23 March 2011

A Rare Seller of Rare Books

As a birthday present to myself, I bought a fancy edition of my favorite book, Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed. (See this previous posting about my affection for this book -- and the fantastic globe made for me of the planet Anarres!) I'd longed to own this edition for many years, but it was out of budgetary reach and, in time, I forgot about it.

In searching for images of the book's cover to illustrate the previous post, I came upon Franklin Books, an online rare book retailer. Mr. Larry O’Shaughnessy is the owner and proprietor. Himself collector of rare photos and art books, he started his business as a logical extension, and as a way to support his own collecting.

As such, his regard for his books and his customers is deep and abiding. "I specialize," he says "in buying and selling leather bound books, author/artist signed editions, and the contemporary book arts. My focus is to offer books that are truly beautiful as well as being significant literary works. I am a proud member of the IOBA, Independent Online Booksellers Association and a self-certified book addict."

Yes, dear Reader, I bought the book. And thereby hangs a tale of retail wonderment. Upon hitting the order button, I soon received an email from Paypal confirming it and another from Franklin Books doing the same. Nothing unusual there. But then later that same day I received another email, this one signed by Mr. O'Shaughnessy himself. The book was on the way, he said, and gave me the tracking number. He said to contact him if I had any other questions or concerns.

Wow, I thought, this is a nice touch; a real person emailed me about something I bought. The book arrived just three days later (Mr. O'Shaughnessy doesn't charge for shipping either.) It was very neatly wrapped in bubble wrap, comfortably packed all around with foam peanuts, and sent in a good-quality postal box. Inside was a handwritten note: "Thank you! I hope you enjoy the book. Regards, Larry." 

Mr. O'Shaughnessy, I will enjoy this book greatly, and not just because it's a favorite of mine. You added to my joy by treating this book as though it was special to you as well. Whenever I pick it up to read, I will have in mind that there is a fellow book person out there who treasures books as I do. 

Thank you!

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