Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2017 Issue

Used Bookstores Are Back: The Published Page - Large Bricks & Mortar Shop Opens Near Ft. Worth.

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On Nov 1 Jim & Connye Hart, 72, are opening a large real used bookstore in Cleburne, Texas. When fully completed they expect to have over 100,000 books.

Move over Amazon, starting November 1st, Jim and Connye Hart open a big olden days style used bookstore in Cleburne, Texas outside of Fort Worth. When fully built out the Published Page expects to offer over 100,000 actual physical books. And talk about confidence, they are also buying a large two story 140-year-old building with nearly 10,000 sq. ft. of usable space to house the books!

 

The pair of 72-year-old booksellers, who live a few miles down the road in Arlington, started selling used books in 1997. First they were in a small antique center and later in a large regional mall, but rising rents forced them out of retail. By the early aughts they put the books in storage, put the business online and have been online as the Published Page ever since.

 

But with the Cleburne adventure, all that's about to change. According to Jim Hart, Cleburne is a small (pop. 30,000) old railway town about 30 miles down the road from Ft. Worth. In the past it has been bypassed by the highway system, but recently the Chisholm Trail Parkway (southern trail toll road) has opened, and apparently this route goes directly from Ft. Worth to somewhere near their front door. It takes about a half hour by car.

 

Earlier in the Fall the Harts announced their decision to their fellow Internet booksellers and since then they’ve been counting down the days to opening. Their Facebook page displays photos of the new premises - there’s Connye up on scaffolding painting the front facade, here comes the big moving vans, there are the shadowy figures physically moving their inventory in hundreds of boxes to the site, leaving little doubt that everything old is about to be new again.

 

The family has six children, none of whom, Jim said, has ever displayed the slightest interest in the trade before. But, he said, “they’re all pitching in to make this happen.”

 

Hart sees the November 1st date as a soft opening. He hopes to have at least a quarter of the floor space ready for occupancy and have enough books up on the shelves to make the shop a destination for book hungry buyers from the city and others in an area where used book stores, especially big ones, are sparse.

 

His plan is to begin on the ground floor and then continue building out the upstairs, which he describes as old style offices with antique lettering on the doors built around a traditional atrium. “I am an engineer,” he said, “so making the repairs, that part has been fun, but I’m ready to start selling books again."

 

Even though he's adding a huge new retail component, he expects to continue his internet business and feels confident that the numbers are going to pencil out, only now he’ll be paying a mortgage instead of storage fees.

 

The Published Page specialties include science fiction, petroleum geology, Civil War and American History. "Our average sale is about $12. We also sell inexpensive books for as little as $1.95," he said. “I like being in the book business and hate to see us price ourselves out of any market. I want our customers to be able to find something to buy and I want them to come back."

 

He also buys books, sometimes lots of books, and sometimes a few here or there. In the store he’ll buy either for cash or store credit, which should be a boon to those who have older books, paper or estate material and a dwindling number of places to sell them.

 

As for staff, Hart said, "Jim Arner, aka 'Gentleman Jim,' (a colleague in the Western trade) has volunteered to help for the first month, there are the kids, and we’ve had several qualified people express interest. The basic thought is, 'Let’s get it running.'”

 

Hart is an engineer by training, and although born in London to a Texas GI father and a British mother, his Texas roots go way back. When it comes to books, “I’ve been a reader and book collector all my life,” he said. “I was attracted to online book selling because I was writing computer software.”

 

Originally he thought he was going to be a “software guy” but after they bought their first really big lot of books, “it’s been more about books and less about engineering and consulting since then.” Presently the Published Page owns about 100,000 volumes of which about 40,000 are already cataloged and can be viewed online.

 

Asked why a septuagenarian couple takes on a six figure mortgage, he replied that they’d been scouting for a new location for several years and it “seemed better to have a hard asset (than a leased space). Given how old I am this is my retirement. If something happens it’s an asset for our children."

 

Hart isn’t sure if their new shop is the advance wave of a resurgence in large used book shops, with the smell of old paper and the long hours spent browsing through the shelves, but he did say, “I hope there will be booksellers around for a long time, and I hope to be one of them.”

 

Their new physical address is:

 

The Published Page

10 East Chambers St.

Cleburne, Texas 76031

Owners: Jim & Connye Hart (817) 349-6366

jimhart@publishedpage.com

 

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/bibliotreasures/

 

The Published Page online

www.publishedpage.com

 

Store hours are expected to be Tues.-Sat. from 10-6, with other hours by appointment. He hopes to eventually be open seven days a week. The Published Page will participate in a town-wide celebration in Cleburne on Sunday, Nov. 5, but will not otherwise be open on Sundays.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.

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