Books are like magic windows that reflect the light and darkness from the past. They hold a world of wonder within their covers. Words inside books vibrate with the emotions, feelings, intentions, and thoughts of their authors. We can know of the ancient world and unravel its mysteries through them. Old and rediscovered books contain lost wisdom and hidden secrets on fascinating things such as alchemy and ancient history. One can dream of discovering lost manuscripts and centuries-old maps to hidden treasures and places far away. These items allow us to travel to any location or time of our choosing without stepping inside a time machine.
My childlike imagination can think of getting lost in a library filled with countless stories, like that in Beauty in the Beast. Well, in this case, fairytales do come true! The Old Florida Book Shop is so whimsical that it is hard to believe it exists right here in South Florida! They have over 40,000 book titles, as well as countless old magazines and ancient maps and atlases!
I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing William Chrisant, the owner and founder of The Old Florida Book Shop. After a few moments of chatting, I realized that I was speaking to a real-life “Robert Langdon” of sorts (the all knowing professor and protagonist in Dan Brown’s novels). This man is an authority on ancient history and evaluates all books he comes across with an expert eye.
It is incredible to fathom the historian and bibliopole examined the value of all of the items in his shop. Yes, he appraised every single book out of the thousands of books his store carries. It is unbelievable how one man can hold such knowledge. Despite his intelligence and expertise, he exhibited great humility and kindness without the slightest hint of snobbery. William Chrisant is someone you would want as a “phone a friend” if you ever competed on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
William Chrisant views collecting books as embarking on a frontier. He views finding books, equivalent to an archeological discovery. In the Middle Ages and earlier, manuscripts were written by hand. The printing press had not yet changed the course of history until its invention in 1450. Before 1450, a common practice would be to take manuscripts and the codex apart from one book and place them in another.
William explained that you could find a book from the 1300s, but its contents could contain ancient knowledge and manuscripts from ancient philosophers such as Aristotle or Plato. Medieval books are often a conglomerate of different Ancient manuscripts put together. Finding old books is truly an adventure.
The Old Florida Book Shop has items from all over the world! This store holds books from Africa to the Orient. Some of the subjects of books the store carries include American History, Astrology, Buddhism, Civil War, Egypt, Folklore, Christian and Judaica books, original manuscripts, books on medicine, Native American literature, Shakespeare, and much more! They also carry ephemera, such as old magazines that are no longer in circulation, and they have globes, maps, and atlases from antiquity to the modern age. You can browse their catalog online by visiting The Old Florida Bookshop website.
The Old Florida Book Shop is always looking to expand its ever-growing collection. They purchase individual books and entire libraries, as well as older maps and magazines.
Items do not necessarily need to be in good condition. Although the value of books depends a lot on condition, other factors as well will be considered. “Condition is to books is like location to real estate”, William Chrisant explained. A book’s condition improved more in modern literature since the invention of dust jackets. Find out more information about buying and selling items at The Old Florida Book Shop by clicking here.
Prices at The Old Florida Book Shop range from $1 to thousands of dollars! If you want to view their most expensive items, you can view those in glass cases. They also hold a great deal of their business online. You can view their extensive catalog by visiting https://www.oldfloridabookshop.com/.
The store is easily accessible to everyone, from book lovers to experienced collectors. The local cultural gem is also a perfect and unique place to hold a special event. People have gotten married there, and they are a popular location for photoshoots, such as graduation pictures. For inquiries on how to hold an event at The Old Florida Book Shop, just call or email them (contact info at the end of the article).
The book trade has not slowed down one bit, even with the advent of digital reading. William Chrisant explained the book trade has evolved and changed dramatically over the last 40 years. Customers and collectors come of all ages and genders. Becoming a book collector is not about joining an elitist club, and the world of book-collecting is hip, fresh, and vibrant. I asked William if he had any advice for book-lovers and future collectors alike. He felicitously responded, “Collect what you want and what you love.”
I encourage everyone to visit The Old Florida Book Shop because it’s a cultural gem in our community. It is like stepping into a magical world that holds the secrets of the ancient and modern world inside.
The books come from countries all over the globe, and the oldest item they have is actually from the Dionysian Era (c. 5-6th Century AD). William Chrisant is an expert on ancient history. You can feel his enthusiasm for history when you step inside this living time capsule. The bookstore even has Cuneiform Tablets from about 2500 BC, that is about as ancient as it gets! Check out The Old Florida Book Shop, and discover something new on every visit!
The Old Florida Book Shop
3426 Griffin Rd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312
Check them out on social media platforms!
Follow them on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/oldfloridabookshop/ and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/oldfloridabookshop.
Megan Rebecca is a classical pianist, singer, composer, writer and music promoter. She holds a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Piano Performance. As a performer, Megan has played at many local venues and theaters as both a classical and contemporary performer. She has performed at clubs such as the Open Stage Club in Coral Gables, Jazid in South Beach, and has given recitals at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
Megan Rebecca is active in the music community as a performer and arts activist and has published articles on music, education and travel. She has also published a thesis comparing and contrasting the music of Disney and Japanese anime.