Antiquarian booksellers aren’t people you meet every day. Theirs in an insular world and an industry that may be fading away. The booksellers that this documentary introduces its audience to are a curious bunch, mostly older, mostly white, mostly New Yorkers. Their world is one of obsessives and money and a deep appreciation for all things bookish. The film begins at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, then weaves its way though upscale shops, classic used book stores and apartments crammed full of books, collecting the stories of the men and women who are still on the lookout for that one elusive rare volume to buy or sell. It’s definitely a film for a certain audience. And you know who you are.
The Booksellers is a paean to the printed page. The camera pans lovingly over sumptuous leather-bound covers as collectors and booksellers recount their stories of falling into the rare book world. They also lament that the modern world is changing their work. “The Internet ruined the hunt,” one of them says. Now all you have to do is Google a title and you’ll see that there are X number of copies out there. And the thrill of searching and discovering that treasure in the back of a used book story is sadly gone. Also the number of people who are collecting books is probably dwindling, though there are a few young collectors and sellers in the film that think there is a newer, different market coming up.
This is a film mainly for book lovers. There is a bit too much of the same kind of material covered, so it could have been pared down a bit, but if you’re into collecting or just love perusing the rare book shops, you’ll probably have a good time with these folks.
It’s showing in Virtual Cinemas right now. Check out this link for your nearest theater.