Bright Young Things: B & B Rare Books

Our series profiling the next generation of antiquarian booksellers continues today with Joshua Mann and Sunday Steinkirchner, the young proprietors of B&B Rare Books in New York City:

NP: How did you both get started in rare books?

SS: It was quite accidental! Josh and I met in college and moved to NYC after we graduated. I was starting a graduate school program and Josh was looking for work, and we were searching for our way to pay our rent and make extra money. We found antiquarian books for sale at a street sale one day, and it just clicked. Josh’s father was a book collector, so he had a basic knowledge of the collectible market, and we quickly learned about the value of first editions. We started purchasing books at estate sales in Queens and Long Island, and worked to sell them and meet customers online.
 
NP: When did you open B&B?

SS: We started selling books in 2003, but officially incorporated our business in 2005.

NP: What does B&B specialize in?

SS: 19th and 20th century English and American literature.
NP: What roles do each of you play within the company?

SS: We used to have more defined roles, but we've been so busy since joining the ABAA that this is changing. Josh continues to be the "face" of our company, as he's on the receiving end of initial calls and emails, but our motto nowadays is "divide and conquer" with new opportunities.

NP: What do you love about the book trade?  And what would you criticize about the book trade?

SS: We both really love working with the material, and the opportunity to work so closely with our customers. I love that every day is different, and that I am constantly learning something new about the books that I grew up reading. Josh loves that our trade can support a wide variety of specialty areas, as well as a variety of personalities. To criticize anything, we didn't feel that new, young sellers were embraced by the trade when we first started, but I think now that that's beginning to change.

NP: Favorite book (or etc) you've handled?

SS: Shakespeare folios - we've been fortunate to acquire and sell the 3rd and 4th folios.

NP: What do you two personally collect?

SS: We maintain a small collection of books written by our customers that are inscribed to us.

NP: Any thoughts on the future of the book trade?


SS: Some say that young people don't care about books, but we've met a number of young, serious collectors in just the past few years. I believe this number will continue to grow as people of our generation start to buy books as investments or just have more disposable income to spend on collectibles. If we can "court" this new generation by adapting our methods of representing and offering our books, we'll be able to keep doing what we love.

NP: Tell us about your new catalog and how to get a copy:

SS: We're so excited about our new catalog! It contains our new acquisitions, featuring inscribed Garcia Marquez, early Faulkner in dust jackets, an inscribed advance issue Hemingway, inscribed Einstein, and a Henry James-Edith Wharton association. Call or email us to receive a printed catalog or a web version via email: 646-652-6766 or info@bbrarebooks.com.
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