"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Last Book Sale


Over at The New York Review of Books, here’s Larry McMurtry on his final book sale:

Calling it the Last Book Sale was a conceit based on the fact that my novel The Last Picture Show had been filmed on the same site. In fact, the reputable firm of Bonham’s is conducting a major literary auction on the West Coast right now. Our auction was probably the last on this scale I will be involved with.

I’ve been an active book dealer for fifty-five years, and one thing I learned to avoid is the adjective “rare.” Poe’s Tamerlane exists in twelve known copies. It’s rare and so are his stories; but most books aren’t rare. What I sold, over two days in August, were second-hand books—or antiquarian books, if you want to fancy it up. I’ve owned most of them more than once in my career, although many of them are now at least uncommon.

My firm, Booked Up Inc., owned about 400,000 books, spread among four large buildings in Archer City, a small oil patch town in the midwestern part of Texas. I also have a 28,000-volume personal library, in the same town. I’m getting old and so are my buildings. My heirs are literate but not bookish. Dealing with nearly half a million books would be a huge burden for them: thus the downsizing.

[Photo Credit: -circa]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver