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A Final Note on The Big Book Store:

As custodians of the now shuttered Big Book Store in Detroit, we would like to thank all the customers who supported us over the years, and all who expressed their sympathies upon the death of this historic bookshop.  The passing of the Big Book Store is now absolute.  The books and the magazines have been sold or recycled.  The lights are out; the ghetto gates have been locked for the last time by its long-time manager Bill Foulkes.  It took 75 long years to reach its extinction and erase itself from Detroit’s Cass Corridor.  As the city rebrands the neighborhood as “Midtown” and investors flock to rehab the left-over buildings that escaped destruction by the city and Wayne State over the years, we wish everyone a wonderful gentrification.  Our former building is slated to become residential, and was purchased by an investor group from Munich.  Auf Wiedersehen.


RealSimple.com and Yelp have put together a list of the Best Bookstores in each of the 50 states, and we’re the Best in Michigan.  Here’s the link:

Best Bookstore in Each of the 50 States:  MICHIGAN (John King Books)

And, go ahead and browse through the
list to see if any of your other favorites
around the country have been crowned
(but, please be patient: lots of ads to
scroll through).


Here’s a recent short documentary about our store,

produced by some students at Wayne State University

WSU Student Documentary About John King Books


Famous Political Writer Jack Lessenberry talks about our own John King and Detroit’s Comeback

Jack Lessenberry on Detroit and John King Books


John King Books appeared on a very exclusive list of bookstores featured on the TV show

“The List”

Bookstores Making a Comeback -- The List


We sell


to our store.

Either stop in to our store


call (313) 961-0622 during business hours


do a “Quick Search” for “Gift Certificate” on our web site.


The latest news on The Big Book Store at 5911 Cass Avenue (on Wayne State University campus):  The store closing is delayed a month (until the end of January, probably) due to conditions in the real estate sales contract that give the buyers more time for their due diligence.  So, you have a few more days for last minute forever purchases.  The Big Book Store is open Wednesday-Saturday, 9:30am to 5:30pm.


John K. King Books is pleased to announce that we are included in Bob Eckstein’s cleverly bound book “FOOTNOTES* From the World’s Greatest Bookstores”, published by Clarkson Potter Publishers in 2016 (and available through your local INDEPENDENT book store).  You’ll find our bookstore featured in the book with some anecdotes about our store.  The foreword is by the great Garrison Keillor, who has twice mentioned our book store on his former show, A Prairie Home Companion (the last time in a song about the great places of Detroit).

Also, John K. King Books is mentioned in the recently published book, “THINGS I DO IN DETROIT, A Guidebook to the Coolest Places” by Dave Krieger.  Krieger “hired” the legendary local goblin, Nain Rouge (who has haunted Detroit since the days of Cadillac), to show him the sites of Detroit.  There are some wonderful photos of our store taken during Nain Rouge’s visit.

Finally, we were listed as one of the Best Bookstores in the Midwest by The Culture Trip.   Here’s the link:

Culture Trip Best Bookstores in the Midwest


We appreciate all the publicity and the great comments from our customers on social media.  If you haven’t visited us yet, why not?  We (and our 750,000+ books) are waiting for you!


Check out Lost Landscapes of Detroit on YouTube.

At the 4:06 mark, you’ll see our two buildings: The Otis Elevator building, and The Advance Glove building (before they moved it)

Lost Landscapes of Detroit


The "Search" button on the left is for items in our Rare Book Collection, only.  To search for other books, please email us or stop in the store during business hours. 


Visit our Michigan Store

Visit our Michigan Book 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.

Price: $495.00

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