A rare and extraordinary find, a hometown bookstore right in the middle of Downtown St. Albans, The Eloquent Page invites book lovers of all ages to discover the magic within its walls. In recent history, some were worried the usual bookstore would be undone by the BIG Box bookstores, and then the online and downloadable format.
Not this store. Not The Eloquent Page with their stock of new, used and rare books. Remember, it is within the pages of the book we can escape everyday life. Which is why Donna Howard opened her bookstore on Catherine Street on a shoestring budget in 1992. Twenty years later, Donna and all the books made the move from Catherine Street to Main Street.
First, she started with a small collection, but then a library was having a book sale and purchase the entire lot. Before long, the store on Catherine St. was loaded with books and the people who love them.
She’s learned a lot along the way, and now offers this extraordinary store in Downtown St. Albans.
While the store is thriving and has been around for more than 25 years, Donna says one thing she would have done differently:
“I probably would have gone to the school in Colorado before opening the store because it really helped [me] to identify the uniquities of rare books.”Donna Howard, Owner of The Eloquent Page – New, Used & Rare Books
It wasn’t long before she did attend an Antiquarian seminar at a school in Colorado and learned what goes into finding rare books. Today, she’s a member of the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association, which helps her stay connected with other booksellers, as well as informing people who are seeking rare and unusual books!
What’s in Store at The Eloquent Page?
Books, books, and more books! Packed into the store are rare, used, and new books. You can easily get lost in the books and aisles. There’s a wide variety of options, and most often you’ll find a single copy of the book on the shelf.
The Eloquent Page is able to provide so many single copies because most of the books are donated or purchased from individuals who bring them into the store.
There are many sections too! If you haven’t been in to see for yourself, then you’re missing out. Just look at this list!
- Vermont Maps – Beers Atlases
- Postcards – Old postcards, holidays, reproduction St. Albans postcards
- Children’s new and collectors
- New novels, autobiographies, and non-fiction
- Large Vermont section
- Vermont Authors
- General Biography Section, BFA Yearbooks
- History: Vermont, France, Canada, US, Military
- Aviation and Military
- Women’s Studies
- Fiction – Western, Romance, Horror, Espionage
- Costumes and Fashion (Over 2500 volumes)
- Religion/Spirituality/New Age
- Technical: Plumbing, contracting, building
- Games and Hobbies
- Blank journals
“Old children’s books are windows into a different time. It’s a picture of America that isn’t anymore.”Donna Howard
The list goes on, and the only way you’ll know if there is something in store for you is by visiting.
When asked about her favorites, she couldn’t supply us with one because she “she reads so many different things,” but she did share with us a favorite book she currently has in store. The label reads, “Confessions of an Aspirin Reader” by W.C. Moore, but there is more.
That book is truly the Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller, which in its day it was a very controversial and banned book in the United States in 1934. Individuals who had a copy often had the books rebound with a new title and author because
- the book was illegal, or banned, and/or
- they wanted to be discreet.
Today the book is considered a classic, my how times have changed?
Becoming a Book Collector
To become a book collector Donna’s advice is to collect what you love. There is no guarantee the book will go up in value. It all is dependent upon the popularity of the writer at the time.
For example, Hemingway books are growing in demand now, causing an increase in value because of their popularity. Donna says that in a 20, 50 years, Hemingway may not be as popular to collect and the value of the books will decrease.
Collecting first editions is one way to start, but first editions can be complicated. Collectors want not only the first edition but the first printing of that edition. In this example,
- if a new publisher publishes the book,
- then prints their own first edition,
it is usually less valuable.
The people at The Eloquent page can help you:
- identify first editions
- find resources
Collectors of valuable pieces should expect the book value to fluctuate over time, and you’ll want to keep your collections in the best possible condition for the most value.
Caring for Your Books
Taking care of your books will help to preserve them, especially your favorites, and those that might become more valuable in time. Follow these steps to maintain the structure book.
- Keep your books on a bookshelf
- Leave enough room between books so that you can pull it out from the middle of the spine
- Avoid pulling from the top of the spine
- Keep your books in a cool dry place away from too much heat, smoke, and moisture
- Store heavier books, such as dictionaries, flat
It is Possible to Have a Book Repaired
It’s not unusual for books to get damaged, whether it’s from being stored to tightly and from readers pulling on the spine, or general wear and tear, you can have a book repaired.
Typically, only books that highly valuable or those with significant sentimental value will be worth repairing. Book repair can be very costly depending on the level of damage. Think of things like your family bible, or family heirloom cookbooks as items of sentimental value to be repaired.
The Eloquent page does offer some basic repairs, such as minor bookbinding or reinserting torn out page. If the severity of the damage is beyond Donna’s scope, she will refer you to bookbinders who can help you with more significant projects.
New Books Line the Shelves
You will find an array of new books on the shelves, from the New York Times Bestsellers to local authors. They carry Vermont, Franklin County, and St Albans, authors. Whether it is a local author or not, if you don’t find it on her shelves, just ask, she will likely order a copy for you.
Book Signings and In-Store Events
The Eloquent Page often hosts local authors for book signings, which you can find on their Facebook page. Each month, Donna works with authors to schedule an event and book signing.
Currently, she’s collaborating with author’s Jennifer and John Churchman for a book signing following the fall release of their upcoming works. These two authors write the sweet tales about life on the farm with Sweet Pea and Friends and all the excitement of farm life for these children’s series. Their most recent release was the Easter Surprise which can be purchased at The Eloquent Page.
It’s Magic Within the Walls of The Eloquent Page
Whatever the reason for the book you are searching, you might find it within the walls of The Eloquent Page, and if you ask Donna, she’ll most likely point you directly to your request. Find a nook, find a cranny, grab a good book and remember what it is like to read from the paper in your hands.
Hardcover, paperback, journals, maps, loose pages, modern or vintage, rare finds, and forbidden tales are found within the magical walls of The Eloquent Page.