Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2013 Issue

To Co-Op or Not to Co-Op

Booktown1

Booktown. Photo by Rinn Wright.

Our little “Open by Appointment” bookstore is perched at 6200 feet in the Northern Nevada Mountains in Virginia City. But, if it weren’t for my online sales, we could not continue to operate. It is just too small an area with too few local readers. The substantial tourist trade is red necked and blue collared. We didn’t want to quit selling books, because we love it, and besides, the business pays our utilities. We own the building in which our store resides and live above it, so overhead is minimal.

Then, at last year’s Sacramento Book Fair, my friends who are booksellers in Grass Valley, California, told me about their cooperative bookstore. The co-op was looking for another dealer to take some open space in their store. Hmm, we thought, it is only a two-hour drive from Reno to Grass Valley.

Grass Valley and its neighbor, Nevada City, four miles north, are officially designated as “Book towns,” which is a town or village with a large number of used book or antiquarian book stores. These stores attract bibliophile tourists and locals who read a lot. Both towns have lots of bookstores, cultural activities and musical events going on all the time and there are a number of festivals which bring in both locals and tourists from all over the world.

We were invited to the Co-op’s next monthly meeting, so off we drove, over Donner Summit and down Highway 20 to Grass Valley to see if we were suited for the space. I’m not noted for playing well with others or taking guff, so I am always skeptical about group-anythings.

We were quite familiar with Booktown Books as it is a wonderful store where we had bought books on several occasions on the way to and from the San Francisco Bay area. The building which houses this bookolopolis was built before 1930 to serve as a Salvation Army regional office, and later it had many other incarnations, including an unsuccessful spa, until Booktown Books showed it its true destiny. It has been very nicely restored and adapted with a huge, well lighted, open space with high ceilings and lots of windows. The location is fabulous – right in the heart of the historic Old Town Grass Valley which dates from the early 1850s. It is close to a myriad of other fun stores and really good restaurants (which is another thing we don’t have in Virginia City).

We went to the meeting and introduced ourselves to the other twelve dealers. Most of the dealers are long-time, experienced booksellers such as we are. They seemed to respect our credentials and experience, and we theirs. It felt like a good fit. They gave us the lowdown on just what a book cooperative was all about. Several of the dealers took us aside to give us the “dirt” on some of the others, but that’s human nature.

Booktown Books was originally started in 1998 by some of the same dealers who are still there, and kept expanding and initiating new dealers until it moved into the present 4,000+ square foot, two-story building in 2005. Booktown Books is a primo place to get almost any type of book on almost any subject one can imagine.

Booktown offers used, scarce, rare, and unique books, ephemera, books on tape and CDs, and movies on tape and DVD. They also have a great collection of music on CDs and cassettes, and LP records, and even some very nice art. Each Bookseller has a booth space and displays their special genres of books. The store is clean, well lighted, and tidy. The books are clean and neatly arranged.

We decided to jump in with both feet. We took the upstairs balcony for classics and modern fiction and nonfiction in many genres. Upstairs might not have been the best choice because it is rather remote and people are often too lazy to climb the stairs, however, with some creative advertising it should be okay. Most of the other dealers are very cooperative about sending folks upstairs to find books. I also have a half booth on the main floor where I keep my Sci-Fi, Meta, Occult, and Mysteries. We have been in there now for six months and are making our rent and a bit extra each month.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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