Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2007 Issue

Goin' Farther South

Mrs. Lambert at Lambert's in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


"What do you think the general direction of bookstores will be in the future?" we asked. "The Internet has taken a lot of our business away, and Barnes and Noble has, also," Corey replied. "When we bought the store in 2000 we bought it based on the year 2000's sales figures which, after 9/11 and the internet, just plummeted. One of the reasons we are moving is because our mortgage is too high."

Burke's is located on a very busy four-lane street, but foot traffic is minimal and the neighborhood is rather seedy at this point. "This was a great location at one time. There were more shops here and a health food store across the street, which was great, but they have since closed. Unless people are driving directly to us, they won't know we are here. When we get to the new store we are going to do night hours again and the place moving in next door to us is a coffee shop and "desssertery"…we are really thrilled; it couldn't be better. We had an abysmal 2006, but it looks like our luck has turned."

We told him we hoped so, and wished him the best. We trucked on down the road to spend several days with a friend at Horsehoe Lake, Arkansas, near Memphis. Also near Memphis are acres and acres and acres of RVs and small trailers that FEMA bought for hurricane victims and, because of Federal red tape, were never distributed to those in need; they are being auctioned off by the thousands to dealers. Our tax dollars at work.

After that break, we headed down to Biloxi, stopping two days in Hot Springs, Arkansas, former home of ex-President Bill Clinton. We dumb-lucked into one of the best and least expensive barbeque restaurants we have ever been to; McClard's. The story is that the family owned a trailer park in the 1920s and one of their tenants couldn't pay his rent. He offered the McClards "the best barbeque sauce recipe in the world" in exchange for rent. They tried it and they agreed. They have owned the establishment for all this time, and it is still run by family. We sat in Bill Clinton's favorite booth and this is one of his favorite eateries. They love him there and we saw lots of Clintoniana everywhere.

And, we found a bookstore the likes of which I've never seen before. Lambert's Swap Shop (please see the picture, it is worth a thousand words) was a large building jam-packed, I mean JAM-packed, from front to back with knick knacks, old pairs of shoes and basically bad books of every type, shape, and size including racks of bodice rippers, stacks of common, modern fiction, Reader's Digest books, and books of every type and genre on shelves and in crumbling cardboard boxes and milk cartons and grocery bags, all stacked in precarious piles that one knew would come crashing to the floor if one rooted around. It was one of those places where you had to leave your bags at the desk, not because they were worried about shoplifters, but because if you carried it, you would knock over every other stack of books. In fact, I found this out the hard way when I dislodged one stack of paperback war novels to find a lovely hardback copy of Longfellow's Hiawatha from 1898. It was probably the best book in the place. I paid too much for it, but I have always wanted to read it and it was so very pretty, with color plates, etc. All in all, I bought about 10 books and I had to do a bit of fast-talking to get a dealer discount, but I suspect the $60 I spent might be the biggest sale they've had in months. I did, however, find a couple of scarce, cheaply priced flower arranging books that my good florist customer in Georgia will want, and that will probably make up for my weakness. It was hard to believe that anyone could have accumulated that many mostly worthless books in one place.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions