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Featured Exhibitor: Peter Stern

Peter Stern is an exhibitor at the upcoming Northampton Antiquarian Book, Ephemera, and Book Arts Fair. Stern specializes in selling and collecting old and rare fiction books from the nineteenth and twentieth century. He has a few thousand books at the moment, and in his collection aside from fiction, are poems and photographs and much more. For the last twenty-five years he’s been running his own online store and an in person location that runs through appointments. Stern attended a school in Boston during his younger years, and it was there that he first worked for a bookseller in 1972 for a little over a year. He eventually left to start his own business, where he first spent around ten to fifteen years working with a partner from California. After this he became the sole owner of his business, Peter L. Stern and Co., Inc.. Stern says that he has always had a love for books and that he naturally fell into the world of selling antique fiction. When he looks back, he has no regrets on the journey life took him.

Before Covid, Stern attended between twenty to twenty-two fairs and exhibits a year. His process for choosing books to exhibit is open and free. He picks them out an hour before he goes and always makes sure to bring the things he’s interested and excited about. Similarly, when looking for books to add to his collection, he buys for himself. This process allows Stern to stay engaged with his material while exploring his “intellectual curiosity.” This curiosity is the interest he has not only on how the book appears, but how he will research it and the story he will find. For Stern it’s all about the thrill of the hunt, he isn’t looking for rare and incredibly expensive copies, he just wants to genuinely enjoy his work and find interests that he shares with his clients.

Stern typically likes to keep to himself, however he loves being surrounded by other curious people like himself at fairs and exhibits. He enjoys being able to contribute to someone else's knowledge and having them do the same for him. Stern strongly supports small and local exhibits for this reason, it’s a way of connecting and learning and he believes they deserve more recognition.

*Featured above is The Sin of Monsieur Pettipon and Other Humorous Tales, by Richard S Connell, and can be found in Stern's online website.


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