John K. King Used & Rare Bookstore, Detroit MI

What better way to escape the stresses of reality than to lose yourself in a good book. It’s incredible how you can be transformed into a completely different time and culture, enabling you to experience someone else’s life so unlike your own, without leaving your seat. I love to read and always carry my faithful kindle on me for when I get a few spare minutes. I am a self confessed book worm and very proud of it, so visiting the John K. King bookstore was a real treat.

John K. King opened his first store in Dearborn, Michigan in 1971 before he moved to Detroit’s famous theatre building. His collection quickly built up and outgrew the building, prompting a final move in 1983 to the abandoned Advance Glove factory.

The building itself is very impressive, let alone the treasures that it holds. John’s collection sprawls over four floors and contains over one million books.

When we arrived, John gestured us into the car park and pointed at a free space. Annoyingly, I didn’t know this was him until I watched his interview on YouTube and now I’m kicking myself I didn’t get a photo with him!

Our entrance to the building was loudly announced by the creaking of the floorboards. Although there is a hush upon this store similar to that of a library, its very difficult to walk around quietly without squeaking.

When we ventured upstairs I was immediately shocked at how far back the store went. I knew it was a big building but seeing the shelves upon shelves of books really blew me away.

Calendar from 1953
Well now I’m thinking about it!

We explored the store carefully and quietly, both searching but unsure for what. Every now and then a book would grab our attention and we would have a flick through and sometimes have a little giggle. This was definitely the case with this one.

This store reminded me a lot of The Shakespeare and Co. in Paris that my sister and I visited in 2019. Of course the collection is no where near as large as this one!

Part of the stores charm is that the majority of the signs are hand written and all lights are pull switches. I walked into at least seven of these. I would love to say I’m exaggerating there, but unfortunately I’m not.

“Adult” section (immature giggling)

There’s something magical about a bookstore. With shelves full of adventures, lessons and experiences there’s something for everyone. To lose yourself in a piece of writing whether it’s a book, a poem, a paragraph or maybe even this little blog you’re reading now, it’s something truly extraordinary.

As always, thank you for reading!


  1. From this post, I learned that I was born on a Saturday. What a great find! If there’s anything better than a used book store, I can’t think what it is, unless it’s a used book store with a coffee bar that allows dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just got through reading the 4 books written by Shaun Bythell, about his second hand bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland. He has a dark humor and yet reveals a very kind and generous side and he lists daily diary entries about customers, books, authors, history of book binding, the struggles of earning a living as a second hand bookseller, etc. He has an interesting FB page, too….THE BOOKSHOP. As much as you like different humor and bookstores, I think you’d enjoy the books.

    Liked by 1 person

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