Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2013 Issue

New Blood in an Old Trade: Elizabeth Svendsen – Walkabout Books

Elizabeth Svendsen, owner of Walkabout Books in Xenia, Ohio.

The old school antiquarian book trade is alive and well and living in Xenia, Ohio. Meet Elizabeth Svendsen, 43, who entered the trade less than ten years ago as an online seller in 2004. She did well on the internet and in 2006 added Blue Jacket Books, a bricks and mortar used book store, which became a popular local hang out.

Aiming a little higher she sold the store to a customer in 2011 and upgraded to a traditional antiquarian dealership, Walkabout Books, complete with a second story showroom and a brand new ABAA membership.

Talk about old school, her specialty, the oldest of the old school niches – Exploration and Travels – and her first catalog devoted to Africa, is available by request. (books@walkaboutbooks.net)

While dealers in the past often came to the trade by working in or scouting for the dusty shops of a bygone era this is the generation came of age on line. Svendsen recalled her first forays into bookselling came by listing her books from graduate school.

As for the shop, as her on line business grew she needed a place to store her inventory and “in Xenia the difference in what it costs to rent a store and what it costs to rent storage was not substantial.”

She estimated it took her about five years “to actually earn a living” from her book selling efforts, and now with her transition into to the upper echelon of the field, she thinks “it might take that long again to get established.”

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions