The Detroit Metro Times recognizes John K. King
The Best Indie Bookstore in Detroit!
Metro Times Best of Detroit 2014
R.I.P. NORMIE WEXLER
On Tuesday April 1, 2014, Philip Norman Wexler passed away
in San Francisco
at the age of 90.
“Normie”, as he was commonly called, was the last of the
old-time Detroit booksellers, a link to the past
(and other major cities) could support dozens of used bookstores. Normie owned The Big Book Store on Woodward
at Selden through the early 1980s until a firebombing in the store next to his
led to his moving to California; there, starting in 1984, he would own and operate the used bookstore,
Bookmonger, on Clement Street and 25th Avenue in San Francisco for over 20
years. Normie closed that store in 2004 when his landlord decided to triple his rent, a sadly familiar story in the
recent history of used book stores.
Normie was the prototypical laid-back bookseller, preferring
the books come to him rather than seeking them out, and his store always had a
quiet, calm feeling about it. His last
few years of retirement were spent in a nursing home in San Francisco, watching baseball on
television, reading pot-boiler mystery novels, and pretending to listen to the
stories of his fellow patients who didn’t notice that Normie’s hearing aids
weren’t turned on.
Normie leaves behind several relatives, many close friends
from all walks of life, and scores of others who remember him fondly. His ashes will be scattered over the Pacific Ocean some day soon.
WE WERE NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKSTORES
IN THE WORLD!!!
of the Best Bookstores in the World
Please join us on:
Facebook: John King Used & Rare
Watch another interview with John King
and staff here:
with John King and Staff, March 2014
On October 20, 2013, Toni Riss of Garland, TX ordered an Inscribed
& Signed copy of Harry Truman’s book YEAR OF DECISION, saying it was so
fortunate to find the book that was once in her family (Truman inscribed it to a Riss family member). After the USPS delivered
it (with confirmation) she cancelled her credit card charge claiming she never
received the book. If there is anyone
out there who can help us retrieve this stolen book, we are offering a $500
reward for the book’s return, or a $1000 reward if leading to a
conviction. The credit card companies
are notorious in treating their merchants like garbage, so they couldn’t care
less. They didn’t even call us to tell
us that they had confiscated the money from our account! At the very least, this can be a warning to
others to be aware of this situation, and that the victim in this case isn’t a
multi-national corporation but a hard working, honest bookselling firm. Description of stolen book follows:
Truman, Harry S. MEMOIRS BY
HARRY S. TRUMAN, Volume One, Year of Decisions.
Doubleday & Co: Garden City, NY 1955. 9.5 x 6”, gilt-lettered blue cloth with
gilt-lettered black cloth spine label; teg, 596pp, in a glassine dustwrapper,
and stained & badly worn slipcase (for another book: Truman’s Years of Trial
and Hope). INSCRIBED “To Richard Riss
(Dick to me) with kindest regards and deep appreciation of his friendship and
courtesies to me” AND SIGNED BY HARRY S. TRUMAN, who adds “Independence, Dec. 19, 1955”.
TURNER, RIP-OFF ARTIST
Chris Turner, the alleged artist who was involved in the Millennium
Bell at Grand Circus
Park in Detroit, and who exhibits locally, had taken
a $1000.00 deposit from us for decorative ironwork, and skipped out on the
work. He’s nothing more than a rip-off
artist, and again we are warning all others about this scammer. Maybe, instead of buying art from Chris
Turner, you should buy a book from us.
Sorry for the bad news since most of our customers are decent, honest
folks who have supported us for almost 50 years of our existence. We’d like to say thank you to them.
Here’s a recent interview of John King in
Check out the January 29-February 4,
2014 issue of the Detroit MetroTimes
for the cover story
THINGS YOU MUST DO IN DETROIT
BEFORE YOU DIE”
visit to John King Used & Rare Books is #41!
Please look in the December 2013 issue of Vanity Fair magazine for a photograph taken in John King Books by "Sal R." which was a prize winner in the Canon Projet Imaginat10n contest!
MAGIC MAGAZINE LOT SALE
We have four boxes
of THE LINKING RING, a magic magazine, approximately 400 issues in nice
condition, issues dating from the 1930s to the 1970s (we haven’t counted or
collated the issues – there may be earlier or later issues; probably about 100
issues per box), to be sold as a lot only!
Come on in and take a look. We’re
asking $400 for the lot. Not advertised
online, and we don’t want to have to ship 100 lbs of magazines.
Get them before they…um…disappear.
A mention of John King Books in a
Canadian Inflight Magazine from earlier in the year:
Airllines magazine "Re:Porter" issue 29 (see p27)
Here’s a link to a John King Books Ghost
here for the King Books Real Ghost Story
A fairly recent video about John King
Click here for King Books
Welcome to John K. King Used & Rare Books. We are Michigan’s largest used & rare bookstore, and one of the largest bookstores in the country. Our main store in downtown Detroit actually consists of two buildings: a four story bookstore in an old glove factory where most of our stock is kept, and another building directly behind (once the Otis Elevator Building) with offices, storage, a large collection of Art books, and a Rare Book Room. While the four story store is open regular hours (9:30am to 5:30pm, Monday through Saturday), the Rare Book Room and Art book area are open by appointment only. However, the books in the Rare Book Room (some 20-30,000 books) are available for browsing and purchase on our website, www.rarebooklink.com. While the main store stock is not on a database or website, it is organized by subject and author within the store for easy shopping. If you cannot make it to our store to browse for a certain title, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can have someone check our shelves for you. We also have two other stores within the Detroit area: The Big Bookstore at 5911 Cass Avenue, near Wayne State University in Detroit (313-831-8511), open 9:30am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday; and, John King Books North at 22524 Woodward Avenue, just south of Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, Michigan (248-548-9050), open 11am to 7pm Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm on Saturdays, and 12noon to 5pm on Sundays. Neither of those stores has its stock on a database, either, but the staff will be happy to check if you call in your requests.
Here’s the latest appearance of John
King Books in the media:
20/20 Report on John King Books 06/17/2013
We Buy Books and Libraries!
Please email or call us if you are selling one book or a collection of books.
We are particularly interested in books concerning Military History, Michigan and Detroit, the Auto Industry, Signed books, First Editions, Stationary Steam Engineering, Bible Reference, Chess and Checkers, Slight-of-Hand Magic, Incunabula and Early Printings, etc.
We are not particularly interested in old Text books, Readers Digest books, Book Club books, books in bad condition, rejects from garage sales, etc.
Here’s the latest photo essay about John King Books
Here’s a recent story about San Francisco’s great Adobe Bookshop:
San Francisco's Adobe Bookshop Changes
PLEASE NOTE: THE SEARCH BUTTON ON THE LEFT IS FOR OUR RARE BOOK ROOM STOCK ONLY! IT WON'T TELL YOU WHAT'S IN OUR REGULAR STORE STOCK...FOR THAT, YOU'LL EITHER HAVE TO EMAIL US OR STOP ON DOWN TO THE STORE AND BROWSE. THE STORE IS REALLY WELL ORGANIZED, BUT WE DON'T HAVE A DATABASE OF THE 750,000 TITLES IN OUR FOUR-FLOOR WAREHOUSE.
Here’s an article on the October 4, 2012 Swann Auction of John King’s copy of the Edward Curtis set:
Click here for article on auction results
Here’s another story mentioning John King Books:
Bookstores in Repurposed Structures
Martha Stewart LIVING magazine did a short profile of Detroit's Corktown neighborhood in their September 2012 issue, and gave John King Books a paragraph! See page 24.
Also, Detroit's HOUR Magazine named John King Books "Best Used Bookstore" in their annual "The Best of Detroit" issue, June 2012 (see p.90).
Here’s a nice mention of our store (and Detroit as a whole):
CNN Online Article
Listen to one of our store managers discuss John King Books on the internet radio station Monocle, at Monocle Radio (just navigate to the bottom of the page and click on the “19/05/2012 Review”)
Here are some pictures from a recent photo shoot:
Jean Smith Photographs at John King Books
ALBERT EINSTEIN AND JOHN KING BOOKS
A few days ago, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem unveiled their new portal into the huge archive of Albert Einstein papers, some 80,000 items! Included are bother personal and professional papers and correspondence.
It was a huge undertaking, and it took years for the project to come this far.
I tried the archive this afternoon. I searched for “Lebach” (the last name of one of Einstein’s mistresses). 109 entries came up! Letters from Einstein to Lebach, letters from Lebach to Einstein, etc.
But, no digitized images yet.
We don’t have digitized images of Einstein’s correspondence with Lebach, either.
We have an actual letter from Albert Einstein to Margarete Lebach for sale. Here’s the link: Einstein's Letter to His Mistress
And, we have two letters from Elsa Einstein, Albert’s wife, to Miss Lebach, too. Here are the links:
Letter No. 1 from Mrs. Einstein to Albert's Mistress
Letter No. 2 from Mrs. Einstein to Albert's Mistress
See? Einstein was a scientist and a great mind, but he was a guy, too. He was having an affair with Miss Lebach, and, Mrs. Einstein wanted to have a talk with her. Why? Because Mrs. Einstein had been in the same situation years before: she had been one of Albert's mistresses when he was married the first time.
Be the first person on your block to own a genuine Einstein letter. Buy all three and really get into the whole Einstein soap opera.
Remember: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has this huge, comprehensive collection of hundreds of thousands of Albert Einstein’s papers.
But, they don’t have these!
A recent article from a budding local reporter:
College Newspaper Article on King Books
Yet another photo shoot here at the store:
Lawrence Creative Photos -- John King Books
Another interesting blog about us:
Blog about King Books
See the real John K. King in a commercial for the new exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts REMBRANDT AND THE FACE OF JESUS
(he’s the one who says Jesus looked like a hippie)…
Here’s the link:
Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus Commercial
Another mention in an online blog:
Paradise for Bookhounds...here!
Another photo essay about the store, this one entitled “Four Floor of Fun”…see link below:
Four Floors of Fun link
HOLLYWOOD COMES TO DETROIT
Lately, Detroit has become “Hollywood Mid-West” with the filming of dozens of major Hollywood motion pictures here. For the past month or so, we’ve been working with the crew from the upcoming film “The Double” as they film in and around Detroit. Last month, the crew took over the Rare Book Room at our store for a few days to film an intense scene with one of the stars of the film, Richard Gere. The scene – barely a page of dialogue – took about 7 hours to film, but it was exciting nonetheless to meet Mr. Gere and his co-star Odette Yustman. Everyone was nice and professional, and the Rare Book Room is just about back in order.
To top it all off, we were honored with a visit from another star of “The Double”, Martin Sheen, a couple of days ago. He came in to look at books and meet and greet the staff (and anyone else who recognized him). We don’t have pictures of Mr. Sheen, but he did sign our guest book, and we expect him back in the next week or so while he’s in town.
When the movie comes out, look for some of our furniture and books in the movie. The crew borrowed a big desk for Martin Sheen’s character to sit behind (on a chair they borrowed from us, too), a statue, some old pencil sketches and oil paintings (a block of old buildings here in downtown Detroit was – for a day – transformed into a Paris street), and other items.
Here’s a link to the movie information on IMDB:
"The Double" at IMDB
Here’s a link to some photos we took on the day of the shooting in the Rare Book Room (note: you won’t see any stars in these photos – they had their own staff photographer that day, and we didn’t want to intrude):
"The Double" Movie at John King Books
John King’s beloved dog, Winkie, died this past February at the age of 12. John’s friend, Miriam, penned this poem in Winkie’s memory:
You were not a perfect dog,
your ancestry was questionable,
your little body had imperfections.
Your bark was sharp, imperious,
demanding of attention and often ill timed.
But, oh, what spirit, spunk and
stamina you had for a 20 pound dog
Visit our Michigan Store
New & Exciting
Wonderful Collection of Bob-Lo Island memorabilia: 10 original photographs c 1890s-1920s with one from the 1950s (?), 5 souvenirs 1912-1940s (?) and two books. [Bois Blanc Island]
Photos: all b&w, 8 x 10 cabinet card, six are 4.25 x 6 to 4.25 x 7, two are 3.5 x 6, one is 11 x 14, only one has a photographer listed (Spencer & Wycoff, Detroit). Overall there is soiling to the photos, a few light scratches, small abrasion one margin, cabinet card mount lacks corners, five are glued to cardboard with photo margins cropped else good with clear, sharp images. Images are: cabinet card "Bois Blanc Island. The Cottage South View," Amusement Building, Souvenir Building (two different views), Carousel, Playground (two different scenes: swing sets and playing a game with blindfolds), Bob-Lo Woodward Ave. dock, crowds waiting for tickets/boat (Windsor?). aerial photo of the Columbia full of passengers. Souvenirs: 1912 postcard, postally used, of the Souvenir Building with soiling and creasing, 1937 printed advertisement for "All Sports Club Moonlight Excursion to Bob-Lo Island Park" light creasing/wear, ceramic beer stein with image of a Bob-Lo boat (5" h) with hairline cracks and chipping, wood composition ship’s wheel (6 x 3.5) with chipping/chipping paint and center section inset of a Bob-Lo boat and area below inset is missing a small piece. Books: Creed, J.A. BOB-LO, A TINY CANADIAN ISLAND, 1987, pict wraps, light wear else good. Rauhauser, Bill and Martin Magid. BOB-LO REVISITED, hardcover with dust jacket, book shelfworn on bottom else very good. Signed by both. The photograph of special interest is the cabinet card of "The Cottage." The image shown is definitely not a cottage, but a large, sprawling two-story Victorian house with a Mansard roof on its tower with various outbuildings. It is quite likely that this house built by Arthur McKee Rankin, son of Col. Arthur Rankin, the first private owner of the island. Rankin, an actor, bought this property from his father in 1869 and built an elaborate estate on five acres incorporating one of the three original blockhouses. He stocked the property with deer, wild turkey and elk, added large stables. He lavishly entertained his NY friends (he was a well known NY stage actor) every summer. His income declined, due in part to a divorce and the property was sold to a mortgage company in 1877. This fantastic collection includes early history of Bob-Lo (once called Bois Blanc Island) before it became an amusement park and then its early years. Scarce, even more so because original early photos of Bob-Lo are only seen in modern reprints. A total of 17 items. Sold as a lot only.
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