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An interview with OLD WORKING BOOKS & Bindery (Est. 1994)

Biblio checks in with OLD WORKING BOOKS & Bindery (Est. 1994) 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?


What drew you to bookselling?

Karen: 1. I am easily bored and bookselling safeguards against boredom in that if I lived to be 500 years, I could not possibly read (or viewed) all the books written. Ron 2. We literally had a house bursting with books that I had read or no longer needed

Did you have any mentors in becoming a bookseller?

Karen: MARIAB (now SNEAB) and Clare Murphy Ron: Marinus Parmentier and Brainerd Phillipson

What are your specialties as a dealer?

Multiple book categories of those which become a part of a professional working or collecting library. Since Karen is our binder, we repair many of our titles before selling and she offers her services to the trade and to individuals local or long distance. She has worked in leather, and multimedia for over 45 years and has 'retired to bookbinding, marbling and paper conservation'. As an addendum to Amber's fine article on Family Bibles, Karen's foremost request is restoring family bibles. Her secret motto is, "the Bible fixed me, so I fix Bibles". We also do rare book, ephemera and print Appraisals for institutions and individuals providing the necessary IRS or probate forms. If Karen can not repair a book, she recycles illustrations which are trimmed and dry mounted on Strathmore acid free card stock with matching envelopes. The one of a kind blank notecards are often combined with her hand marbled papers and are both collectible and frameable. You may visit before and after book repairs on or Karen's blank notecards on category "Blank Note Cards". Her additional work can be viewed on or her Etsy store (designsKTB).

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

Karen: The Pictorial Bible....New York: Robert Sears 1860. Second Edition

What is your favorite part of being a bookseller?

Connecting with like souls who actually purchase books

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

Old Working Books was located at 1650 Washington Street in Holliston, Massachusetts from 1994 to 1998

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

We seem to have a standard inventory of two cats and proudly no mice

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

Karen: The funniest when we opened our doors, the strangest when we closed our doors, the scariest is doing business on the internet

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

Karen: New England Book Auctions Ron: The Book Bear, Chester Bookworm

What do you personally like to read? Collect?

Everything (between the two of us)

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

Karen: Collection of Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress editions, 11th Edition of Encyclopedia Britannica in custom wooden display stand (which I keep saying I will rebind someday with a pictorial spine picture instead of roman numerals)

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

Karen: First edition of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress

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

Karen: Bible, blank note book, How to survive on a desert island