Interview with proprietor of Hang Fire Books


The Ditmas Park blog has an interview with William Smith, the owner of Hang Fire Books, which deals in used and rare books of the high weirdness trash culture mutant variety.

Hang Fire Books – what is it?

Hang Fire Books is the name of my used and rare bookstore. I generally have between three and five thousand hand-selected titles for sale. I list my books on Amazon, eBay, ABEbooks, Alibris, and elsewhere. I specialize in vintage paperbacks and lurid pulp fiction from the 1940s-60s but I also have a solid selection of art books, vintage children's books and general stock. Though Hang Fire Books is internet-based, I try to use social media (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc) to capture the feel of a quirky corner bookstore. I post about new book acquisitions, scouting adventures, what I'm reading, life in Brooklyn and the like.

Where do you keep your books?

A better question is where DON'T I keep my books. Right now the bathtub and the oven are underutilized.

Any books you've got now that will be particularly hard to part with?

Plenty. I have a signed edition of a Jim Flora children's book (an illustrator best known for his lively Jazz LP covers in the 50s); a first of Charles Willeford's Wild Wives / High Priest of California
; a collection of poetry from "Candy Barr" (America's 1st blue movie star and confidante of Jack Ruby); an 1880s children's book called Johnny Headstrong's Trip to Coney Island
; and on and on. But I try to keep a philosophical attitude towards my books. You can't own anything forever and by placing them in the proper hands, I can keep going out and finding more.