Stories indexed with the term ‘rare books’

Column: Book Fare

Arthur Nusbaum raised the curtain on his second act – Third Mind Books – in January. With an inventory of more than 500 items, the online bookstore devoted to the work and legacy of the Beat Generation shares office space with Nusbaum’s once-primary gig: he’s president of Ann Arbor’s Steppingstone Properties Ltd.

Arthur Nusbaum

William S. Burroughs looms large for Arthur Nusbaum – in this case, literally. The portrait of this Beat Generation iconoclast hangs in the lobby of Nusbaum's Third Mind Books and Steppingstone Properties.

A real estate guy with a thing for William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and the rest of that reckless crew? Incongruous, on the face of it. But a closer look reveals a certain ironic harmony.

“I used to be an activist,” says Nusbaum. No surprise there – this is a fellow whose dazzling energy will find an outlet.

Born in Detroit, he grew up in the suburbs, attended the University of Michigan and returned to Ann Arbor for good in the early 1990s as the concept of New Urbanism was gathering steam in Ann Arbor and across the country. Those principles resonated with him, and as he made the connection between his own business and the intensifying local efforts to rein in suburban sprawl, Nusbaum says, “real estate became more meaningful for me. And that’s reflected in buildings like this.”

He’s speaking from his second-floor suite of offices in Ashley Square, at 123 N. Ashley St. The building – Nusbaum believes it was an auto showroom in its original incarnation – was rehabbed in the 1980s and purchased in the late 1990s by Nusbaum, who relocated Steppingstone there in 2000.

“To make a long story short, that’s the direction I took for the last decade and a half in my business,’’ he says. [Full Story]

Column: Limited Edition

The shop was located in a poorly maintained old brick building on Chicago’s south side. It housed the typical uneven dusty shelves overloaded with books that spilled over into various small alcoves.

To an antiquarian book collector it was the perfect spot, much like a trout fisherman finding just the right pool on a bedrock bottom of the North Fork. I asked the store owner the location of books on early American History published prior to 1900. She tried to appear interested in helping me but she wasn’t. Her gig was first edition modern literature and her brain cells were filled with Margaret Atwood. [Full Story]

Holiday Shopping: Used & Rare Books

A selection of books from West Side Book Shop on East Liberty.

A selection of books from West Side Book Shop. This first American edition of "Moby Dick" (the green book, next to its blue leather case) is priced at $45,000.

This month, The Chronicle is highlighting Ann Arbor area businesses where you might find just what you need for people on your holiday gift-giving list. Our reports are meant as a sampling, and we urge readers and business owners to add their own favorite spots in the comments section.

Today, we take a look at some of the local shops that sell rare and used books.

West Side Book Shop

Many of the items in this shop are older than the building at 113 W. Liberty, a structure from the 1880s where West Side Book Shop is housed. Collectors regularly visit, but proprietor Jay Platt and Doug Price – who sells vintage maps and photographs in the store – have worked to make this a top-to-bottom bookshop. Their selection is aimed to appeal to even the most casual used-book buyer. [Full Story]