In 1976 I was the proud owner of about 500 used books and a tenant at will in a small corner of an art gallery. I decided I would name my fledgling business after the enduring hump of granite that sat in the middle of Gloucester Harbor, Ten Pound Island. Now, there was a name that people would remember!
Half a million books later, the island is still there, and so are we. And, although two decades have scarcely altered the island, the business has undergone radical changes. In 1980 we switched from being a general used book retail business, and gradually began focusing on catalog sales of maritime books. Our first computer (a Mac 512) arrived in the mid 80s and we began refining our mail order and catalog business. In the early 90s we closed the retail operation entirely and began selling by mail order only. Then we added an internet presence, and as this aspect of our business grew, we re-opened a retail shop at 77 Langsford St. in Lanesville, Mass. We needed some place to keep all the books!
With the demise of our quaint old building, and the rise of our fine new gallery, the book operation was also redesigned. Now, though we still concentrate on catalog and internet sales of old and rare maritime books, charts and manuscripts, we also sell local history books and maps, and used books of general interest in Flatrocks Gallery, on the site of the old Ten Pound Island shop.
Back in 1976, when I started this business, I thought that having a memorable name would result in more sales. I was wrong. The only thing that worked, I soon learned, was having good books to sell, describing them accurately, and charging a fair price for them. That’s still what we’re about.
Flat Rocks Gallery Hours
Bookstore at Flatrocks Gallery open weekends year round.