In high school I hated to read and couldn’t have cared less about books. My teachers issued mass market paperback editions of the classics like army supply sergeants. Cover art was most likely a still from the latest film adaptation. No wonder I loathed the experience.
It wasn’t until my first visit to Kafka’s Books in Miami Beach in 1996 that I became intrigued, even obsessed, with books: the musty smell, aisle upon aisle of books I had never seen or even heard of, the interesting dust jackets. The whole experience was like hunting for treasure. It became apparent that spending time in a used book store was something I loved! Within a few weeks I was being paid for the privilege; within a few months I was managing the store. I learned a lot about books and the book business that year. Kafka’s grew quickly and plans to add a cyber café developed. With the prospect of spending more time making coffee and serving pastries and less time handling books, it was time to move on.
In 2000, after a short stint at one of the major chain stores, I found myself in Seattle. I knew I wasn’t cut out for the bureaucracy of corporate life and the appeal of new books wasn’t there for me. Spending time in those mega book stores was claustrophobic and I began to feel the same about the books they carried as I did about the ones in high school. I landed a job at a used book store in Bellevue and was soon scouting the book shops in and around Seattle, selling books on ABE and eBay, and generally enjoying the thrill of the hunt.
With the birth of my children, I had to get a “real job.” In 2002, we moved back to Florida and I got my real estate license. I have done well in real estate, but my heart has never been very far from the used book business. So in July, 2007 I once again embarked on a journey into the online book world by incorporating Naples Books. I am a small, home-based bookseller with a stock of only 200 or so books, but plan on expanding my offerings in 2008. In addition to listing books on www.naples-books.com, my listings can be found on IOBAbooks, ABE, Amazon and will soon be found on Biblio, ChooseBooks and Alibris. I am also beginning to have delusions of opening a bricks and mortar shop some day (God help me!). Naples Books specializes in first editions, travel and adventure, and military history.
Sam Heitman operates Naples Books, Inc. out of Lehigh Acres, FL and can be contacted at http://www.naples-books.com.