The Booksellers

Just as California Typewriter taught us about the cult culture about its title antique, The Booksellers is an equally nifty-and-thrifty doc about the history and culture behind collecting and preserving literature.

Director D.W. Young doesn’t commit his documentary to a specific cut-and-dry structure, allowing his film to purposely sidetrack itself to lock on to sub-interests within a broad topic.  A discussion about collecting rare editions drifts into the lucrative opportunities of collecting, which further elaborates on the thrill of hunting for books, which spirals off into a subtle exploration of the blurred lines between preserving history and material obsession.  Young interviews a variety of professionals and hobbyists as well, and also dedicates portions of the documentary to individual perspectives from some of these interesting subjects.

The Booksellers teaches its audience very well using this unique approach, but the documentary would’ve taken itself to a higher level by using a central narrative to act as a clothesline for Young to hang his stories on – perhaps focusing on a loyal Mom n’ Pop bookstore trying to find its legs in a modern society.  Therefore allowing inspired tangents to grow into more substantial stories while maintaining a cohesive structure (much like last year’s crowd-pleasing art doc There Are No Fakes).

Nonetheless, movie goers will walk away from The Booksellers with a new appreciation for an interest worthy of a resurgence.


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