Antiquarian booksellers are part scholar, part detective and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history. The film takes viewers inside this small but fascinating world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers. Executively produced by actress Parker Posey, the film features interviews with some of the most important dealers in the business, as well as prominent collectors, auctioneers, and writers such as Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Kevin Young and Gay Talese.
Both a loving celebration of book culture and a serious exploration of the future of the printed book, the film also examines new technologies’ impact on the trade, the importance of books as physical objects, the decline of used and rare bookstores, collecting obsessions, and the relentless hunt for the next great find. And perhaps best of all, the film offers a rare glimpse of many unique and remarkable objects, including the most expensive book ever sold - Da Vinci’s “The Codex Leicester”; handwritten Borges’ manuscripts; jeweled bindings; books bound in human flesh; essential early hip-hop zines; accounts of Polar expeditions published with samples of authentic wooly mammoth fur; and many more.