If old or rare books appeal to you, you can pick up a firsthand scoop of Kenneth Gloss on Thursday, July 11 at 6 p.m. at the Oak Bluffs Library. Gloss, owner of the historic and internationally renowned Brattle Book Shop in Boston, will show us some of his favorite finds and describe some of the joys of “the hunt”, as well as what makes a book valuable. It has many fascinating anecdotes to share, as well as guidelines on what to look for when starting a collection. There will also be a question-and-answer session and best of all, he will then give free verbal reviews of any books you have brought with you.
I asked Gloss what can be considered a rare book. “A rare book is an unusual or special book in some way, but being exceptional is not enough to give it great value. It must be desired. A book can be scarce, but if the potential customer is even rarer, then it’s not worth much, ”he said. “The scarcity of a book is largely determined by supply and demand. A crisp copy of a sought-after book will be very expensive, but even a slightly worn copy of the same book will generally be priced much lower and can be difficult to sell. Some books, no matter how rare, are unsaleable because no one wants them.
Gloss continued, “The price is largely determined by what customers are willing to pay for a book. There is only a limited amount of information that you can glean from online ads. It helps to have pricing experience and perspective. Being a book expert doesn’t mean you know everything about every book. This is why we have a network of fellow booksellers, librarians and researchers with whom we work. We all have strengths in different areas.
Gloss explained that each ancient book has its own specialized “devotees”. Whether it’s a rare book or an old book, he says, there is a joy in finding the elusive treasure.
He told me that the most exciting part of working with rare books is “meeting the customers who come to our store; book collectors are a diverse crowd and social interactions are always enjoyable. And our shopping trips can take us to fascinating places where we experience the joy of the hunt. We never know what treasures we are going to find in our company.
Gloss’s entry into the book profession was a natural progression. The Brattle Bookstore was his father’s business, and he worked there since he was a child. After college, he decided to go into the book business rather than pursue a doctorate in chemistry. “In the end, I became the sole owner of the business,” he said. “I discovered that books were in my blood and that I would never be really happy if I gave up on the business.”
As a frequent guest reviewer of PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow,” Gloss can also give us some insight into what these adventures are like.
“It’s a lot of fun. We travel (at our expense – we don’t get paid anything for our appearances on the show) to some of the most interesting parts of the country, and we invariably meet wonderful people. We work hard, sometimes evaluating. articles from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm The goal is always to find particularly rare and valuable items Off camera the reviewers socialize a lot, learn from each other and we have a good time sharing our passions.
Kenneth Gloss will appear at the Oak Bluffs Library on Thursday, July 11 at 6 p.m. ET. You can find out more about his store at brattlebookshop.com and some of his most unique and fun finds on his new podcast, brattlebookshop.com/brattlecast (also available on iTunes at bit.ly/ITBrattle.