As many of you know, last year my friend Devereaux and I partnered up to buy the historic Faulkner House bookstore here in New Orleans. We had a great first few months, thanks to our incredible staff, Joanne and Peter, and to the stream of visitors to the French Quarter, so many of whom venture down Pirate’s Alley to see us. We’re fortunate to have some longstanding customers who call in their orders, or trust us to choose books for them. But over 95% of our revenue comes from walk-ins, to whom our doors are closed during this quarantine.
Much of the store’s charm is the place itself, an 1837 townhouse where Faulkner himself lived while writing his first novel, Soldier’s Pay. Rosemary and Joe, who founded the bookstore, renovated and furnished the building exquisitely. We’ve never sold online, and don’t have so much as a cash register (although we do accept credit cards!). Like so many of you out there, we’re not quite sure what the future holds. But we’ve got more time than ever to read, and so far the deliveryman comes every day, dropping off new books coming in from our publishers and rare book “scouts,” and leaving with packages bound for our loyal customers.
We don’t have an online inventory to browse, but we’re known for our Southern and great classics, literature and poetry, and especially our rare and first editions. As an experiment, we’re going to start emailing selections to friends. If anything catches your eye, or if you’d like us to suggest something, call or email and we’ll drop it in the mail to you. We also offer gift certificates!
We’re starting with Walker Percy, a favorite Louisiana writer who was dear friends with the store’s former owners; unfortunately he passed away the very year Faulkner House opened. We have hardcover and paperback editions of all of his novels, as well as one of the best collections of rare and first editions around, including signed volumes. We also have a private collection of his photographs, letters, and other memorabilia, such as this 1978 letter to Professor Jay Martin at UC Irvine, alongside a 1950 photograph of Percy and wife Bunt vacationing in Cuba.
Especially these days with so much online and on-demand, owning a book is not just about the reading, it’s about the physical book itself: it’s history and patina. One of my favorite things about our collection is that we have such a range of editions. For example today I pulled out three first edition, first printing Percy novels.
This Moviegoer, with a signed book plate, is priced at $2700. We also have a gorgeous signed first/first Lost in the Cosmos for $100. While not as well known as Percy’s debut novel, his “Last Self Help Book” is a gorgeous edition to any library. And we have an unsigned first/first Second Coming for just $32. It almost makes you wonder why anyone would buy a new one!
But of course there are many reasons to buy new books, and we stock many, including these nice Picador editions of his novels, all priced in the $20 range.
If you’d like to order any of these, or any other books, or if you just want to chat about literature, please call or email us. And follow us on Instagram, where we’re starting to post some of our more interesting editions.
Stay safe out there!