1 August 2020 Susannah

The Booksellers

The Booksellers, 2019 Blackletter Films

It was just fabulous to go and see a movie again recently, and what a good choice I made for my first post-Covid film! I went to see the documentary film The Booksellers about rare-book dealers in the USA.

The film consisted of interviews, anecdotes, scenes from the New York Annual Rare Book Fair, and wonderful quotes about the joy of books. I adored every minute of it and laughed often. The booksellers were quirky, devoted to the printed word, often oddly dressed, and just so knowledgeable about books and their scarcity / value / provenance. The movie gave me so much to think about.

Some of the booksellers felt the rare-book market was dying, others were full of optimism. I found it fascinating to learn that young people on the New York subway are more likely to be reading a physical book than a Kindle, I was gobsmacked by what Bill Gates paid for a Leonardo da Vinci Codex, and I was thrilled to see a cover of the Peacock edition of Pride and Prejudice in the first five minutes of the film – you just know it’s going to be a good film when you see that! The movie made me feel so normal – that wanting to collect various editions of Jane Austen, or books about Pepys, or all of Trollope’s novels, or the complete works of L.M. Montgomery or Georgette Heyer is actually a perfectly sensible ambition, and actually extremely cheap in comparison with some of the collecting aims expressed in the film.

Have you seen this movie, or another memorable movie lately? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Do give yourself a treat and see this gorgeous film!

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Featured image credit- The Booksellers, 2019 Greenwich Entertainment production, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9355194/
Body image credit- The Booksellers, 2019 Blackletter Films production, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9355194/

Comments (8)

  1. Margaret Debenham

    Dear Susannah, I have finally seen the movie (it has been on the list for a while, but had to wait until we had completed all the movies we had booked for the French Film Festival, so rudely interrupted by the cinema shutdowns. So it’s been movies, movies all the way for the last few weeks.). It was wonderful and fascinating, the booksellers were such fabulous characters, and it was heartening to see those two lovely young women being so optimistic about the future of books and booksellers – I do hope they are right! However the statistics of bookshop shutdowns are very worrying. And I loved everything Fran Lebowitz had to say. (And, like you, I was thrilled to see the Peacock edition Jane Austen in the opening montage.) I would love to see a British version on the same theme – there would probably be even more eccentricity on display!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh yes, an English version would be even better! Like you, I hope the two younger women are right in their optimism. I’m so glad you also got to see it and enjoyed it.

  2. Susan W.

    I made a mistake. That was October 7, 2019. As for this year, it’s not available yet, with no future date noted.

  3. Susan W.

    “The Booksellers” won’t arrive in the US until October 7th. You’ve whetted my appetite!

  4. Miland Joshi

    I don’t see this available on DVD yet, but maybe next year. The trailer is on Youtube. It features Strand bookseller in NYC, well worth visiting! They’re unfortunately right about the devastation caused by the internet, even though the internet has revolutionised not only book buying but book hunting. Young people reading books on the subway – now how’s that for “having something positive to report”!
    I look forward to seeing the whole film.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I don’t know personally how accurate the comment about young people reading books on the subway actually was, but it cheered me too.

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