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An interview with Paper Time Machines

Biblio checks in with Paper Time Machines 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?

1974


What drew you to bookselling?

My first job, $1.50/hour, 5 hours a week, was for a kindly WWI vet named John "Lee" Mountain, who was the owner of "Torrance Book Store"


Did you have any mentors in becoming a bookseller?

Mr. John "Lee" Mountain


What are your specialties as a dealer?

Antique, travel books and atlases, maps, history, hobbies, scarce languages, dystopian literature, propaganda, and books on religion. Service manuals, technical manuals, operation manuals for obsolete devices. Catalogs and advertising.


What is your favorite part of being a bookseller?

Getting to see so many treasures, that I wouldn't have if I weren't selling what I come across. Speaking with a variety of open minded people about a widest variety of topics. I tend to find that book readers of more often than not, open minded and informed individuals. Even when speaking with individuals with viewpoints different than my own, readers are generally willing to listen to the oppo0sing viewpoint, and even change their own minds when the situation warrants.


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

I worked in a storefront bookshop as a youth. There aren't too many left these days, I'm afraid.


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

I was on my way to work. I was still working at the bookshop at the age of 14, when one day I see the owner, Mr. Mountain walking ahead of me. As the turned right at the corner, he looked backed at seemed to have acknowledged me with a nod. I rushed ahead to the corner, but Mr. Mountain was no where to be seen. I continued to the bookshop, only a block further and saw that Mr. Mountain's friend was putting a notice up on the door. Mr. Mountain had died earlier that morning and they hadn't been able to call me before I left my house for work.


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

DK Books Sukhumvit Rd., Bangkok, Thailand


What do you personally like to read? Collect?

Hobby Books and antique books on travel, maps, history, science, social studies, etc.


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

Ancient Greek copy of any of the Gospels.


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

The Holy Bible The Stand (It's Long) Tom Sawyer