A house is not a home without at least one bookcase full of books. And a trip abroad is not a trip without at least one book being bought.
Here in Jozi, we have the best-kept secret.
The Collector’s Treasury.
A bookshop, a gem that so few people know about!
The Collector’s Treasury is in the inner city, on Commissioner Street, and is the largest second hand bookstore in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s also the one with the most atmosphere, most collector’s items and the most magnificent book smell.
Walking inside is quite a feat. After ringing the bell you make your way up a narrow flight of steps, narrow because books are laying everywhere! It’s a tight squeeze, quite a hairy one, and also one enormous mess.
A mess! But what a delightful one. Eight floors, EIGHT, with stacks and stacks, piles and piles of books. All sizes and all genres.
The owners, two brothers, can usually be found on the second floor, in their ‘office,’ visible only by their mops of hair sticking out from under the chaos. But ask them anything you want. They know their thing, and can help you or point you in the direction of the book that you’re seeking.
I found it overwhelming. I didn’t buy any books but I walked out with an ancient map (their travel section and map collections are unbelievable), and also got permission to come back and go to the sixth floor, where they have a fabulous, but private, collection of musical instruments and vinyl.
You can get to this amazing store on your own, or join a walking tour that includes it. It’s always a stop on Main Street Walks, www.mainstreetwalks.co.za
This is not the only special bookstore in Johannesburg. We also love the teeny owner-run Love Books in Melville, www.lovebooks.co.za, and Exclusive Books, in all the main shopping malls, www.exclusives.co.za.
And of course, your Johannesburg Guest Houses! They all keep a small selection of books in the lounge or the library. Get one out. Read it at dinner…