Welcome back to our Bookseller Spotlight feature! Catherine Petruccione was kind enough to take the time to tell us about the Old Scrolls Book Shop in Stanley, New York. Biblio loves to support independent booksellers…it’s what we are all about!
How did you get started selling books?
I had scouted books for my own collection for many years, and of course I always nurtured a dream of becoming an antiquarian bookseller. My husband Ron not only encouraged me, but re
built our 1850’s farmhouse to accommodate a book shop in the rear wing and crafted lovely book cases in the library for the rarer books. Soon the business took off and we have both been heavily involved since 2001.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Meeting interesting people from all walks of life, and handling books every day.
What is most challenging?
Finding a kindly way to tell some people who bring common, worn books to the store (with high hopes of selling them) that they aren’t collectible books.
Do you specialize in any genres?
19th and 20th Century first edition literature, Travel/Adventure Narratives, Decorated American Trade Bindings, Modern Library Editions.
What do you think of e-books?
Just another screen to read, another battery to recharge. A real book–kind of like the egg–is the perfect package, and beautiful to gaze upon.
Do you have any trade tips?
Condition, condition, condition and Customer Care. We strive to stock clean, solid examples of the best titles we can find, and we don’t mind paying a little more to get that kind of stock into our store. Stocking shoddy material is a waste of time and space. Describe your books meticulously if you sell on-line, and provide photographs. Take the time to get to know your customers and what kind of books they are after. Respond quickly to customers, provide them with shipping and tracking information. Package carefully (we always ship in boxes). It’s terribly disappointing to purchase a beautiful book only to have it arrive with cracked hinges, bumped corners, or other damage from improper shipping techniques. Be fair with people who bring in worthy books to sell to you for stock — offer an honest price, and word will get around. Never pass up an opportunity to learn — from your customers, your fellow booksellers, and from books.
Do you have a bookstore cat, or other mascot?
We have a small black cat named Spider. Ron found her as a tiny kitten mewing in our hayloft on Halloween morning after I’d asked him to get me a mousetrap!
What is your clientele like?
Loyal. We have developed a strong base of regular customers who trust us, and who visit the store or website often because they know we are always stocking the kind of books they are seeking, and we care about their collections.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
It’s a great privilege to be able to work at something you are passionate about. To me, being a good bookseller means being surrounded by an ever-changing inventory of worthy books, and passing them on to others who appreciate them. There is something magical about books… they bring people together with shared interests and values…we have made many friends and interesting contacts in this business.
Catherine Petruccione / Ronald Sollome
Old Scrolls Book Shop
4578 Rte 247
Stanley NY 14561
Store Hours: 9:00am -9pm Mon-Sun.
Facebook: Old Scrolls Book Shop