The Book Guys / Second Story Books
Washington, DC, USA
The Book Guys have been around since the 1980s when Allan Stypeck started making guest appearances on radio shows. Their show is now heard on stations from Alaska to Quebec and California, and the hosts attribute its success to a simple but intriguing format - listeners call up from around the world and ask Allan to value their book. Allan, who has been a professional bookseller for more than 30 years, asks pertinent questions and gives an on-the-spot evaluation without any prior knowledge of the book.
Allan’s knowledge comes from decades of experience. He runs Second Story Books - a business that has expanded from a store with 5000 books located on a second floor in Washington DC in 1973 to one of the largest used and rare book stores in the world.
“The show is very simple but it works wonderfully well,” said Allan. “We get callers from across North America. Aside from the radio, people access the show by clicking on bookguys.com where the past 10 shows are archived for listeners. Many of our callers are Internet listeners. The Web has allowed us to respond to callers from around the globe.
“Callers describe their book to me and I put a price on it after asking a few questions. However, it’s not just about the valuation – we talk about the significance of the book, how they came to own it and wider issues associated with the author or the genre.”
Mike Cuthbert is the anchorman, while Nick Basbanes is the roving reporter. Nick is an award-winning investigative journalist, columnist and author of four bestselling books about books, including A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books. A fifth book is forthcoming this fall from Harper Collins - Every Book Its Reader.
We asked Allan Stypeck of Second Story Books to highlight some books from his collections.
The Present State Of Music In France And Italy: Or, The Journal Of A Tour Through Those Countries, Undertaken To Collect Materials For A General History Of Music
T. Becket and Co. London 1771. (First edition) 8vo in brown leather. No text on spine. VG-. Leather is rubbed and scratched. Boards are edgeworn. Gilt text and designs on spine are worn off. Text block is age-darkened. Front and back hinges are cracked. Sticker on front paste-down endpaper. Name inscribed in ink on front fly-leaf. Some pencil-written notes on front fly-leaf. 396 pp. £520.59
The Genesis Of The Civil War: The Story Of Sumter, 1860-1861
Samuel Wylie Crawford
Charles L. Webster New York 1887 First Ed. 8vo bound in red cloth with gilt & green front cover text w/lightly chipped & heavily sunned textbox w/on latter portion of title visible in black on sunned spine. VG/None. Spine-ends worn; marks of former bookplate; throughout pale waterstain mark along the upper margins including corner, not affecting at all the text. Numerous plates, maps, illustrations. xxiv, 486pp. Pasted in is a signed author's compliments card. Scarce. £208.24
Art In Ornament & Dress
Frederick Warne London 1877 1st octavo, G/none, brown boards w/ gold title. heavy shelfwear, hinges cracked, light foxing, signatures split, endpapers soiled, 2 small paper remainders on front board. £41.65
Lectures on Pathology
Paul B. Hoeber New York 1924 1st 8vo in maroon cloth, faded at spine, minor wear VG+. Ex Libris bookplate front pastedown. £39.04
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Random House New York 1994 first trade ed. 8vo. VG+/VG+. green boards with black cloth backstrip, green photographic dj with orange text. 388p. isbn 0679429220. first edition indicated by $23.00 cover price, and copyright page states "First edition," with 24689753 number string. some minor shelfwear around textblock, bumping to board edges. dj slightly warped. £39.04