Tom Verlaine's Collection of 50,000 Books to Be Sold at New York City Garage Sales

Two booksellers have come together to re-disperse the singer-songwriter's library "to the readers and dealers of his city"

Photo: Steve Louie

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Aug 24, 2023

At the beginning of the year, the music world was shaken by the death of Television mastermind Tom Verlaine. He left behind a storied legacy, put into words far more exquisite than my own by his longtime confidant Patti Smith, as well as an enormous collection of books — which is now set to be sold in a series of New York City garage sales.

Starting this weekend, the singer-songwriter's personal library of no less than 50,000 will begin to be re-dispersed "to the readers and dealers of his city," as per an announcement from Better Read Than Dead and Capitol Books, who have teamed up to move the "mountainous" collection.

"Like many NYC booksellers, we knew Tom from the dollar carts at the Strand — always courteous, friendly, and fastidious in his ritual book hunting," they wrote in an Instagram post. "His taste and scope were all his own, and he would gladly hand over titles he thought others could use, just as he would graciously accept finds that other eyes scouted for him."

Better Read Than Dead hosts a monthly garage sale at 539 Greene Avenue, and for the first one featuring titles from Verlaine's collection, they've rented out another neighbouring garage, as well as doubled their hours and staffing to accommodate the volume of books. 

"Prices will be LOW and discounts HEAVY for those looking to wheel away books by the box," they said, adding that August 26 and 27 (from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) would be the first of many opportunities to get your hands on literature from the library of Tom Verlaine. "There will be much more of this collection to follow, and hopefully Tom's books will populate many of our fellow bookstores' shelves as well as ours soon."

See the announcement from the booksellers below.

A post shared by @better_read_than_dead_bk


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