Featured Exhibitor: Brenner’s Collectable Books

Brenner’s Collectable Books offers an assortment of genres, ranging from 20th century mystery novels to cocktails & wine books and more. Owner Michael Brenner has been buying, selling, and collecting books for over 30 years.

It started in childhood. An avid comic book fan and already a “voracious reader,” Brenner began buying and collecting books. Over the years, his collection grew in size and diversified in genre.

"Twenty years later, I look back, and I have a few thousand books,” Brenner said, “and I’m thinking, ‘What the heck am I going to do with these?’”

Brenner's Collectable Books, Manasquan, NJ

Around 2012, he began to sell books and attend book shows. As a seller, Brenner could share his passion for books with other dealers and costumers alike as well as get his hands on even more books.

“I had about 3,000 books and started selling them. Now I have about three times that many, so I guess it didn’t work,” Brenner laughed.

Brenner often showcases four or five hundred books at fairs. While a generalist, Brenner’s hauls are known for vintage mysteries and science fiction and 20-30th century books with dust jackets in nice conditions. With fairs returning to in-person events, Brenner is ready to encourage people to browse his shelves.

“You may have an idea of what you need,” Brenner said, “but you won’t know what you want until you actually see something.”

“When I was collecting,” he continued, “I’d have a couple books I’m looking for, but, chances are, exactly what I want isn’t there or isn’t the right price; so that’s the fun of browsing the shelves. Not knowing what you want until you see it."

In-person book fairs are not only buying/selling opportunities for dealers and customers, but an introduction to the world of book collecting. Book fairs and the encouragement of attendance from people of all ages and backgrounds challenge the idea that book collecting industry is dying.

“I’m hoping with book fairs, young readers turn into young collectors,” Brenner explained. “I believe there is a lot of optimism for the industry.”

See Michael Brenner and his collection on the first weekend of December at the Northampton Book Fair in the Northampton Community Arts Trust at 33 Hawley Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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