Here is one of my all-time favorite stores anywhere. It never, ever disappoints. First, an admission. I absolutely love books. Not the Kindle e-reader thing but ones printed on paper, and hardbound. I hope it’s not old-fashioned to want to feel their heft, thumb through the pages and even – carefully - peek behind the dust jacket at the actual cover. I admit I’m not a fan of paperbacks but, if absolutely necessary, I have bought a few if the title is one I want real bad and if the publisher never produced it in hardbound. (It’s sick I know but someone out there is shaking their head in psycho-book-ward agreement.) I want to carry them around, put page markers inside each one I'm currently working through in my stacks, unload them everywhere until they are overflowing coffee tables and night stands. Even falling off shelves and taking the place of wooden tables beside comfy reading chairs. (Oh, sorry, I thought that was a table.)
The acquisition of books is an ancient and incurable illness practiced by early Egyptians I think who kept stacking papyrus pages until they had built entire pyramids. Bibliophilia started ions ago but I suffer more from the love of content then I do from just seeing how many I can stuff into our house. Mrs. Tampa DP has a slightly less serious case of the disease but on some subjects, she is a queen of book consumption. You go gourmet chef you! - snapping the whip - read. Read some more!
The worst part about the love of books is that I want to keep them all even though I know it is not healthy. I have gotten somewhat better recently but it’s an ongoing and incurable ailment. I especially love the Old Tampa Book Company because I just know that the owner, David Brown, suffers worse than I do. He had to open an entire book store just to clear out his house. Located at 507 North Tampa Street, in the heart of our downtown business district, Old Tampa Book is my kind of book store. NOTHING new. It seems like he has every title that I care anything about. An awesome selection. His website says he has over 40,000 books and I believe it. I know that whatever your addiction may be, when only a real, honest-to-god store can satisfy it, it takes a place where you know right where to go when you enter the front door. Well here at Old Tampa Book I have left bread crumbs leading me through the maze of rooms and shelves and corners. They carry used, collectibles, rare books, signed first editions and out-of-print fiction and, drum roll please, NON-FICTION. David Brown and his wife Ellen opened the store in 1995. They are two extremely nice people. (And, did I mention they are crazy book people?) I swiped a really good likeness of them off their website. (I hope they don’t mind.)
Books fill every square inch (and centimeter) of the store and cardboard boxes frequently fill what’s left of aisles with newly arrived treasures to be gone through. Ah, I just know that heaven is like that. David is a member of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association (FABA) and the Florida Bibliophile Society. He's certifiably mad about books. Here are some of the subjects you can find in the store and online: Sports Cars and Auto Racing; Florida History and Florida Fiction; Aviation and Space; History; Biography; American History; Politics; Military History; Art; Architecture; and Photography. I think that exhausts my favorite sections. Oh, before I forget, I think he may have a few books on cooking but I’ve never climbed into that section.
They are open Monday through Saturday and always have rolling carts out front that you must pick through every time you visit just in case he’s hidden a gem inside. For a buck or two you must rescue a book and give it a good home. Do visit their website and browse the books in stock. You will not be disappointed. And, if you have any special need or have a book question, Old Tampa Book Company is the place and David Brown is the man. HERE is the website.
Oh, go visit. What could it hurt? You can always use another leather bound end table or two.