2006-04-13 / Community

Literary lovers start new book business

Because Agoura residents Penny Suess and Dana Gurnee can peer down from their deck and watch sparkling Sierra Creek tumble past their home, the two avid readers, who have many years of combined experience in the editorial field, were inspired to start a new bookselling business and call it Sierra Creek Books.

Their great love of books became a mixed blessing as books filled their shelves to overflowing, spilled over onto coffee tables, night stands and eventually the floor where even their cat was challenged to find a clear space.

It wasn't an easy decision to part with their beloved tomes, but Suess and Gurnee believed others might be interested in their eclectic collection. They decided to put them up for sale.

"Our books are vintage-not new but not quite antiquarian either. They fall somewhere between a first edition Dickens, for example-a true rare book- and yesterday's bestseller," said Suess, a freelance writer and editor. "And we have many on Southern California themes."

The pair hooked up with www. abebooks.com, described as the world's largest online marketplace for books, that lists more than 80 million new, used, rare and out-of-print books from more than 13,500 booksellers. On the website, booklovers may browse Suess and Gurnee's listings.

They are still building their inventory, which includes works from and about the 1960s; fiction and literature; books on places and travel; art, architecture and design books; biography, autobiography and memoir.

According to Gurnee, who is employed by a magazine publisher in Ventura, the first book they sold in their fledgling bookstore was a "Rude Jokes" paperback from the 1960s. Their second sale was a book on the history of the Conejo Valley.

Visitors to Sierra Creek Books at www.abebooks.com can also search by author, title or keyword to find their desired book. A detailed description of the book's condition, as well as the price and shipping information, is provided.

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