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Mr Workman bought the Kurow Second Hand Book and Curios shop in the 1980s, and immediately turned it into a bookshop. All five rooms of the shop are lined with paperbacks, hardbacks and magazines, collected by Mr Workman over the past three decades.
''There are boxes and boxes of books. I got them from everywhere, wherever I could get them at the time, and from whoever was offering them,'' he said.
Although the collection has yet to be assessed for its value, a recent review of just part of the collection, conducted by a professor from Charles Darwin University in Australia, found it contained some of the old pink Auckland Weeklies, a ''significant'' number of Life magazines, as well as leather-bound 19th-century classics.
The collection also included rare books and a variety of children's books from the baby-boomer generation, as well as an ''extensive'' non-fiction and biography collection. Mr Workman is retiring, and hopes to sell the shop to the Waitaki Valley Community Society, to allow the neighbouring Kurow Museum to expand.
He said he had enjoyed his work, but the increasing use of technology and television had led to a ''downturn in trade''. He would be looking to sell or donate the books ahead of the expected sale of the bookshop.