man’s time on earth is ultimately finite.

The phrase and concept caught on with the growth of Christianity and spread throughout the world.  There are chapels in Rome, Portugal, and the Czech Republic that have chandeliers, towers, sculpture and even walls made from or inlaid with hundreds of thousands of human bones.  There are many ornate tombs covered in laughing skeletons and angels alike, artwork depicting the danse macabre – the dancing death – taking away poor and rich alike, and later on, complicated clocks and watches decorated with reminders that your final second is ever just around the bend.

The Victorian era was rife with dramatic funerary customs, many modeled after Queen Victoria’s intense and life-long mourning of her beloved husband, Prince Albert.  It was common to clip locks of hair from the head of a deceased loved one to keep as a physical reminder of them.  Some women even wove the hair into a fine mesh and made jewelry from it, or tucked it into lockets.  Daguerreotypes and ambrotypes were growing more popular and many photographers specialized in post-mortem photography.  Those pictures were then inserted into cards, lockets, or handmade frames crafted by the grieving women of the family who weren’t allowed to do much else during their restrictive mourning period.

We’ve found a few amazing historically significant Memento Mori broadsides spanning the centuries, as well as books, ephemera and some modern writings on the subject. Click through to see!


Booksellers! You can now create Free Shipping Sales and offer free shipping on selected inventory items!

You asked for it, and now it’s here! You can now offer free shipping on selected inventory items, and you can specify a date range for that offer.  You’ll use the same tools that already exist for setting up book sales, and you can offer free shipping alone OR in addition to a book price reduction!

Offering free domestic shipping is an effective tool for increasing sales.  You already have the option of entering zeros in your shipping matrix if you want to offer free shipping on all orders to specific shipping zones, and a lot of sellers are now offering free domestic shipping by doing just that.  We heard from many Biblio booksellers who liked that tool, but wanted a way to offer free domestic shipping on selected inventory items only.  Now you can create a book sale which includes all or just a portion of your inventory with free shipping as the discount you offer.  Your free shipping offer can be combined with a book price discount or stand alone.  You can include all your books in your free shipping sale, hand-pick individual items, or select portions of your inventory.  For details about setting up a free shipping sale, click here.  If you have any questions, you can get in touch with our support team by clicking here.

What is Ephemera?

Biblio may specialize in used, rare, and out of print books, but you can also find maps, letters, official documents, cartoons, and art in our Ephemera page under Antiquarian and Rare Books. Biblio sellers are offering some truly rare and unique pieces for sale, and the delicacy of many of the items only adds to their value.

So if you are looking for a special gift or for something to truly set your book collection apart from the rest, be sure to browse some of the most amazing items offered on Biblio.


How Should I Begin My Book Collection?

One of my fondest memories of my grandparent’s old mountain house was the 25 foot floor-to-ceiling wall they dedicated to their vast book collection. They had everything from travel catalogs to anthropology textbooks to ancient and obscure mathematics books.  They had several rare and antique books, and they loved showing them off to their grandchildren. (more…)

What Does Don Draper Read?

Don Draper reading “The Inferno” by Dante

You don’t have to smoke Lucky Strikes, drink copious amounts of scotch, or cheat on your loved one to live like the characters in Mad Men. Along with their more self-destructive tendencies, characters like Don, Peggy, and Pete also like to read their favorite books, some of which had just been published in the 1960’s.
To find a complete list of all of the fantastic books that have been featured on Mad Men, check out the New York Public Library, which updates their list after each episode airs.  Below, find a few of my favorite examples from the series, with links so that you can check out the available copies on Biblio.  To stay as consistent as possible, each of the listings are for first editions, or at least copies that were printed before the 1970’s.

Literary Tourist: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Caliban Book Shop in Pittsburgh, PA
Caliban Book Shop in Pittsburgh, PA makes planning your next vacation a breeze, bringing a directory of independent bookstores, literary destinations, and bookish activities & events from all around the world right to your fingertips.

It is summer, and it’s time to start planning your vacation!

If you are a book-lover, one city that might be of interest is Pittsburgh.  Once known as ‘Hell with the lid off’ – it’s where Andrew Carnegie built his steel empire.  This brilliant businessman and great philanthropist is perhaps best known to bibliophiles as the person who funded the building of thousands of libraries all around the English speaking world.  Nineteen branches of the Pittsburgh public system are Carnegie libraries, including the main branch.  Here you’ll find  a rare book collection that includes some fascinating volumes on the history and culture of gypsies and the life of Oliver Cromwell.  In addition there are works by Dickens, Kipling, Clemens and many other famed authors, plus a selection of late 19th and early 20th century children’s literature.

This is just the start. There are some good used antiquarian shops in town, several active reading series programs and a number of nationally renowned theatre companies.

Check out the Literary Tourist listings map of Pittsburgh, and one possible day-long Literary Tourist itinerary.


Awesome Cover Art

To state the obvious: physical books are better than digital books. The smell, texture, and weight of accomplishment of physical books simply cannot be mimicked by E-readers. But perhaps the most obvious way a digital book pales in comparison to the physical book is in the artistry of book covers.  Part of what makes first editions and out of print books so valuable is their unique cover art, and they would undoubtedly enhance your book collection.

The care and creativity of book covers just cannot be replicated by pixels on a screen, and we have included a few of our favorite book covers from the “Make an Offer” pages on Biblio.  One particular seller, 1st Editions and Antiquarian Books, has some fantastic titles available that will absolutely add value to your rare and antique book collection.



Book Review: The Color of the Land

The Color of the Land: Race, Nation, and the Politics of Landownership in Oklahoma, 1832-1929, by David Chang David Chang’s book examines land use and ownership in the Creek Nation in Oklahoma. His book details events from before the Trail of Tears in 1830 through the passage of the Dawes Act of 1887, the Curtis Act of 1898, Oklahoma statehood in 1907, and into the early decades of the twentieth century. Chang contends that this history of the issues of … Continued

What are "Deluxe Edition" Books?

There is a world of breathtaking books out there, and many of the most beautiful are deluxe editions of popular titles.

If you are looking for a special copy of your favorite book, you should consider purchasing a deluxe edition. Deluxe editions often come with illustrations, manuscripts, ornate bindings, or additional information from the author or publisher that are not available in other editions.  Many deluxe editions are also limited editions, which can make them extremely rare and valuable.

Deluxe editions make fantastic gifts and lovely display books for your bookshelf or coffee table.  But best of all, if you love to share books with friends and family members, you can pass around reading copies of old favorites and keep your special deluxe edition just for yourself.

Deluxe editions are sure to increase the value of your rare and out-of-print book collection, and you can find many of these titles on!