There are book lovers whose lifetime dream is to own a first edition of their favorite author’s book. Others have very little money to afford new books, therefore forage through used books on the streets or bookstores for a feel of paper as they peruse through a fantastic work of fiction or non-fiction. Such individuals frequent their favourite holes to window shop and buy desires of their hearts. In South Africa, Collectors Treasury boasts of over 2 million books and half a million vinyl.
The shop in Johannesburg occupies an eight-story building on 244 Commissioner Street. Run by brothers; Jonathan and Geof Klass, the store has been in existence since around 1975. Though the store may look like a confused lot of books and memorabilia, the arrangement is intricate that only the brothers can tell you exactly where what you are looking for is, unless it has been moved by unwitting patron.
The fifth floor for instance, houses vinyl collections, on these floor vinyl digger will be exposed to half a million LPs which of late have been making a resounding comeback. Just this year, Kenyan artist Maia Von Lekow released her album on Vinyl and Rega a turntable producing company produced a limited edition Turntable to celebrate the 11th Record Store Day- celebrated on 21st April.
If your intentions are to get the most sought after first edition of your favourite author, chances are the brothers may have it. The bookstore has an entire room filled with first editions. The books however, do not come cheap like the ones you pick on the streets near where you live. The rarer the book, the higher the price- a book may set you back some cool $1000 and this may not be the most expensive book in the store.
Open between 9 a.m and 5 p.m on weekdays and 10 a.m to 1 p.m, the store is refuted to be the largest bookstore in Africa. Besides sales, the brothers are collectors of books. According to OZY, ‘Their biggest purchase ever was a lot of 36,000 books from a deceased’s estate.’
The collectors Treasury has among others maps, ornaments, periodicals and essentially anything that could act as a memorabilia. This imposing posy war infrastructure is a must stop for someone who has an interest in knowing South Africa and immersing themselves in books- especially those that are out of print.
*This story first appeared on Afroway Magazine, Check out the digital issue below