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Larry McMurtry's massive book sale begins Friday

August 08, 2012|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • Larry McMurtry in the Bookstop in Archer City, Texas, one of the bookstores he has owned.
Larry McMurtry in the Bookstop in Archer City, Texas, one of the bookstores… (Ralph Lauer )

Larry McMurtry is known for writing books (and screenplays), but he is also a bookseller. For many years, McMurtry has collected and sold rare books from the town of Archer City, Texas. He has bookstores filled with hundreds of thousands of rare, antiquarian and collectible books.

Friday, they go on sale. Most of them, anyway: McMurtry is auctioning the contents of several stores, save one. And it's keeping 150,000 books in stock.

In addition to being a significant book collector and bookseller, McMurtry has a stunning publishing record and screenwriting career. He's the author of the Pulitzer prize winner "Lonesome Dove," and dozens of other novels, including "The Last Picture Show," "Texasville" and "Terms of Endearment." Many have been successfully adapted for the screen -- in addition to those listed, "Horsemen, Pass By" became the film "Hud" -- and McMurtry collected an Oscar for co-writing the screenplay adaptation of "Brokeback Mountain."

What's going up for auction are the contents of McMurtry's Booked Up stores numbers 2, 3, and 4. The stores have been open for a sale preview for the week leading up to the shelf sale, which will take place Friday and Saturday. That's in person: the auction will not be online.

Those who can make it to Archer City will get to meet McMurtry himself. Auctioneers Addison & Sarova write, "Larry McMurtry will be on hand and, more than a shelf-sale, this will be a true celebration of the book trade and a collective renewal of vows to our labor of love.  Did we mention there will be music, Texas BBQ, cold beer, and warm weather?  Did we mention that some single item lots, including the original Goodspeed's sign, will be offered as well?  Don't be the dealer or collector who misses this! So bring your trucks, your bucks, and any boxes you can find."

Archer, Texas: it's 2.5 hours from Dallas, almost 21 hours from Los Angeles, and 27 hours from New York. There's just about time enough left to get there before it's over.


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