Infinite bookstore video

Jeff Vandermeer sez, "My video narrated by a visitor supposedly lost for days, showing just how ridiculously large and multi-faceted the Chamblin Bookmine is. Using stop-gap photos I recreated my path through the bookstore in Borgesian fashion. With incidental music by The Church. In a day and age when most bookstores are dying, this organic behemoth, which changes every day due to the volume of incoming and outgoing books, is still going strong..."

The Chamblin Bookmine: A Bibliophile's Fevre Dream... (Thanks, Jeff!)


  1. House of Leaves references? I need to read that book again. And I’d love to visit that bookstore. I’m not even a bibliophile. I just sort of want to wander.

  2. oh man, that’s a huge book store. I’ve recently been volunteering at my campus library during my empty summer hours. they have an overwhelming number of books to shelve and reshelve now that the semester is over. I’ve been there countless hours these past few weeks, also getting lost among the seemingly endless shelves…
    it’s gotten me to read more too lately (natch). I visited the local used book store a few blocks from my apartment and even asked them if they needed help with anything. the place is pretty small though, compared to the one in the video.

  3. Ah, Chamblin’s!! I used to wander those corridors as a kid. In fact, I still do when I visit my parents, who live just outside of Jacksonville, FL.

    Great bookstore. I never come away empty-handed.

  4. in German Village in Columbus, Ohio, there’s a bookshop, The Book Loft, which isn’t on this scale in size, but manages to be a pretty good maze that the bookbrowser may want to leave a trail of breadcrumbs as they explore….

  5. The annex was added some time ago with no fanfare. I discovered it, some months later, when lost in nonfiction, a land unfamiliar.
    The bookmine. You will leave exhausted.

  6. In George St. Sydney back in the ’70s/’80s there was Gould’s Book Store.

    5 or 6 flights of ramshackle book, comic and [vinyl] record miscellanea.

    Not 5 or 6 floors, mind you, apart from the ground floor there were ascending levels and stairs with every vacant area of wall and ceiling space covered in posters, not so much posters of rock stars or movie posters but more like the visual counterpart of what we now use as computer wallpaper.

    It was the place where I discovered R.Crumb and Frank Zappa.

  7. I live in Jacksonville, FL and have heard of this bookstore and how awesome it is. Though I have never been there. I think I will go there when school lets out next week.

  8. Oddly this looks almost identical inside to the Hay Cinema Bookshop (photos) – this too seems to go on forever…

    …unless they’re actually just two different entrances into the same infinite bookshop…

  9. Agreed. As a native Portland resident, I have to put in a plug for Powell’s “City of Books”. An entire city block, with multiple floors, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. And that fits in a city block only because in the early 90s they removed the Technical books to another half-block (but single floor) building a few blocks away.

  10. I’ve been there! It’s overwhelmingly huge. The aisles are also super tall and narrow, making it feel really claustrophobic. You totally feel like you’re in an underground book cave, which is awesome.

    The only thing I didn’t like was that they had a really weird pricing scheme for used books — it seemed to be based on the list price, and most were 50% off, while some in like-new condition were only 10-20% off.

  11. Chamblin’s is a fantastic bookstore, with an excellent SF selection, and any other genre you can think of. The first time I went there, a few years ago they were in the process of expanding into a second building next door, which it is now connected to.

    One thing they do there is to stack paperbacks sideways, which makes it much easier to read titles -no awkward bending over. I’ve haven’t seen another bookstore do that.

    I grew up a few blocks from where they are, if they had existed back then I’d have paid them for a summer job!


  12. Eh, The Owl’s Nest in Fredericton, NB is better. It’s not as big, but it features a rolling ladder and a cat named Pepper who roams the store.

  13. One simple pleasure in my life is that I live within a mile of Chamblin’s (who’ve also opened up a space downtown for those who weren’t aware.)

    It’s overwhelming at first…but after numerous visits…it’s one of the most comforting, easy-to-find-your-way-around places on God’s green earth.

    No coffee, no snob employees, no carpet and no comfy reading chairs….it’s perfect.

  14. Register my vote for Powell’s. This place would fit inside the ground floor.

    And there are three floors above that.

  15. We get it. Powell’s is better. Thank you Portland. This place is still pretty darn cool.

  16. Yeah, Powell’s always wins the contest for “ridiculously large and multi-faceted” bookstores. Sorry, but true. But praise should be given to any bookstore that thrives, none the less!

  17. Chamblin’s prices are way better than Powells. I left Chamblins with a box of great books. I left Powell’s wondering why used books were so pricey.

  18. That is just awesome; can anyone provide me with the exact adress or url of that place?
    I will fly over the ocean, order a container an remain for at least two weeks in this store. From opening to closing time. I have to be there and I will buy anything my heart ever desired.

  19. #28

    ok FLUFF
    After you land in Jax and get your rental drive south on 95 till you get to I-10west (Exit right)
    move to the left lane exit to Roosevelt (exit left)
    follow Roosevelt till you get to the mall (on left)
    and turn left at the last light before the bridge.
    Immediate right before the bank and there you are.
    I lived in Jax for 40 years and spent many a day wandering chamblins. When they were at hershell john made the book racks moterized so that they rolled vetically and doubled the space per book rack.

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