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An interview with Scraps of American History/Greenberry House

Biblio checks in with Scraps of American History/Greenberry House to learn more about their book business, collecting interests and more! To view and shop their inventory, click here.


When did you get started in bookselling?

I first started selling books online back in 2000 as a way of supplementing my income while I was unable to work full time due to family obligations. I have been an avid reader and book buyer all my life and had a large collection.


What drew you to bookselling?

Along with loving books, I also love the challenge of retail and enjoy the interaction with customers, especially discussing books and related subjects. My partner, who I met in 2003, was also a book dealer and had been in the business since the 1980s. Our combined talents led to our book and yarn shop in Meadows of Dan. Our book collection expanded dramatically over the years and we began to sell online together shortly after we met.


What are your specialties as a dealer?

We have an extensive collection of history books and literature, some antiquarian and children's books and a vast selection of other subjects. Only a few of our books are online although we add more daily.


What is your favorite part of being a bookseller?

I enjoy the challenge of correctly identifying and valuing a good book, but my favorite part of being a bookseller is meeting new people and discussing our mutual love of books.


Do you have an open storefront or have you in the past?

Yes, the shop in Meadows of Dan has been open for 10 years now. We are located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at 12206 Squirrel Spur Road, near the intersection of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Highway 58 at Milepost 177 - 178.


If so, do/did you have any bookstore pets?

Yes, Knightley is my Australian Shepherd hearing service dog. He helps alert me that customers are in the shop, tells me when the phone rings and lets me know when cars are coming as we walk to work every morning. At home and at the shop he is an invaluable assistant! He loves people and attention!


What is the funniest / strangest / scariest thing that ever happened in your store?

Our shop is in the old farmhouse that has belonged to our family for generations. Does the resident ghost count as scary? We don't have any problem with her, although since she's a relative we don't mind her occasional appearances. Three generations of my family have seen her and we think we know that she is a great-great-grandmother who loved children. She doesn't appear during the day, so you can visit quite comfortably!


What is your favorite bookshop (other than your own)?

When we visited England we visited several lovely bookstores. I especially remember one in Chester, a tiny shop packed with antiquarian books. I think it was called City Wall Books.


What do you personally like to read? Collect?

I love the classics; right now I'm reading Don Quixote, but I also love "cozy" mysteries. Reading for our book club has expanded my horizons. They generally chose good modern fiction for our meetings and I've discovered some wonderful new writers.


What's your favorite book you personally own? Would you sell it, if the price were right?

Oh, my, that's a hard question! I love all my books but, yes, I would sell most of them for the right price. I do have one treasure, a book club edition of Scarlet Sails by Alexander Grin. My grandmother gave it to me when I was a child and I treasure it more because she loved the story.


What one book would you buy if price were no object?

Any first edition by Ralph Waldo Emerson.