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The Secret Bookstore
July 15, 2011 7:48 AM   Subscribe

The Secret Bookstore

He’s in the phone book.
posted by stbalbach (25 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also the not so secret book barge in London
posted by stbalbach at 7:52 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am all in favor of this, to be sure--but 1) can a NYC apartment hold the weight of all those books (yes, I know about the Collier Brothers), and 2) that has to be in violation of either his lease or his coop agreement...

I'd keep it more on the DL!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:01 AM on July 15, 2011


I was secretly hoping that it was located at the back of a poorly-constructed bathroom or something, the kind of thing where you lean the wrong way and suddenly you fall head-over-heels into a pile of art books. I guess that would be more of an accidental bookstore, but still.

Regardless, I am pro-books and pro-secrets, so I dig it.
posted by Turkey Glue at 8:15 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not anymore.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:29 AM on July 15, 2011



I have the same reservations... Since he was featured in the New Yorker 3 years ago I have to assume it is not exactly as illegal as it seems, or he has made the arrangements to keep anyone with the wherewithal to hassle him about it off his case, or he is just too small/odd to attract attention.
posted by nanojath at 8:30 AM on July 15, 2011


(That was a response to Admiral Haddock, btw)
posted by nanojath at 8:31 AM on July 15, 2011


Am I the only one that cringed when he started smoking a pipe. Those are books! Old ones! YOU DON"T SMOKE AROUND THEM! geez.
posted by oddman at 8:42 AM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


All the best used books smell of tobacco.
posted by jrochest at 8:54 AM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


All the best used books smell of tobacco marijuana.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:43 AM on July 15, 2011



All the best used books smell of tobacco marijuana vomit.
posted by 256 at 10:11 AM on July 15, 2011


All the best used books smell of tobacco marijuana vomit.
posted by Theta States at 11:20 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to feel bad that I was slightly too young for the final best days of Booksellers' Row in NYC. Now I just feel sorry for the younger generation.

Those are books! Old ones! YOU DON"T SMOKE AROUND THEM! geez.

I have some hopelessly rare (though not valuable) books that when I got them were infused with what I have to assume was the remnant of a heavy Gauloises smoker.

The smell has faded over the years - I can get it if I really try - but it actually put some added life into those volumes, recalled the age and origins (1950s, Europe) in a way that cleaner books do not.

Tobacco and old leather, that's a good combination.

Mold, on the other hand....
posted by IndigoJones at 12:54 PM on July 15, 2011


All of the old books we have, a few of them first or early editions, lived for the first part of their life with a serious smoker. However that smoker was also a scrupulously clean older lady (when I knew her anyway) and so none of the books have the slightest whiff of smoke when you'd sniff them. ...What? Everyone smells books now and then, right? (I do even more now that I have a few books with the mold problem. I keep them quarantined so far.)

This made me wish I lived somewhere near NYC because I adore second hand books and I love the idea of a secret bookstore even more. If I had my way I'd have our apartment with bookshelves lined around the walls in all rooms. Er, though it's close to being that way now.
posted by batgrlHG at 3:36 PM on July 15, 2011


always smell a good book in the spine.
posted by clavdivs at 3:45 PM on July 15, 2011


this is why Metafilter rules so hard - posts like this.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:01 PM on July 15, 2011


Seattle has several nearly as obscure (e.g. Pistil). Sad what's left compared to the 200+ ten years ago.

Slightly off-topic: my favorite bookstore ever was in an old fire station in the midwest. Even had a pole, in case you were in a hurry to get back to your cubicle.
posted by Twang at 8:15 PM on July 15, 2011


Neato!
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:17 PM on July 15, 2011


Should books really be treated like "secret things?"


I'm intrigued as hell, and think this is pretty awesome in a Roald Dahl kinda sexy anarchist way, but still....hmmmm....don't know, don't know...


*Opens umbrella and jumps out window, where the natural air currents lift him up and up and up and into the attic through the open sooty skylight. Lights a pipe, and a cigarette, and opens book to last page read...*
posted by Skygazer at 9:45 PM on July 15, 2011


I wish there were more used bookstores in the area. Quite honestly, I think they are one of the most wonderful things in existence. From what I understand, its not exactly a profitable business model. I wonder how else Michael Seidenberg, portrayed in the article, might be promoting his bookstore. Obviously, on the Internet, but I can't see this obscurity working well long term.
posted by graxe at 1:28 AM on July 16, 2011



All the best used books smell of tobacco marijuana vomit old books.


Like sitting in a corner between shelves until your legs fall asleep because you're looking at zoological drawings or reading about tribal social customs or jazz or maybe just some Thurber stories.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:57 AM on July 16, 2011


All the best used books smell of tobacco.

No way. Tobacco smell is the kiss of death for used books these days. Seriously: Kiss. Of. Fucking. Death. Folks wanting to lessen it in rare books should try putting the book in a ziploc bag with some kitty litter for a month or two. That can sometimes work well.
posted by mediareport at 6:36 AM on July 16, 2011


Folks wanting to lessen it in rare books should try putting the book in a ziploc bag with some kitty litter for a month or two.

If you really want to have some fun with a rare book, throw a coupla cats in there also.
posted by Skygazer at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2011


And a scanner, natch.
posted by Skygazer at 9:40 AM on July 16, 2011


I love the smell of old books in the morning!
posted by smirkette at 1:59 PM on July 16, 2011


Some people treat The Book Thing of Baltimore as a secret. I tell everybody I can about it. It's a not-secret treasure.
posted by knile at 5:47 AM on July 19, 2011


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