The Brattle Book shop in Boston has a story to tell beyond the bound pages that it collects. Not only is it one of the largest and oldest antiquarian book shops in the US, but it has been family owned since 1949. Kenneth Gloss and his family have kept appraising, collecting, and selling books in their bloodline for 69 years and counting.
What they offer
Antiquarian book shops are a place for book collecting that specializes in rare and/or old books. Brattle’s is like a treasure chest of literature, with books ranging from one dollar to hundreds of thousands. To put these numbers into perspective, popular books like Harry Potter could sell for almost $50,000, if they are first edition. The books don’t necessarily have to be old and rare, in this case, a first edition of Harry Potter is just rare. Each book or documents’ worth is ultimately decided by its current owner, and expert, Kenneth Gloss.
Staying progressive and up-to-date with technology, the Brattle Book Shop offers a full database of their collections online so you can search and contact the store without having to make the trip to Boston. But, contrary to the books in the store, the physical experience of visiting this massive shop is priceless and worth a visit. That way you are able to talk with the experienced buyers who work there, and they can teach you how to buy and sell properly.
Brattle also helps book collectors design their home bookshelf by taking into consideration the books and styles that complement each person’s taste—a personal touch you can’t get anywhere else.
A family affair
Book collecting may seem like repetitive work, but Ken and his family get to travel, meet, and talk to people from all over the world—sharing with Ken the stories behind the books they are trying to sell. A local and national personality in his own right, Ken has appeared on television shows such as Antiques Roadshow, and has even ended up in a question on Jeopardy. He also travels to libraries to lecture on the uniqueness of his shop.
Brattlecast is the book stores own podcast, run by Ken. Each episode is based off of the families’ experiences—from the history of the store to their craziest appraisal encounters, they always have something worth talking about.
For more fascinating places to check out in the US, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/discover.