“Vagabond” Shop Supplies Isolated Summer Resorts With New Books (Jul, 1929)

This would be great. I live in Portland, Oregon, a city in the grip of food cart mania and home to Powell’s City of Books. It seems like someone here would’ve tried this.

“Vagabond” Shop Supplies Isolated Summer Resorts With New Books

LITERARY needs in fashionable but far distant resorts are provided for by this traveling book shop, shown in the photo below. This movable shop parks in some shady corner of a summer resort where books usually consist of the Bible and a school history of the United States. Its stock comprises popular fiction, classics and rare volumes of all natures.

The shop is equipped with a writing desk and dining table for the driver.

Tin-lined, weather-proofed shelves have been built in the sides of the specially constructed truck body. The hinged panels open. One rises to provide shelter from sun and rain, while the other two drop to form a counter from which to serve customers. The shelves on each side hold 250 volumes and the racks in the rear take care of 500 books.

The shop is owned and operated by Frank Collins, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Its interior has French windows to provide light and ventilation for Mr. Collins’ living quarters. It is also equipped with a radio.

A built-in couch, with a pullman berth above, occupies one side near the front.

  1. Mike says: March 3, 20119:43 am

    Our city had a bookmobile from the public library that drove around, mostly to schools. It was like an RV and all the books were enclosed inside. With the one pictured I still would think during bad weather books would get wet or collect mildew.

  2. Toronto says: March 3, 20119:49 am

    Similarly, when the AWK library retired one of their bookmobiles (which in turn was a retired school bus), a local used bookstore acquired it and used it at the beach one summer. I don’t think it lasted, however.

  3. Tom says: March 3, 20111:32 pm

    Since I still have that old fashioned habit of reading, I wish we still had something like this today. Unfortuntately I guess it would be mostly computer games and DVD’s.

  4. Hirudinea says: March 3, 201111:19 pm

    Today it would have to be an iPad-mobile.

  5. Jari says: March 4, 201111:10 am

    Somehow the word “bookmobile” sounds to me like something out from the sixties BatMan TV-series. And after some surfing, Warrington Perambulating Library sounds quite classy.

  6. Stan says: March 6, 201110:12 pm

    I don’t think this would take off today because it wouldn’t be convenient, how is this better than going to a book store? This worked in those days because he catered to people that didn’t feel confortable with the local transportation and book stores probably woudln’t do well as a shop near the resort so he had no competition. Now more people rent cars when on vacation or drive to their location. Oh yeah, and now everybody rather watch TV than read even on a relaxing vacation.

    I find it more fascinating that this was this guys house, it says he lives in there. I wish they took pictures of how he lived in the upper part.

  7. Patrick Hewitt says: September 17, 201111:59 am

    I am a 60 year old man living in Ireland. I have some knowledge of the book trade.

    I am considering retiring from a government job.

    As someone has suggested on another site, I want to have a business where I have an old vintage van which inside is a small shop, with, books, art books and artists prints, one off hand made items. I want to travel around the country and park the van in places where I can sell my goods, ie in artists quarters and at fairs and markets and festivals.

    Does anyone think that is idea is a runner in 2011.

    As I will have a pension, I will not be under too much pressure to make big profits.

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