“I’ll have $80,000 of books please, preferably white”

I love books. Lots.

I buy books. Lots.

But I’ve never yet taken up the offer in a Charing Cross Road bookshop to buy books by the foot.

I’d assumed the offer is there to cater to the theatre trade, but this lovely detail in a piece about the success of the American Strand Bookstore makes me wonder otherwise:

The Basses [who own Strand Bookstore] have also tapped into New York’s great subsidizing resource: the global rich. If you’ve bought $15 million worth of living space on Park Avenue, it probably has a library, so what’s another $80,000 to fill those shelves? Make a call to the Strand with a few suggestions—“sports, business, art”—and a truckful of well-chosen, excellent-condition books will arrive. (Fred recalls that when Ron Perelman bought his estate on the East End from the late artist Alfonso Ossorio, the Strand had just cleared out Ossorio’s library; Perelman ordered a new selection of books, refilling the shelves.) In more than a few cases, the buyers request not subject matter but color. In the Hamptons, a wall of white books is a popular order, cheerfully fulfilled.


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