21 January 2013 by Kate Els

When bookworms collect

Collectors Treasury reveals books stacked high and low, old and new, sorted loosely into various collections. Books just patiently waiting for their new homes inside an old building wedged under a highway overpass.

Stacked upon stack of books at this secondhand bookstore in Johannesburg.

Jo’burg is fascinating to me. Every weekend I learn more about the city. And the more I learn, the more surprises come my way.

This weekend was a surprise of the best kind: books! Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of books. Books stacked high and low, old and new, sorted loosely into various collections. Books just patiently waiting for their new homes inside an old building wedged under a highway overpass.

This is Collectors Treasury. It’s not glam or sanitised. It is what books are meant to be in their old age: slightly yellowed, a little musty, a tad dusty and stacked in all their glory.

Admittedly, I was completely overwhelmed by the second-hand bookstore located inside the Maboneng Precinct in Jo’burg that’s been there since the early 70s. There are so many books, and so many rooms to hide in, that you’d need literal months to go through them all. But the dam of knowledge stored within the walls of Collectors Treasury is really something to marvel at.

If you enjoy spending time looking through classics, or want to brush up on your capitalist theories in the politics section or just want to find a good murder mystery, this is your place. The books are generally in good condition, the staff friendly, and of course, Maboneng Precinct offers restaurants and shops to delight once you’re done hunting down the perfect novel.

When I asked the managers in passing how they keep control of what’s going on inside a building that could be likened to the literature-type version of Willy Wonka’s factory for books, they both laughed and said in unison “We don’t”.

And for those on the hunt for old vinyls, this is your spot. Boxes and boxes of them line the narrow aisles. Definitely the spot to launch an LP hunt for the musically-inclined and for those that just want to laugh at the dated cover art of the 1980s.

Don’t expect order, or neatly categorised sections when you go. Expect chaos, disarray, wonderment and delight at finding something you haven’t seen since you were younger, then you’ll leave happier than any kid in a chocolate factory!

Collectors Treasury can be found at 244 Commissioner Street. Contact them via email at collect@megaweb.co.za or give them a call on +27 11 334 6556. The store is open between 09:00 and 17:00 Mondays through Fridays and between 10:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays.

Category: Attractions


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