On April 1, 2011, perhaps just as you are clicking on this file, I will celebrate my 32nd year as antiquarian dealer based on Maui. It was not my original goal to pursue this vocation, but I ended up doing what I knew best and following my parents into the trade.
My enterprise never reached the scale or stature of theirs. But looking back on their fifty years of running the Cellar Book Shop (ABAA) late of Detroit, Michigan together and my more than thirty years running Prints Pacific, Ltd. in Wailuku, Hawaii I find that some things haven’t changed at all, while other things have changed a great deal and the rate of change is accelerating all the time.
A lot of what I know I learned I learned from my parents.
Before there was Google there was my father Morton J. (Jock) Netzorg, the one-man-one-brain-all-purpose-reference-source. You want Expert – We got Expert.
Systems? Meet my mother Petra F. (Pete) Netzorg. At its height my parents’ shop had four workers but my mother ran it with the zeal and focus of a huge conglomerate. She was German, she had her standards. God help the slacker who didn’t perform exactly to her specs.
As for my brother David and I, born 1943 and 1946 respectively, we were along for the ride. The book business was not optional and we learned it literally from the bottom up.
They called it the Cellar because it started in the basement, but in later years it was on the second story over a Black beauty salon in a rapidly declining Detroit neighborhood. Most of her business was by phone and catalog or via ads and lists in the AB (Antiquarian Bookman) a weekly trade publication read with semi-religious fervor by booksellers. My mom's many and faithful clients started with her as lowly graduate students and ended as Professors Emeritus or Director of Library Services. She discouraged visitors, especially visitors without an appointment. She didn’t like “interruptions” which was what she considered most live arrivals to be.