This tiny shop in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama may be the only one of its kind. At the Alabama Booksmith, every single book is a signed copy.
Already famous among a certain breed of book lover for its Signed First Editions Club, wherein members are shipped a signed and carefully curated new release each month, the Alabama Bookstore is located in an unassuming trailer-like structure behind a veterinary clinic. Although it was originally founded as a used and rare bookshop, owner Jacob Reiss soon realized that signed books sold much faster than any other type of item. He adjusted his sales model accordingly, stocking a smaller, methodical inventory of both classics and new releases. “If a book is not important to us, we don’t buy it,” Reis told Brian Barrett, in a 2015 article for Atlas Obscura.
All of the books at the Alabama Booksmith are displayed “front out,” so that visitors can see the full cover while browsing the aisles. And, importantly, all of these books (except for one shelf of rarities) are sold for their normal cover price, even though they may fetch several times that price through a reseller.
From Kazuo Ishiguro to Philip Roth, there’s something to set the heart of every bibliophile racing. Get thee to Birmingham!