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Texas bookseller vows to continue after storm destroys 50,000 books


A Texas bookseller is attempting to rebuild his bookselling business after a devastating storm ripped through Lubbock, Texas last month. The storm and its high winds, which struck around midnight on June 5th, destroyed 90% of Bill Gallagher’s inventory for his bookselling business, Shamrock Books.

“The books were assembled over a span of 35 years and probably numbered 50,000 to 55,000 books, sets, ephemera, booklets, and magazines, but most grievously, nearly all my collectible first edition novels,” said Jim. “My collection was stored in a renovated mobile home stripped to accommodate shelves and bookcases.“At the storm’s approach I glanced out the window of my adjoining home and all appeared well. Five minutes later I looked again and blinked in disbelief – it was all was gone. Daylight would show that the roof had been lifted off and spun into a nearby horse pasture. The restraining walls were blown off and, to compound nature’s wrath, torrential rain completed the destruction by flooding any books that may have survived the winds.”

Bill has been dealing in vintage, rare and antique books since 1982, and specializes in books about the Old West, children’s literature, Texas, artarchitecture and military books. He has sold with AbeBooks since 1997, and is a five-star seller, who has sent used and rare books all over the world.

Although he has lost many books, Bill has worked tirelessly in the past few weeks to put some of his surviving books back online. A second storage area survived the storm unharmed. He currently has just over 400 books online.

“In the final analysis, I’ll cope with the events of June 5th because viewed through a philosophical lens, I still have my family, friends and colleagues and, as shown through the goodwill of AbeBooks’ staff and management, the inspiration to carry on,” said Bill. “I’ve closed my mind to summarizing a value when the only thing that matters is I’ll never see and hold these books in my hands again.”

We urge you to browse Bill’s inventory and help someone who has spent the past four decades putting books into the hands of booklovers – he offers many fascinating books. AbeBooks has waived Bill’s subscriptions fees for the next three months.

Search Shamrock Books.

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Richard Davies

4 Responses to “Texas bookseller vows to continue after storm destroys 50,000 books”

  1. I don’t mean to doubt anything the seller has said, and this is clearly a great loss, but at least SOME of the books in those photos look like they could be salvaged. Perhaps not in the same condition as they were listed in before, though. Am I wrong?

  2. Beth Carswell
    Beth Carswell July 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

    “Although he has lost many books, Bil has worked tirelessly in the past few weeks to put some of his surviving books back online. A second storage area survived the storm unharmed. He currently has just over 400 books online.”

  3. Richard Davies
    Richard Davies July 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    A message from Diana Gallagher….

    “I am Bill’s daughter in law and to answer Tim’s question, the night this happened there was a light drizzling rain. Luckily for Bill, the last few years he has taken to wrapping his best books in Saran Wrap, so when we got up at the crack of dawn, we started pulling as many wrapped books as possible. There were just a few of us and it was very hot and humid. After 12 hours, we gave up for the day and the rain started that night ruining all that was left. We salvaged a couple of thousand books, but since it has been >100 degrees and they are in a metal cargo box, Bill has not been able to spend any real time seeing what was saved. I want to say that AbeBooks and the book community has been amazing and I think had it not been for that support, he may have died of a broken heart.”

  4. Kathlyn-Gargoyle Books July 3, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Courage, Bill! My heart goes out to you: seeing your books in those pictures reminds me of the despair I felt opening some boxes that had been in storage for 20 years, only to find them grotesquely devoured by termites…who of course, selected the best stuff to eat. It’s like seeing your children broken & hurt on the ground. But in the end, it’s not. You’ve got your priorities straight–family (what a great daughter!)& friends & fellow bibliophiles(and kudos for ABE for helping out!). Know that people are behind you as you rebuild & as we await the return of a great bookman–no wind or rain can take away that essence of who you are! Best wishes!

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