The Book Gallery (Phoenix AZ) is in a non-descript plaza, which from the outside does not attract the eye. I might have missed it if I was not looking for it. The place has the familiar and strong odor of antiquarian books. I prefer bookstores that have more inventory of books from the last couple of decades, whereas this store is filled with books that go back much further. I almost left on taking a few steps past the entrance. If I had, it would have been one of the biggest mistakes in my bibliophile life.
Stacks of hardcover books line the shelves as you walk to the back of the store. Many books are from the time when publishers did not turn covers into eye candy to draw a prospective buyer’s attention. On finding the Science Fiction and Fantasy section, I was mildly curious about the classic authors from the 1970’s and before – when I first started reading books. It was an interesting collection that reminded me of the classic greats who laid the foundation for the amazing writers today.
My attention waning, I turned to leave when I noticed a Dean Koontz novel, Seize the Night, had a “Signed by Author” tag. After looking over the $35 copy, I skimmed the shelves. It was like somebody sprinkled fairy dust on the shelving and a third of the books sparkled. I’ve never seen so many signed by author books collected in a single space for Science Fiction and Fantasy.
It was joyful and frustrating.
I felt awe looking at signatures of authors who I admire and enjoyed reading. Several of them inspire my ideas about fiction. There were many books that I wanted to take home, which would have been a challenge to pack for the plane, but they were expensive.
Refusing to leave empty handed, I settled on The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg. It’s a nice well kept signed 1st edition that was sold for $35. The same copy on Abesbooks was going for $100. It’s most valuable to me for being a story I read as a teen that stays with me today. There were a couple of other books I purchased—none signed but having great appeal.
The Book Gallery is one I strongly recommend visiting for the genres that you love. I know I’ll be visiting my book friends again, and, perhaps, take more signed editions home with me.
The Book Gallery
3643 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018