After spending almost 10 years working at a used bookstore in Iowa City, Stephen Wootton began his own business centered on Internet book dealing.
"It was so much fun sending a book on Buster Keaton to Finland. It's an amazing thing how you could make so many connections that you never could before," Wootton says.
Now Wootton is back to running a bookstore, only this time it's his own. Last week he opened Studio Books, 912 Ill., in the location formerly occupied by ArtFrames.
"In some ways, the Internet harms the open book shop. In other ways, it makes it even easier to get your books sold because you're expanding worldwide," he says
Wootton is exploring both concepts at Studio Books, which specializes in titles about film and other arts. He also sells entertainment memorabilia and vintage posters.
Additionally, he is utilizing the north section of the building as an art gallery. The space is currently showcasing watercolors by Lakota artist Arthur Short Bull through Sept. 18.
"That's why we're called Studio Books: studio because of an art studio; studio because of film studios. It's sort of corny, but it's nice and short," he says.
A 1979 KU grad in American studies, Wootton hopes to stock about 20,000 books. He's actively seeking to buy books, especially those involving film and arts.
His most prized tomes at the store are those from the silent film era of the 1910s and '20s. These often sell in the $50 range.
"Sometimes I price things higher because I'm too fond of them and I don't want anybody to buy them," Wootton jokes. "But that doesn't happen too often."