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    Adventures of a rare book dealer (and former small bookshop owner).

A recent conversation with someone selling books

Written on May 7, 2008

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SCENE: The shop. A woman has brought in three nineteenth-century books. Two are poor-condition reprints of classic works. One is a handsome reprint of a decidedly minor poet. Some nice plates, but otherwise unremarkable.

ME: I’m afraid these just aren’t in good enough condition. This one is nice, though. I can pay $15.00 for it.

“Really!??! The guy in Pacific Grove offered me fifty dollars.”

[NOTE: P.G. is one town over from my shop. There are no bookshops there.]

ME: Sorry, I can’t pay fifty bucks for all three books, let alone one. Thanks for bringing them in.

“No, he offered me fifty dollars EACH.”

ME: Each!?


ME: Well, you should go and take that money right now. That is A LOT more than these books are worth. I’m guessing that’s a better deal than you’ll find anywhere else.


ME: Absolutely. Just out of curiosity, who offered you that?

“I’m not telling YOU!”


Too bad. If there’s a guy nearby who’ll pay that much for books like that, I have a bunch he should take a look at.

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