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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bright Young Booksellers: Kate Mitas | Fine Books & Collections

Our Bright Young Booksellers series continues today with Kate Mitas, of Kate Mitas, Bookseller in San Francisco:

Photo: Kate Mitas
Like a lot of people, I stumbled into the book trade, although unlike some, I wasn't initially all that keen on rare books. I got my start in 2006 at Cellar Stories Bookstore, a used and rare shop in Providence, Rhode Island, when the owner joked that I'd checked the shelves for a title so quickly I ought to work there. I decided he was right and told him so, and he must've seen that I was serious because I started the next week, eventually becoming the manager and staying on for the better part of seven years.

It took a while for me to appreciate rare books, though -- in the beginning, I considered books valuable for their content alone, and thought only rich people bought rare books. Over time, as I helped customers with both rare and used books and saw how delighted they were with their purchases, regardless, I began to understand the value of the book as object, too, and the satisfaction of selling rare books. That became especially true when, after another year-and-a-half stint at Blue Jacket Books, in Xenia, Ohio, a used and rare shop, I landed a job at Tavistock Books, the first antiquarian shop I worked at, in Alameda, CA. There, with the aid of a weeklong immersion in the field at CABS, I was introduced to the more scholarly uses of bibliography and the breathtaking expertise that can be wielded by rare book dealers, collectors and special collections librarians. I also got my first taste of working with archival and vernacular material, which I immediately found I had a knack for, and enjoy immensely.
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Source: Fine Books & Collections Magazine