Rare Book Shop Opens in Columbia
COLUMBIA - From the biggest art centers in the world, rare book dealer Scott Schilb picked Columbia to set up his rare and antiquarian book shop.
After two months of work, Schilb Antiquarian is now open to all book lovers in Missouri and offers a special collection of rare books, manuscripts and artwork dating back to the 18th century and earlier.
"This is a place where someone can come in and see a 500-year-old book all the way to the 20th century first edition. There is nothing like it anywhere nearby," said Schilb.
Schilb developed a passion for rare books when he bought a 19th-century copy of Dante's "Divine Comedy" at a Kentucky bookstore 10 years ago. As a graduate student struggling with finances, he sold it later for double the price and soon turned his passion into a thriving online business. With almost 100,000 followers online, he had to later quit his teaching job to be able to run the web-only store full time. The shop has delivered books to nearly every country in the world, with high demand in Russia and the Middle East.
"We have a passionate following of bibliophiles, people who love books," Schilb said.
The store collects books from various liquidations and book sales around the world. You can find anything from a 1490 astronomy and astrology book to a first edition of the U.S. Constitution to classic literature by Shakespeare or Twain.
"Our passion is for earlier printing books that exist. Our focus is important titles, books that have changed the world, books that make a difference and still make a difference. You can touch books owned by kings, you can hold 500-year-old Bibles, you can feel, smell, embrace rare books," said Schilb.
He said he is not as concerned with the store making a profit, as most of the business comes from online sales. Schilb said he wanted to make it affordable for everyone, so prices vary from $99 for first editions of 19th to early 20th century printings to $50,000 for a 16th century edition.
"Rare book collecting is not something for the elite, it's a passion for everyone," said Schilb.
Schilb added he wants to be make Schilb Antiquarian a new space for the community, where people could browse through the special collections, enjoy an Espresso and just talk rare books. The shop also displays an art gallery with rotating exhibits.
"We want to be part of the culture, we want to be a blessing to the city and we want to share the success we've had," said Schilb.
The store is located at 100 N. Providence Road next to Tucker's Fine Jewelry. You can also browse through its collections online here.