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Top Shops: Cover to Cover

Shaun Tolson

First-time patrons of Bauman Rare Books (www.baumanrarebooks.com) in New York City will discover the mystique of vintage folios long before a leather-bound first edition is placed in their hands. With towering mahogany bookcases and display cases showcasing as many as 5,000 rare books spanning all subject matters, the store can feel more like a historic European library than a retail shop. But from the retailer’s perspective, store manager Erik DuRon has learned over the course of more than a decade that collectible books often can be intimidating to those who are new to the trade. That’s why he makes sure that new customers immediately have access to the books that interest them. “The experience of rare books is a tactile one; it’s about handmade paper and handcrafted bindings,” he says. “We try to get books into people’s hands quickly in the course of a discussion, so they know what it’s like to feel and hold a great landmark in literary history.”

The Madison Avenue location is the company’s flagship store (another showroom recently opened in the Shoppes at the Palazzo in Las Vegas), and between its staff of seven booksellers and a team of archivists and researchers at the company’s headquarters in Philadelphia, the store can provide all the tools necessary for customers looking to begin or grow a collection.  “We’re a resource besides just a bookseller for you,” says DuRon. “We stay with you for the duration of your time as a collector. It’s like we’re your private curator or consultant.”

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