Mark LaFramboise, chief book buyer at the Washington, D.C., independent bookstore Politics & Prose, died earlier this week. He was 60.

LaFramboise's first job in bookselling was at Copperfield & Co. in Macomb, Ill., where he pursued a master's degree in American literature at Western Illinois University after a three-year stint in the army. He then joined Stone Lion Bookstore in Fort Collins, Colo., where he worked for five years as adult book buyer and store manager.

In 1997, LaFramboise was recruited to join Politics & Prose by the store's founders, Barbra Meade and Carla Cohen. He began as a bookseller, but soon began to assist with buying. When new owners Brad Graham and Lissa Muscatine took over 11 years ago, they promoted LaFramboise to chief book buyer.

LaFramboise served as president of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) from 2014 to 2016, and was selected as a judge for the 2019 National Book Awards.

“Mark was the best book buyer any independent bookstore could hope for,” Graham and Muscatine wrote. "Not only did he know books; he knew P&P’s customers, who gravitated to him because his passion for literature was infectious. Mark also was greatly appreciated by local authors, whose careers he championed and whose works he celebrated. And he was widely respected throughout the publishing industry, having built relationships over many years with booksellers and buyers at other stores, regional reps, editors, and top brass at the major publishing houses.”

“We will all remember his unmatched knowledge of books and authors, his wide range of interests, and his willingness to be present and available for anything the booksellers and staff at NAIBA needed,” Graham and Muscatine wrote. “It’s hard to imagine P&P without Mark. We valued his advice, his friendship, and his insatiable appetite for books. His passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts and in the life of P&P.”