Thomas Dorn, Bookseller

Books have been an integral part of my day-to-day life ever since high school when I began to read with a passionate energy which has not lessened over the years.  Packing to go to college, I allotted the most important space to my small library, which took over a many-shelved makeshift structure on top of my dorm desk.
Throughout the years after college my library grew.  I acquired books during my graduate years at Emory working on my Ph.D. in 20th century aesthetics. When my wife Barbara and I opened a short-lived literary bookstore in Atlanta, Ex Libris Atlanta, in 1983, my library grew substantially.  At this time my library was one of content rather than just collectible objects — these were books which shaped my ideas and occupied most of my leisure hours.  Indeed, it was not until a number of years after we closed our store that I began to focus on selling collectible books.

After graduate school, between the years of 1978 and 1992, I had a company which designed and manufactured high-end custom furniture.  During the latter years of this profession, I also began to do antiquarian book fairs around the Southeast and to issue modern first edition catalogs with a specialty in literary first editions.   In the 90s the collectible book climate got stronger and stronger until the internet began dramatically to erode sales of modern firsts.  Because of this erosion I have expanded my book business to encompass all areas of scholarly and collectible books.

Since 1992 I have been a full-time bookseller, and in 1996 I joined the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA).    For the antiquarian bookseller today, changing with the rapidly changing book climate is by far the biggest challenge we face.