AB Bookman's Weekly

AB Bookman's Weekly was a distinguished trade publication that first came into existence in 1948. The magazine was the brainchild of Sol. M. Malkin, brought to life under the auspices of the R. R. Bowker Company, a well-known publisher of Books in Print and other book trade and library periodicals. The magazine had its headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. Between the early 1950s and the early 1990s, AB Bookman's Weekly was widely recognized as the premier marketplace for out-of-print books in North America. Renowned writer Nicholas Basbanes even went as far as to call it "the leading trade publication in the antiquarian world."Image:ab-bookmans-weekly-sample-cover

The magazine's content was multifaceted, offering not only long lists of books available for purchase or wanted, but also providing trade news, reference lists, conference announcements, and a variety of special features concerning the book trade, librarianship, and book collecting. AB Bookman's Weekly originally started as a column in Publishers Weekly titled "Antiquarian Bookseller". However, in 1948, it spun off as a separate publication. This was a time when mail-order businesses specializing in out-of-print and second-hand books were booming.

Sol. M. Malkin became the sole proprietor of the magazine in 1953, purchasing it from Bowker. The magazine only came to be known under its final title, AB Bookman's Weekly, in 1967. For more than four decades, the magazine was essential reading not only for used and rare booksellers, but also for acquisitions and rare book librarians, book collectors, and those with a keen interest in the history of books and printing.

Malkin's wife, Mary Ann O'Brian Malkin, affectionately known as "[mam]," was instrumental in the magazine's operations. Her interest in embroidery was mirrored in the many reviews of needlework books featured in AB Bookman's Weekly. When Malkin sold the magazine to Jacob L. Chernofsky in 1972, it boasted a robust subscription list of more than 10,000 subscribers. The enduring legacy of Sol. M. Malkin was commemorated in 1985 when Columbia University's School of Library Service established an annual lecture in bibliography in his honor. This tribute continued even after Malkin's death in 1986, with the Malkin Lecture moving to the University of Virginia in 1992 under the auspices of Rare Book School.

Under the leadership of Jacob L. Chernofsky, AB Bookman's Weekly continued to flourish until the early 1990s. However, the rise of online listings of used and rare books began to pose a significant challenge. In December 1977, Chernofsky and Margaret Knox Goggin, the dean of the University of Denver's School of Librarianship, organized a seminar on used and antiquarian books, targeting booksellers and librarians. This event, known as the Workshop/Seminar in the Out-of-Print and Antiquarian Book Market, became an annual fixture in 1979, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2008.

Despite its illustrious history and pivotal role in the book trade, AB Bookman's Weekly was unable to withstand the digital tide. The magazine stopped publishing at the end of 1999. Although attempts were made by Publishers Weekly to resurrect it as an online magazine in 2004, these efforts were unsuccessful. As such, AB Bookman's Weekly remains a fond memory, a symbol of a bygone era in the world of books and publishing.{{Categories}}

[key]Login to Edit Article Edit History