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Thursday, June 4, 2009

HOM: Scouting

McMurtry is probably best know for "Lonesome Dove", the fact that he is a book dealer is less well known. Reading this was entertaining and memory-provoking. Book Cover Here is the B&N synopsis:
  • McMurtry writes about his endless passion for books: as a boy growing up in a largely "bookless" world; as a young man devouring the vastness of literature with astonishing energy; as a fledgling writer and family man; and above all, as one of America's most prominent bookmen. He takes us on his journey to becoming an astute, adventurous book scout and collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible editions in Georgetown, Houston, and finally, in his previously "bookless" hometown of Archer City, Texas.
Book scouting gave me my start as a Bookman. When I first started collecting books on guns and hunting I had to pass up a lot of things that just weren't affordable, but as I scoured book stores & thrift shops and gun show tables I noticed a lot of books I didn't want that were real bargains. I started buying these "finds" for use as trading stock. To learn prices -- and drool over -- I got catalogs from every sporting book dealer I could find & subscribed to every dealer's list I could locate. I began to accumulate an inventory of books that I wanted only for trading stock, and when a gun show came to town I'd haul a batch of them in. There were two main book dealers at these shows, Bob Borcherdt and Gerry Pettinger. I'd make for their tables and look for books I wanted and then I'd start dickering. Usually Bob or Gerry would quote a dollar amount in trade and then I'd stack up the books I wanted till they yelled "Enough!" Then, of course, I'd put one or two more on the stack and start pleading. Good guys, Bob & Gerry. More on them later. These books and my accumulated knowledge are what I brought into the partnership with Jerry. McMurtry trod a similar path, though with a bigger bankroll, and he writes about it far better than I can. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)