Rare Books Dealer Librairie Clavreuil Expands Its International Presence

In Feature Articles by Jaroslaw Adamowski

Cathleen Robitaille of Librairie Clavreuil will be at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair: ‘Our aim is to discuss our love of old books together.’

Image: Librairie Clavreuil site

By Jarosław Adamowksi | @JaroslawAdamows

‘A Chance To Be Seen and Known by a New Audience’
With the 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair approaching (May 23 to 29), a number of rare book dealers are preparing to present some of their valuable volumes at the event.

The Paris-based bookstore Librairie Clavreuil opened its doors in 1910, nine years after Charles Clavreuil opened his first bookstore in the city.

Since then, the store at 19 Rue de Tournon has gained a reputation as one of the leading outlets for antiquarian books in the French capital.

Librairie Clavreuil specializes in old books and manuscripts published between the 13th and 19th centuries.

The bookstore’s offer comprises rare first editions of works from a variety of genres; from history; medicine and science; to world literature and travel books.

Librairie Clavreuil is today run by Stéphane Clavreuil, a fourth-generation bookseller, who, among others, has expanded the venture’s international presence by opening a rare books store in London.

Cathleen Robitaille is the assistant bibliographer at Librairie Clarveuil. She began her work there after taking a PhD in the history of art. Publishing Perspectives begins by asking her about the sales climate for rare books relative to the pandemic’s effects.

Cathleen Robitaille: The market has been quite good since the end of the various lockdowns we have experienced over the past years during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Cathleen Robitaille

Last February, during the 54th California Book Fair, we sold Giovanni Boccaccio’s De Mulieribus claris from 1473.

We were also fortunate to sell Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s Vedute di Roma from 1778-1779 at last April’s 62nd International Antiquarian Book Fair in New York.

At our bookshop in Paris, we have sold the Marcel Proust’s Les Plaisirs et les jours from 1896. The book was on display in our vitrine and caught the eye of a passerby who stopped in to buy it.

As you can see, the books we sell are not necessarily in French.

Publishing Perspectives: What do you hope to achieve by participating in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair this year? Do you have plans to hold talks with Middle Eastern booksellers, publishers, and other industry players?

Cathleen Robitaille: As always, when we participate in book fairs, we intend to meet customers, librarians, and booksellers. Our aim is to discuss our love of old books together.

It’s also a chance for us to be seen and known by a new audience. The Middle East market is quite new for us.

You’ll find Librairie Clavreuil at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair at stand 9F42.

An image from one of the currently presented pieces on Librairie Clavreuil’s site, from’ Théâtre des États de Son Altesse Royale le Duc de Savoye,’ Prince de Piemont, Roy de Cypre. Tome I. Two Volumes, large folio (555 x 360mm). Offered at €35,000 (US$36,918). ‘Contemporary mottled calf, double gilt filet, central coat of arms of Duke Choiseul-Praslin (see OHR, 815), spine gilt with raised bands red edges.’ 

More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing in the Middle East is here, more on the United Arab Emirates is here, more on the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is here, more on Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows, book fairs, and literature festivals is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Jaroslaw Adamowski

Jaroslaw Adamowski is a freelance writer based in Warsaw, Poland. He has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the Jerusalem Post, and the Prague Post.