John K. King
Used & Rare Books
A Million Books in Stock
Updates -Main Store
Check out past articles about John King Books, if we are missing one send us the link.
Check out the video to the left: WDIV's Devin Scillian on a recent visit to John King Books.
Updates -North Store
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Original Kate Greenaway signed watercolor "Patty", framed with a note attached to the back from Greenaway to her publisher E. Routledge sending this picture, purchased by Routledge at the Dudley Gallery, May 1878. With a copy of the book LITTLE WIDE AWAKE which contains two color reproductions of the watercolor (one on the cover, one as the frontispiece)
Original Kate Greenaway Watercolor & Book
John K. King started in the book business when he was just a teenager in 1965. Since then, he has continually advanced in the field; starting out selling books out of the trunk of his 1954 Packard to present day, offering over a million titles that can only be housed within four expansive floors of seemingly endless shelves. Previous to the current location of the store at 901 West Lafayette, Mr. King occupied a storefront in the Michigan Theatre Building, which now serves as an ornate parking structure in Downtown Detroit. The West Lafayette location was formerly the Advance Glove Factory, which operated from the 1940s to the 1970s. After the factory was shut down, it sat vacant until Mr. King purchased it in 1983. The original Advance Glove floor mat can still be found at the entrance to the store, as well as the giant red glove that still remains painted on the side of the building. A few years later, John King purchased the former Otis Elevator building next door to the store. Today, that building contains our offices, Art Annex, and the Rare Book Room, which houses some of the more fragile or scarce items in his collection. Recently, Mr. King has stubbornly agreed to bring at least part of the store experience into the digital age, cataloging the Rare Book collection on www.rarebooklink.com for easy online browsing, as well as introducing a social media presence. You can read a more detailed account of John King’s story on our About Us page.
John K. King Used & Rare Books is a bookstore reminiscent of times past, once described by someone as a Wes Anderson movie. The stock in our main store, as well as that of our smaller Ferndale branch, is not cataloged by computer. Although this means we are unable to do a computerized search to see if we have a specific title in stock, merchandise is organized and located by our team of knowledgeable, red apron-clad store employees. Additionally, navigating the sometimes overwhelming multitude of titles is aided by store maps available at the front counter upon entry, as well as centrally located telephones that can be used to reach the front counter for inquiries. Each floor has a designated manager responsible for keeping the books organized by category and subcategory, title and author. To avoid getting confused while browsing, it’s helpful to keep in mind that the books in each category generally flow toward the windows. For customers with mobility issues, just ask a staff member to take you by elevator to the floor of your choice. You can get a feel of our wall-to- wall book experience by checking out our Interactive Store Map. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, please ask! We have thousands of “duplicates” in storage, and even a few thousand extra Art books, too! All this creates a unique browsing experience that encourages getting “lost in the aisles” of four floors packed full of literature and other ephemera. Don’t worry, we’ll gently push you out at closing time!
In addition to the million or so titles in stock in the store, the books and ephemera we’ve deemed to be rare, scarce, or fragile are located next door in our Rare Book Room. Although this collection is not accessible to the general public, shoppers can search for items regarding a multitude of subjects by visiting www.rarebooklink.com. Detailed descriptions, as well as the prices of all Rare Book Room items, can be located on this website. Believe it or not, in the years before our expansive rare book collection was made available online, it was organized via printed catalogs. If something of interest is found on our website please give us a call, stop in and speak with an associate, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you. For shoppers unable to physically come to the store, items available online may be able to be shipped, depending upon the destination as well as the item itself. For more information on getting in touch with us, visit our Contact page.
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