The Booksellers Documentary Keep Collectors Hopeful

With the reemergence of independent bookstores and an ever-increasing nostalgia for the intimacy of physicality in a digital age, The Booksellers comes at an opportune time for any reader who puts their love for the paper-bound artifacts above all else. Directed by D.W. Young, this documentary focuses on the livelihoods and idiosyncrasies of New York’s finest antiquarian booksellers. They don’t sell what you can purchase online for two-day Prime shipping. These bibliophiles specialize in everything from leather-bound covers to hip-hop collections. Young booksellers are seeing an increasing diversification in content and in the sellers themselves. Not every participant in the …

Book Culture

With the reemergence of independent bookstores and an ever-increasing nostalgia for the intimacy of physicality in a digital age, The Booksellers comes at an opportune time for any reader who puts their love for the paper-bound artifacts above all else. Directed by D.W. Young, this documentary focuses on the livelihoods and idiosyncrasies of New York’s finest antiquarian booksellers. They don’t sell what you can purchase online for two-day Prime shipping. These bibliophiles specialize in everything from leather-bound covers to hip-hop collections.

Young booksellers are seeing an increasing diversification in content and in the sellers themselves. Not every participant in the film looks like a literature professor at The University of Please Hold All Questions Until The End. That sentence itself has both racial, gender, and class implications that are transcended in the reality of bookselling. There are prominent black and POC booksellers, not only of independent bookshops, but also of literary rarities, who are highlighted in the film.

The Booksellers also addresses the industry’s climacteric: the rise of the Internet. The Internet plays a complicated role in the field. For younger sellers, it’s a demand to innovate, and, for older, it’s a demand to adapt. While companies like Amazon and Kindle have a monopoly over digital reads, their services are incomparable to the experience of browsing at a bookstore or a book fair.

Physical copies preserve history not simply in a tangible sense but in a cultural one. Maneuvering bookshelves, reveling over inscriptions and publication dates, and experiencing those joys in a space devoted to the thoughtful adoration of books elicits a tactile emotional response that clicking “Checkout” could never. The Booksellers is a fantastic watch for anyone who loves to read or anyone who needs to prove to their loved one why it’s of pivotal importance that they buy them that antique book on their wishlist.

featured image via WWNY