I like things. I have a million of them. Mostly books. On the verge of insanity, my collection will one day overwhelm me. But until then, I’ll keep going. There’s no sign of it slowing. Adding to my ailment is Port Richmond Books. The greatest used book store I’ve ever stepped foot. And I’ve been to a lot. From San Francisco shops in the Mission to basements on St. Mark’s NYC. They may come close. But not really. I’m lucky to have found a place so near.
Located on Richmond Street right off of Allegheny, this part of the neighborhood gets the absolute minimum amount of foot traffic. So your chances of stumbling upon it are virtually zero. Surrounded by row homes the store is pretty unassuming. It almost looks closed. Fortunately the door was unlocked. I was in.
You start off in a front entrance room. Books are piled everywhere. I was kinda worried because it all looked like shit. But almost right away I found a sweet 1960 Mafia paperback and I knew everything would be alright. Open a door and you’re sucked into a bigger room. A decent selection of art books to the right as well as a bathroom and a shower. To your left is literature/classics/the good fiction, whatever you wanna call it. Way too much to choose from. I could come back ten more times and still spend 50 bucks each trip. Stacks of Kerouac on the floor. Early editions of the Great Gatsby, Hemingway, Richard Wright. Stuff I’ve never even seen before. Lots of cool William Faulkner covers. First editions by William Burroughs that I can’t afford. Lists go on and on.
Strapped for time, I breezed through a walk-in closet sized annex stocked entirely of pulp fiction and dime novels looking like they were just stolen wholesale from a 1954 drug store. Down a hall of all Irish related pages, I had one more door to check out. I said, “Fuck” as I opened it because this next room wasn’t even a room at all, it was an emptied out movie theater. Instead of seats there were shelves. Tall, too. Like ten feet high. I nearly ran down the aisles, scanning the titles, hoping for something to jump out.
Port Richmond Books is at 3037 Richmond Street, Philadelphia. Hours vary but they’re probably there.