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Author Topic: Bedford Book Business Bor Bale... uh, for sale  (Read 3597 times)


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Bedford Book Business Bor Bale... uh, for sale
« on: December 22, 2003, 06:28:16 pm »

Expert in espionage ready to sell Bedford business.

Expert in espionage ready to sell Bedford business
Union Leader Staff

BEDFORD — It was in 1952 when Dan Halpin Jr., then a teenager living in northern New Jersey, picked up his first book about spies and espionage at his local library.

Four decades and a lot of hard work later, at his split-level home just a few feet away from the Manchester city line, Halpin has his own library of books on that subject. They range from volumes on codes and ciphers to guerrilla warfare and counter-intelligence. Collecting them isn’t merely Halpin’s hobby; he has turned his fascination into a thriving business with customers from all over the world.

“It used to be a house with a few books. Now, it’s a bookstore with a bed,” Halpin said recently at his home, which doubles as the office and warehouse for his Cloak and Dagger Books. “There’s probably close to 16,000.”

Halpin’s inventory, all of it non-fiction, is an impressive sight — and so exhaustive that he has entire rooms devoted to particular subjects. One room, for instance, holds his new book inventory; another deals entirely with codes and ciphers. In the living room, and in his office, books are filed in ceiling-high bookshelves. And if that sight wasn’t impressive enough for a bibliophile, consider that on the office shelves, Halpin has stacked his books two-deep.

“I thought it would take years to get it up to speed, but it took off right away,” Halpin said of his business, which he began in 1984 while working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in New Hampshire.

The job provided flex-time, so Halpin would work from seven to three at his day job, and then work until midnight at home on the book operation. He retired from his government work in 1995, but kept on with the business.

He estimates he’s sold more than 50,000 volumes during his nearly 20 years in business. His clients include academics, film-production companies, students and government officials, both foreign and domestic. The vast majority of his business is done through mail-order, but folks are always welcome to stop by his 9 Eastman Ave. operation.

Halpin is a friendly and talkative fellow; quick with stories about the earlier days of the intelligence business, of which he has a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge. For him, the books are not merely books: They are windows upon a shadowy world which Halpin first began paying attention to in 1952.

“Good does triumph over evil, and these books tell that story. They tell a rugged story, a horrific story at times. But in the final analysis, good does triumph over evil,” Halpin said.

And where does Halpin see his business going now?

“I see it going out the door, because I’m putting it up for sale,” Halpin said, adding, “This is a fabulous business for someone who likes to read, someone who wants to be their own boss, and wants to meet a lot of interesting people.”

“It’s time to move on,” Halpin said, noting he is now over 60 years old, and is heavily involved in volunteer work and several private military-intelligence organizations, such as the Military Intelligence Association of New England.

“I’d sell the whole thing as a package — and give advice on how to have fun with the business,” Halpin said.

However, the bookseller has not come in from the cold just yet. So if there’s a particular volume for which you’re looking, Halpin probably has it — or can get it. Visit him online at Cloak and Dagger Books’ Web site,
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