There is a special place in the realm of bookshops reserved for the occult, the rare, the authentic. The books you always imagined in your mind and wanted to find but never knew actually existed. Anyone well-versed in the world of avant-garde fashion and book publishing will know that when it comes to locating these hard-to-find publications, IDEA Books is the place. Located inside the Comme des Garcons superstore, Dover Street Market in London, IDEA Books remains the destination for anyone interested in printed matter of the most prized kind. This installment of Bookstores Around The World takes us inside the magical world that IDEA Books curates.
How did you find yourself in the business of collecting rare books? When was Idea Books born? What was the need behind it?
IDEA started properly in 2009 with our first pop-up shop in St Martin’s Lane, London. I had always bought books avidly since childhood and it was only because Sara from Colette in Paris expressed an interest in buying some of my books for her store that the company started!
What is your process for finding new publications? Do they find you or do you find them?
We look everywhere and buy books 7 days a week. The books find us and we find them in equal measure - sometimes we just stumble upon one great book and it leads to a long long trail of discovery about one particular photographer or place or era and we buy lots more publications around that theme.
What is the rarest publication you carry — a publication we might not find anywhere else?
At the moment the 1975 Comme des Garçons book….a lot of people don’t realise that Rei Kawakubo started her label in 1969.
What magazine/publication are you most proud of carrying?
Picture Newspaper is very special or anything from the 80s about Ibiza nightlife.
Probably 1970s Snoopy in Italian!
What is the most disturbing book you have come across or carry?
Penelope Slinger is quite disturbing.
What is your current hit?
Anything about Margiela is usually very popular and rare Jil Sander catalogues are great.
How do you think the publishing industry has evolved in the last few years, is there a regain of interest?
I think there is interest at the moment in publishing….of course it has changed in the last few years because of technology and social media etc but change is good - let’s keep moving!
How did you develop a social media strategy that is symbiotic with an otherwise elusive and rare collection?
Instagram is fantastic, totally brilliant. we have customers who are billionaires and customers who are students and everyone in between — Instagram is totally democratic and open; one can take part to whatever degree is desired — just enjoy the images or screen grab them and use them for inspiration or email us and ask to buy the book.
Do people come all over the world to your bookstore?
Yes they do — from everywhere!
Fill in the blank:
Idea Books means inspiration, delight and visual transportation.