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Monday, August 20, 2012

Larry McMurtry tries to sell 300,000 books

And he had trouble getting rid of the fiction

Irritated at having 30,000 unsold books on his hands, Larry McMurtry described the  book-selling experience on the New York Review of Books.

. "I wanted to test the vigor, or lack of it, of the book trade as we have it," he wrote. "Dealers in old books are a subculture, one I’ve been part of for a very long time. Is that subculture still there? Are there still young people piling books in their garages, hoping to have a real shop some day? I didn’t know. Calling for the auction was a way to find out...

"Everyone who deals in fiction has plenty, and more is spilling onto the market from the sale of the Serendipity Books stock now being dispersed on the West Coast. Many people asked me if I was sad to see so many books go. I wasn’t—mainly I was irritated to discover that I still had 30,000 novels to sell."

Carolyn Kellogg, writing in Jacket Copy in the Los Angeles Times reported that one notable work of fiction sold for $2,750 -- because like "50 Shades of Grey," antiquarian erotica is hot. It was a typescript of 29 erotic short stories that were commissioned in the 1940s by an oilman who has remained anonymous. The authors include Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller and Anais Nin.
McMurtry will continue to sell used, collectible and, although he doesn't like the word, rare books at his store Booked Up. He put up more than 300,000 books for auction, but held onto an additional 150,000.

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