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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?


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. Mr. Mountain owned a used boom store that also sold various antique curiosities that he came across in the thousands of boxes that he had piled in the back room. Just the place to spend part of my summer and earn a few bucks. $1.50 an hour was earn good pay for a 10 year old back in 1974. It was Mr. Mountain who taught me the term, Paper Time Machines, referring to old documents, postcards, correspondence, books and ephemera. They items, when viewed properly, will give us a view into the day to day lives of those who came before us.You just need to listen with your eyes.

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

A 200 Year old grimoire.

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.

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, etc.

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

"Winnie the Pooh " & "When We Were Very Young". Not for Sale ..... EVER.!

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

Gutenberg Bible

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