Bookseller Q&A: Inga’s Original Choices
Our latest bookseller Q&A features Inga Eubanks, who runs Inga’s Original Choices in Piggott, Arkansas. Inga combines custom framing with bookselling, which gives her a special insight into art, photography and books. Inga has sold with AbeBooks since 2000 and takes a great deal of pride in providing a high level of customer service.
AbeBooks: How did you become a professional bookseller and also get involved in custom framing?
Inga Eubanks: “My photography got me into custom framing. I needed matting and framing for my shows, got acquainted with a local framer who was expecting a baby and she asked if I could help in the shop in exchange for the framing. I happily said yes and a few months later I became her partner in the business. Ten years later I became sole owner of the business and in 2000 I had a chance to buy the entire an book inventory from a teacher. I have always been an avid reader and don’t even own a TV set. Adding books in my store seemed very appropriate since literature is, after all, an art form. So, to the art and photography in my shop, I added books. Eventually I found AbeBooks and became a bookseller.”
AbeBooks: What do you love most about selling books and your framing business?
Inga Eubanks: “Helping my framing customers find the perfect frames for their art and memorabilia. As to selling books I don’t unfortunately get a chance very often to help someone find a book here in my shop because most of my bookselling is done online, but I have often become acquainted with a buyer via email, resulting in very interesting exchanges of ideas or just simply finding out unusual reasons why a particular book was needed or purchased.”
AbeBooks: What is the most prized item in your inventory? And why?
Inga Eubanks: “Until recently it was a signed copy of Living History by Hillary Clinton. But the following means even a little bit more to me because I love Art Deco and because of my interest in photography – Devantures et Installations de Magasins: A Complete Set of 48 Prints (photographs which appear to have been printed via the aquatint process) of Art Deco shop fronts and interiors in Paris, France. Published in 1927.”
AbeBooks: What’s the oddest thing you’ve found in a book? And the oddest collectible item you have had to frame?”
Inga Eubanks: “I once found several signed checks belonging to a doctor who had died but the bank they were drawn on no longer existed so even if I had been tempted…. I have framed a few odd things. Men’s underpants, a dead beetle (a Kentucky Hercules Beetle about 2″ long and 1″ wide), dead, of course, and the broken pieces of an elaborately painted eggshell. There are probably more strange things I’ve framed but since I have been in business for over 30 years I may have forgotten a few.”
AbeBooks: What’s your most memorable moment as a professional bookseller/framer?
Inga Eubanks: “There have been several but the only one I can think of right now is selling an 1898 copy of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre to the assistant of a TV movie director, who was in the process of filming Jane Eyre and who was going to be given this somewhat rare copy as a Christmas present. Ordering it two days before Christmas and needing express delivery in order to get it delivered to New York in time made it rather challenging at my end since there is no FedEx office here and the US Post Office was closed on the day the order came in but I managed. The assistant promised to let me know when the movie would be on TV but I never heard from him again.”