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The dual life of actor & bookseller Neil Pearson

A good number of booksellers found on AbeBooks have dual careers. An office worker by day and bookseller by night. But Neil Pearson has perhaps the most interesting division of labour by being an actor and a bookseller.

During the 1990s, he was a familiar face to Channel 4 viewers as Dave Charnley (editor/cynic/womaniser) in the Drop the Dead Donkey comedy series, and also as Detective Superintendent Tony Clark in the BBC police series, Between the Lines. Cinema-goers will have seen him in Fever Pitch and Bridget Jones’ Diary. He has also appeared in a wide variety of stage productions, but rare books and bookselling is the passion that drives him when he steps off the boards.

“I’ve collected rare books for 30years or so,” said Neil, who has sold on AbeBooks since last year “Anyone who collects seriously, deals: you horsetrade and upgrade, and get to know a little of how the business works whether you mean to or not. My website is really just a formalising of what I’d been doing on a smaller scale for some time. A major difference, of course, is that you are catering to the tastes of other people rather than to your own, which is an excellent way of expanding both your knowledge and your own range of interests.

“I sell a wide range of material, with an accent on modern literature. And I’ve found that the address book I have as a result of my day job as an actor has given me access to a lot of material related to the performing arts; this area has now become a significant part of the business.

“I’m still very much doing my day job. The only drawback to this is that it severely curtails my ability to attend and participate in book fairs, which I’d very much like to do as soon as my schedule will allow it. Otherwise, I find the two pursuits work alongside each other quite easily.”

Browsing Neil’s books is an interesting experience. The entertainment industry is heavily reflected in his stock and there is also a helping of counterculture.

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