Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Larry McMurtry, famed Texas novelist/bookseller decides to downsize

Seeks to reduce stock by 300,000 books

The New York Times reports more than 150 collectors queued up to begin bidding last Friday.  McMurtry’s literary treasure trove sprawls through four buildings in Archer City, Texas – a prairie town of 1,800 souls about 150 miles northwest of Dallas.
“I’ve never seen that many people lined up in Archer City,” McMurtry  said. “And I’m sure I never will again.”

McMurtry opened his store, called Booked Up, in 1988. His goal now is to whittle down his inventory to just one building of 150,000 books to be managed by his heirs.  “One store is manageable,” he said. “Four stores would be a burden.”

But I gotta ask: how the heck do you cull such a vast collection of “fine, rare & scholarly books?” McMurtry must’ve been at it since 1989.

Archer City, by the way, was the setting for “The Last Picture Show,” one of McMurtry’s many best-sellers that made its way to film. Thursday, according to NY Times reported John Williams, it was 110 degrees with not a patch of shade in sight.
Bidders and guests squeezed into narrow rows of chairs, clapping as McMurtry walked slowly toward the auction block and picked up a microphone. Dollar amounts climbed early for a special selection of 101 books, hand-picked by McMurtry himself. The weekend event attracted collectors and book dealers from all over the country. An attendee from Tampa, Fla., spoke for many when he said, “Even if I walked away with nothing, I wanted to be here.”

It prompted Mr. McMurtry to respond, “It’s become an event that’s transcended its literal purpose.”
Larry McMurty is the author of “Lonesome Dove,” “The Last Picture Show,” “Terms of Endearment,” and dozens more. Besides his impressive list of best-sellers, he’s won Pultizers and Academy Awards. About the rise of e-books, McMurtry insists: “All the controversies about the Kindle don’t have much impact on the rare book business. I think a good bookstore will not suffer.”
And so many more!

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