ILAB Internships – Out of the Classroom, into the World: Julia Kulyamzina visits the United States
Julia Kulyamzina: United States 2012, Part 2: Oak Knoll Books, New Castle, Delaware
I am still in Southern New Jersey enjoying the incredible American hospitality. I continue to explore the antiquarian book trade in the U.S. working at Between the Covers, getting new perspectives on the book trade and learning a lot of new things from Tom Congalton and the members of his stuff.
In the second part of my diary I would like to tell you about my short visit to New Castle, Delaware, where I was fortunate enough to work at Oak Knoll Books (http://www.oakknoll.com/) under the supervision of Robert Fleck. Oak Knoll Books was founded by Bob Fleck in 1974. The company specializes in out-of-print and in-print books about book collecting, book selling, bibliography, libraries, publishing, private press printing, fine printing, book design and others. There is the second part of this company called Oak Knoll Press which provides the book world with fantastic new titles interesting for reading and very useful in work.
Bob Fleck is a past President and active member of ILAB. He has an incredible collection of books about Delaware. He and his wife Millie were so kind to invite me into their wonderful house which, by the way, was built in 1713. I would like to thank them for their hospitality and care.
Oak Knoll Books is very different from Between the Covers in many ways. Bob Fleck focuses primarily on the business side of the book industry, while Tom Congalton is more fascinated with books themselves and searching for unique things. Both are great entrepreneurs and experts in their fields, so I was pleased to see such different companies and approaches to the rare book business.
Oak Knoll has a great team of employees, among them Robert Fleck 3rd and Laura Williams, who are responsible for the old books and new editions respectively. Everyone was very kind to me to show and tell me about the processes of the company. Bob, in turn, shared with me some of the basics, and his habits of business. It's amazing how he manages two such different parts of the business, keeps everything under his own control, cleverly controls all the processes, keeps in mind all the figures and creates a budget, based on a structural analysis of the company. Bob was one of the first people to see a potential profit in using the Internet to sell books. This once again proofs that he is a great businessman. He created a clear structure and accounting which makes his business successful and efficient.
It should be noted that I was surrounded by not just books but by books about books, so I wanted to see and read all of them. However, I had to concentrate on my work, I mastered several processes, got some important tips, managed to learn a lot.
Back from the 36th Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, I will continue my diary. It was amazing event where I got the chance to meet many booksellers and their books. I got an idea on the organization of one of the best American book fairs and could even sell a couple of books at the Between the Covers booth!
To be continued.
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