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An interview with Bell's Books

Biblio checks in with Bell's Books 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 became interested in antique books over 25 years ago and have been keenly and avidly collecting books. I have hundreds of antique and collectible books. I only collect and sell First Edition's and those in immaculate condition thereby able to guarantee the integrity and quality of the book. As far as books I buy I love any book that is also antique and in need of appreciation and a good home. I even have McGuffey Readers, and first schoolbooks used in the West. I just feel they are as much a part of history as anything else. They represent the knowledge that was given to the generation of that time. It really brings into perspective how much we have achieved scientifically and mathematically, etc.

What drew you to bookselling?

I have loved books all of my life and want to share them with others and future generations. Books have become digitized and streamed, however, there is nothing like a First Edition or Limited Edition book!

Did you have any mentors in becoming a bookseller?

Yes, a small antique bookstore owner who is a wonderful woman was my encouragement. Since that time I have emersed myself within my book community. I have received many friendships and consignment's from personal collectors and estates.

What are your specialties as a dealer?

I have a very critical eye for quality and collectibility of books. I have various sources for books from 25. to 5,000. My books range from children's books and literature to the Classics. Rare and out-of-print are my specialty. I can literally obtain any book and have a vast network from which I may draw novels. Books are my passion.

What's the most amazing book you've ever sold?

First Edition- James M Cain - The Postman Always Rings Twice

What is your favorite part of being a bookseller?

Simply holding, reading, sharing, and collecting the books themselves. The books are the real joy of being a bookseller. I never collect any book that I would not love to have myself if not sold. I also enjoy answering all the questions I get daily regarding the books people own. Many want to know the value of the edition they own. how to collect, how to find a particular book. There was such an amazing range of questions that I decided it was time to start a blog to help. It also makes it easier for people to contact me to do an appraisal or acquisition that it has been through other avenues. You can always find me at

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

By not having a storefront I am able to avoid overhead and charge as little as possible for my books. I try to keep my prices fair so that everyone can find something they may enjoy!

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

I dropped a First Edition inscribed book and almost tore the title page!!! That is scary! :)

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


What do you personally like to read? Collect?

I like to read all books. I have a great collection of First Editions on the Impressionists, as they hated to be called, such as Monet, Manet, Lautrec, Degas, Basil, etc. A book on art is always amazing. I also have a lot of books on Jazz from some of the originals. In Kansas City, MO there is a great 12th St. Jazz Series at The Folly Theater where some of the greats have even performed. Then there are biographies from Lincoln, Churchill, Douglas (Frederick), and so many more. There are Children's Series which I love to read and reminisce such as all the Carolyn Keene (pseudonym as we know) different collections, Franklin W. Dixon, and all of the original First Edition Classics such as Robinson Crusoe, 2000 Leagues, Kidnapped, to Jo's Boys, Little Men and Women, Eight Cousins, and Heidi. I then also love the Modern Classics such as the always critically-acclaimed Stephen King, Sidney Sheldon, Dean Koontz, James Patterson,and Dick Francis, to Tom Swift,Uncle Jim, Rover Boys, Mystery Boys, Happy Hollisters and Bobbsey Twins, to Donna Parker, Trixie Beldon, Cherry Aames, to Annette and Grace Harlowe series. I love all books I really have to say. I even have my old Dr. Seuss and Children's Books.

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

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess - First Edition. I would never sell it but I might sell one of my other First Edition Dr. Suess books.

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

There are honestly so many books that I would love to by that I could never narrow it down to just one. Maybe the Gutenberg Bible!

If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring three books, what would they be?

I could never decide which books I love best, however, if I were stranded with only three it would be..I can only say the Bible would be one..the rest would be too hard to choose.