Bookseller Interviews

 A few years ago, Michael Ginsberg embarked upon an archival journey for the ABAA. Recognizing the absence of member histories in the ABAA annals, Michael began conducting video interviews of members at our three annual fairs. The interviews cover members' personal histories as well as their involvement in the rare book trade. The ABAA extends many thanks to Michael, as well as Taylor Bowie, who has also conducted a number of interviews.
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Richard Murian’s background is in history and philosophy, and it was by chance that he entered the trade. His path crossed with Herb Caplan of Argus Books, who put Richard to work in the book business. After a few stints working for libraries and as a Pastor, Richard founded Alcuin Books in 1990. He became a member of the ABAA in 2003. Alcuin Books operates out of Scottsdale, AZ, and specializes in American History, Civil War, Fine Bindings, Fore-Edge Paintings, French Literature, Japanese Art, Modern First Editions, and Western Americana.


John Howell has worked in the trade for years and finally decided to start his own business in 2005. John became a member of the ABAA in 2011. John Howell for Books operates out of Los Angeles, CA, and specializes in Early Printing and Manuscripts, Fine Press, Los Angeles and California, Miniature Books, Book Art, and Typography.


Andy Nettell worked for the National Park Service for many years before deciding to start his own business. Andy started in music but soon decided to focus on selling books. Andy purchased Back of Beyond Books in 2005 and became a member of the ABAA in 2010. Back of Beyond Books operates out of Moab, UT, and specializes in Edward Abbey, Western Exploration, Natural History, Botanical and Bird Prints, Western Americana, and Native Americana, and Literature.


Chet Ross left his successful career in the high pressure world of art and design for rare books and established his first business in 2001. Chet became a member of the ABAA in 2009. Chet Ross Rare Books operates out of Southworth, WA, and specializes in Exploration of the Polar Regions, Exploration & Travel, Nobu Shirase, and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1910-1912.


Jerry Jacobs has always been a collector-- first coins, then reading copies of books, and finally rare books. After a stint in the restaurant business, Jerry worked for Stephen Acronico Rare Books, getting his first business experience with antiquarian books. When that shop closed in 1983, Jerry decided to go out on his own and founded Lost Horizon Bookstore. He became a member of the ABAA in 1993. Lost Horizon Bookstore operates out of Santa Barbara, CA, and specializes in Art & Decorative Arts, Antique Reference, Prints & Maps, General Antiquarian, and California History.


George Baker was a journalist for 30 years before looking to another profession where he could interact with people who “loved the written word and what it represents”. Though an avid reader, George was never a collector, and when he decided to found Sawtooth Booksellers in 1996 developed his inventory from scratch. George became a member of the ABAA in 2011. Sawtooth Booksellers operates out of Boise, ID, and specializes in Modern Literature, Signed Books, Modern Fiction, and 20th Century Poetry.


Carol Sandberg grew up with a love of books. She focused her studies on English and obtained a Library Science degree in Rare Books. Carol worked at Heritage Book Shop before joining Michael R. Thompson Booksellers in 1985 as a partner. Carol became a member of the ABAA in 1993. Michael R. Thompson Booksellers operates out of Los Angeles, CA, and specializes in Fine Printing, especially California Fine Printing, History of Ideas, History of Mathematics & Computers, History of Science, Literature, and Western Philosophy.


Mike Tuck entered the trade while working part-time at a bookstore. He quickly fell in love with the business and made it his career. Mike established Bungalow Books in 2000 and became a member of the ABAA in 2012. Bungalow Books operates out of Pueblo, CO, and specializes in Crime Fiction, Modern Literature, Prison Literature, and Signed Books.

Agnes Dawson

Agnes Dawson


Agnes Dawson learned the book business in the offices of Dawson’s Book Shop as a part time employee. She married Muir Dawson, threw herself into the business,and never looked back. Agnes is now retired and an Emeritus member of the ABAA.


Books were a part of Lynne Owens’s life from an early age. At first her jobs supported her personal collecting, but soon decided to begin selling and founded Thorn Books in 1987. Lynne became a member of the ABAA in 1991. Thorn Books operates out of Cortaro, AZ, and specializes in Americana, Antiquarian, Arthurian, Britain, Children’s, and Literature.


Charles Kutcher has worn a number of different hats sincehe earned his degrees in English Literature and business: teacher, novelist, business owner, and financial consultant. In 1998 Charles and his wife Joan opened Kaaterskill Books in 1998. Charles became a member of the ABAA in 2007. He is currently the Treasurer of the Association and serves on the Board of Governors in addition to other committees. Katterskill Books operates out of East Jewett, NY, and specializes in Americana, Art, Books on Books, History, Literature, and Religion.


Mark Hime and his wife left LA in the early 1970’s to move to the mountains. Mark discovered that he could buy and sell books by catalog from his secluded mountain village home and, after six years of study and collecting, he founded Biblioctopus in 1980. Mark became a member of the ABAA in 1983. Biblioctopus operates out of Century City, CA, and specializes in First Editions of the Classics of Fiction, and High Spots in History, Science, and Philosophy.


Boris Bruton opened a small bookshop in San Francisco in the early 1970’s, and since then has owned a number of shops. Plaza Books was founded in 1988 on the Plaza in Sonoma and remained there for 15 years until Boris moved the business further north to Washington. Boris became a member of the ABAA in 1994. Plaza Books operates out of Port Townsend, WA, and specializes in Mexico, Latin America, Spanish Southwest, and Spain.


Robert Dagg was a collector from a young age, but he didn’t begin collecting books until college. Like many others, he decided to pursue selling and began working for other booksellers. Robert went out on his own in 1989 when he established Robert Dagg Rare Books, and he became a member of the ABAA in 1994. Robert Dagg Rare Books operates out of San Francisco, CA, and specializes in Modern First Editions and Mystery/Detective Fiction.


Philip McBlain began collecting books shortly after he started practicing law. He quickly realized that he enjoyed books and the book trade far more than law, and made a career change. Philip established McBlain Books in 1970 and became a member of the ABAA in 1977. McBlain Books operates out of Hamden, CT, and specializes in Africa, African Americana, Asia and the Pacific, North Africa and the Middle East.
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