john k. king.

john wanders through the stacks. 

by far, the most interesting bookstore i’ve ever spent time in

john k. king used & rare books

is a bookstore out of its time

located in detroit on 4 floors

of what used to be the advance glove company building

filled with over 1 million volumes

 completely uncomputerized collections

 organized into more than 900 categories

by a team of energetic and helpful staff members

each floor has a manager who is responsible

for knowledge and maintenance of the categories held there

upon entering you are handed a map and directory

 you are free to wander you way through the floors

until closing time.

john began collecting and selling books as a teenager

selling them out of the trunk of his car

and he continues to this day

on my recent visit to the store

staff members said he was in his car

headed to cincinnati to acquire a new collection

every time they sell a few books, he takes on more

he’s now purchased the old otis elevator building

behind the store to use as

 an annex for his art and rare book collections

this is a store and experience not to be missed.


“i thought i’d go to a bookstore and see what moved me.”

-erik larson





credits: john r. king books


49 responses »

  1. Do you think they actually make money? I mean, I know the population base around there is a wee bit larger than my <30K town, but I think the only way the used bookstore here survives is that they have turned into primarily a comic book/graphic novel haven which also has used books. (I mean, Amazon and Kindle and the time-sink of FB and whatnot seem to have almost killed bookstores–but I hope I'm wrong).

    Liked by 1 person

    • yes, and they’ve been around for years, they have a very loyal customer base that is growing all the time. in ann arbor, where i live, north of detroit, we have 4 independent bookstores, all doing well –


  2. I wish I lived closer, so I, too, could experience it in person! I’m glad to have a chance to experience it vicariously, and reminded to visit my nearest bookstore. (I don’t think I’ve been back since Littler was born–d’oh!)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s