The alchemist-cum-inventor Guidenstern was once an adventurer and mage of middling skill. Like many adventurers, his career was not quite the smashing success he hoped it would be, but he did ‘retire’ from the profession before suffering a serious injury, or meeting an untimely end. The same could not be said for some of his associates who met demises of varying horror.
With the path of the sword and spell behind him, and with a satisfactory lump of gold to work with, Guildenstern opened a book shop. He turned his meager alchemical skill to the making of paper, and glues and began making books. Blank books to be precise, and certainly of top notch quality. The majority of his books are sold to the churches and temples of the faith for transcription into copies of religious canon, or into faith hymnals and other such works. Nobles, sages, and wizards also frequent his shop looking for the tools of the trade, be it record keeping, the writing of princely memoirs or creating tomes of eldritch and arcane lore.
The shop itself is small, less than a quarter of the building is used for selling wares, the rest is devoted to the vats, presses and drying beds used in making the book materials, along with a small laboratory for concocting glues for binding the books. Guildenstern himself is a reserved man, he has the build of a blacksmith, but has the etiquette of a librarian. He speaks little, but is quite knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects, especially in the area of adventuring.
After having been in business for a while, he noticed that a good number of people would frequent his shop looking for certain books, rather than just the supplies to make them, or a blank one to write in themselves. Being a canny business man, he began dealing in books. While he doesn’t keep a large number on hand, he does keep up a network of connections in several major cities that will sell him books at a discount, so long as he passes along a favor of his own every now and then.
While spellbooks can be had, they command top dollar, comparable to the price of a suit of armor, or even a small estate or noble title. such things are increasingly rare, and seldom do new ones enter the market. As a mage himself, he is able to transcribe some of the spells himself and has a number of spellbooks of low power level that he can transcribe himself, though for a hefty fee, it is a long process to do it.
The Ninth Gate - The PC’s have been employed to find a certain book, and have to A. Find it, and B. authenticate it. There have been a number of forgeries produced. This could be a simple scavanger hunt all the way to thwarting the Evil Cultist looking for the Book of Ultimate Demon Summoning.
One for Antiquity - The PCs uncover several old books during an adventure and need a way to turn what could be useless paper into gold. Some old books can command excellent prices from nobles, wizards, and other collectors. It would be a good way to introduce that 12 volumn Epic of Ancient Elven Literature into a campaign. Also works with more interesting books, and can be used as a window opportunity to introduce color elements to a game.
The Necronomicon - The PCs have been hired for the laughable purpose of protecting a book during transport. They later find themselves beset by minions and monsters of the Underworld/Hell/New Jersey in an attempt to steal back a book Holy to the side of Eeeeevil!