July 17, 2012

Giant, Texas-sized book auction


Booked Up, Archer City, Texas

It’s finally happening. We warned you. Out of Archer City, Texas, comes Larry McMurtry’s  giant Last Book Sale.

According to the Austin Chronicle:

Larry McMurtry is putting two-thirds of the inventory from his Archer City landmark bookstore Booked Up on the auction block. Called “The Last Book Sale” in a nod to McMurtry’s 1966 novel The Last Picture Show – the film adaptation of which was shot on the streets that surround Booked Up – the auction will feature 300,000 titles, including rare manuscripts.

Famed author and long-time rare and used bookseller McMurtry assures his customers and friends that Booked Up is not closing its doors. According to the store’s website: “Do not be alarmed—we are not closing. We will continue to operate in Building 1 with 150,000 books.” This is in all caps for emphasis.

Also posted on the site are the latest pick-of-the-week, Law on a Wild Frontier: Four Sheriffs of Lincoln County by Jeff C. Dykes, along with photos of two new bookstore kittens, and a new bookstore baby!

Out with old and in with the new does seem to be the inspiration for this great 300,000 title sell-off. On the bookstore’s site, McMurtry answers the question, why push them out?

Because we believe that in the book world migration is healthy:  old pages await new eyes.  Yesterday in Lubbock, Texas I found a copy of Sons and Lovers in the oil-cloth Modern Library with my bookplate in it.  Twenty eight thousand volumes have my bookplate in them;  they reside in my big house in Archer City, and yet this one strayed.  How it got to Lubbock I’ll likely never know.  It’s home again now;  but three hundred and fifty thousand of it’s cousins will be flooding into the great river of books that delights and refreshes.

Good reading and good luck!

The auction will be held Aug. 10-11 in Archer City. Book collectors, start your engines!



Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.