For the past two years, Pages book store in Cave Creek has catered to everybody from fiction fans looking for cheap copies of the latest Dave Eggars postmodern rant or Twilight saga book to serious collectors willing to fork out serious cash for stuff like a first edition of Charles Dicken's David Copperfield, circa 1850.
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But now, as they say, "everything must go." Proprietor Will Pearson is trying to find a buyer for the business, a buyer for the condominium retail space he's in, and get rid of his entire inventory. If no buyer for Pages steps forward, the store will close within the next couple months. They're having a clearance sale right now -- 40 percent off all non-rare books, ten percent off all gift items, rare books and maps.
Pearson just wants out from under the book stacks. Pages has been a bittersweet post-retirement project for him. His wife, Sandi, was diagnosed with cancer five months after the store opened in March, 2008, and she died three months ago. "It's hard to go on, so we'll be closing the store in a month or two," he says. "We've got a lot of inventory to get rid of."
That inventory includes dozens of new bestsellers, along with beautiful, signed leather bound editions of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Death of a Salesman, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (all 50 percent off for the next two days). Pages also has a 500 year-old tome heavy enough to be a blunt force weapon.
The book was printed in England in 1593, and is the oldest one in Pearson's stock. "Gutenberg invented the press around 1452, so they weren't too far into printing. It's a very early book," he says. "I sent it out to be restored, and it was restored using the methods that were in place in the late 1500s. It was hard to do and expensive, but it's a rare book. Worldwide, there's maybe one or two."
Pages also has a first edition English copy of the writings of Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived between 37 and 100 AD. "That's a marvelous book," Pearson says. "This translation was from the original Greek, and was done in 1737. It's a fairly large book, and weighs about 20 pounds."
Pearson says he's still got a lot of books to sell, but they're going fairly fast. Desert Foothills Library bought a huge stack of books for their shelves, and collectors come to take advantage of sales on things like hand-colored Audubon plates, handwritten letters from Civil War soldiers, and rare maps from the 1800s.
"People are coming in for the deals. This will beat Wal-Mart price -- which is coming up here to Cave Creek soon," Pearson says. "We can't compete with all that. We will close within the next few months, but I'm not sure exactly when. We're going to stay open as long as people keep coming in and buying."
Pages is located at the Stage Coach Village, 7100 E. Cave Creek Road, Suite 164, in Cave Creek. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Call 480-575-7220 or visit www.pagesnewandrare.com.