This is what 77,000 books looks like

Joseph's hat next to the centre aisle of his store on St-Hubert.
St-Hubert between Jean-Talon and Villeray never ceases to amaze me. I'm continually coming across stores that I never noticed before. Joseph A.M.I. des livres is one such store. The reason I've probably never seen this one is because, for starters, it appears nearly impossible to get in the door. It would be no exaggeration to say that it is wall-to-wall books.

Last weekend on our way home from the library, my kids and I ran into the owner, Joseph himself, bringing in his sidewalk display. I stuck my head in the door to look around.

"I don't think that I've ever seen so many books in one place before," I said.
"I have 77,000 books in the store, in at least 12 languages," he said proudly. "I even have some books that I'm not even sure what the language is."
"Funny," I said, "I've never seen you open before."
"I'm only open on the weekends," said Joseph.
"And sometimes only on Sundays from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm if my grandchildren come over on Saturday."

I brought my head back outside for some fresh air. As you can imagine, the air was pretty stuffy in Joseph's store. But I had to ask the obvious question, "Why so many books?" I asked.
"It was for my retirement," he said. "I wanted to open a bookstore."

I could see that on the shelves, the books appeared to be in some order. It was the stacks on the floor that seemed to be haphazardly arranged, almost like they'd been put there in a hurry.
"So what does your wife think of your store?" I joked.
"Ah . . ." he said then sticking out his bottom lip, "she thinks it's a waste of money, but she puts up with it because it's my hobby," he said.

I thanked him and headed down the street with my kids. I smiled. His wife is probably just relieved that all those books were not in her basement.

Joseph A.M.I. des livres
7461 St-Hubert
Montreal, QC

Other hood-related posts:
Expozine 2011
Occupons Montréal in Photos
Bixi: 2012 Recap
Churros: The Uruguayan
Who's a Cyclopathe
Neon Icon: Miss Villeray
New Digs and Swedish Thrillers
The Haitian Barber


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