The Quill & Brush was established in 1976. They maintain a stock of approximately 12,000 books specializing in first editions of American and English Literature (Mysteries and Detective Stories, Science Fiction, Children’s and Illustrated Books).
How did you get started selling books?
Got interested reading a book column that Van Allen Bradley had every week in the old Washington (DC) Star, Books in Your Attic. That was in the 1950’s and 1960’s. And started scouting.
What makes your bookshop special?
We’ve been around since 1976 and part time before that for 15 years. Specialize in 19th and 20th century literary firsts and other collectible books. We also publish a number of bibliographical checklists, with estimated prices, as well as our Collected Books. The fourth edition of which is coming out in May.
Do you attend any book shows?
We used to do 10 or more a year but at present just New York and perhaps one other. We did Seattle two years ago and enjoyed the town and fair very much.
Can you tell us about any upcoming in-store/online events/sales/etc?
We just finished the New York fair which was better for us than last year and the feeling seems to be that perhaps (just perhaps) things are turning around in the economy.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The fact that we enjoy the work and meet many very intelligent and nice individuals.
What is most challenging?
The economy over the last 10 years or so was not anything like the 1990’s.
Have you had any celebrities visit your store?
A few, but we usually see them at the fairs.
Do you have a piece of book repair/preservation advice?
Find a competent conservationist who can bind, repair and make boxes and stay with them so that when you need something in a hurry they’ll do it for you.
Do you have a bookstore cat, or other mascot?
Max, our golden retriever is the greeter here. Loves just about everyone, as do about all goldens.
What is your clientele like?
A few big spenders and many people who collect one or two, or maybe 10 authors.
What do you think of Ebooks?
Seem to be here to stay and don’t have anything to do with our business. Hard to collect them. My problem is that if Google manages to put the text for most books online it will take most sales away from the few used bookstores and generalists we still have, as many books are bought for content, and usually not all the content.
Who is your favorite local author?
For more information:
Quill & Brush Booksellers
Allen & Patricia Ahearn
1137 Sugarloaf Mountain Road
Dickerson, MD 20842
301-874-3200 or 888-261-8581
Antiquarian Booksellers of America(ABAA)
International League of Antiquarian Booksellers(ILAB)
Washington Area Bookseller Association(WABA)