New bookshop opens in Bennington

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BENNINGTON -- A new bookshop that buys and sells used, out-of-print, and rare titles recently opened on Union Street in Bennington.

Owners of Old Bennington Books, Tom and Martha Veitch, have been involved in the out-of-print and rare book business for more than 30 years -- selling books online for the past decade as Lightgate Books.

With the new store location, the couple hope to expand business and their love of literature throughout the Southshire.

"We love books. We love to be surrounded by books and we wanted to have a place where people who love books can come in and enjoy our collection," said Martha Veitch from inside the early-Victorian style building at 138 Union St.

The store primarily features non-fiction, but has 5,000 volumes on display from all genres including mysteries and suspense, children's books, and classic literary fiction.

A small selection of rare books the couple has purchased over the years from other dealers, library sales and individuals is also on display.

In the 1970s the couple worked as book scouts -- finding rare titles and selling them to dealers.

"It really takes several years to learn which books are desirable and which books you should just ignore," Tom Veitch said.

Factors including the publisher, a book's condition and its scarcity are extremely important when looking for valuable books. An instinct for what people will want is also important, he said.

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"When you're a book seller you handle hundreds of thousands of books over years and what you develop is a knowledge and an instinct of what books are interesting and what books you want to buy. So it's a matter of just randomly accumulating and finding things," Tom Veitch said.

Some of those rare books in their collection include accounts of Vermont history published in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries - such as a 1903 publication of "Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont." The book, one of the rarest in the Veitches' collection, gives the biographies of eminent men and women in the state's history.

"It's a very rare book. There's only been one copy for sale in the last few years, and that went for $5,000," Tom Veitch said.

Books with a value that high are not kept at the store, but they are available on the Old Bennington Books Website at www.oldbenningtonbooks.com, which is a work in progress.

In addition to expanding customers, Tom Veitch said the new location opens a new avenue for the couple to expand their library with titles people may want to part with.

It also gives a location for signings and readings.

One of the first author signings will be Tom Veitch himself, who wrote the Star Wars comics series for Lucasfilm in the 1990s.

"Star Wars: Dark Empire" has just been re-released as a 352-page hardcover collection that will soon be on sale at Old Bennington Books.

The bookshop is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at draspuzzi@benningtonbanner.com


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