Their home is Comme Des Garcons’ London superstore, Dover Street Market, and their trade is buying and selling some of the rarest, most desirable cult books in history. Who are they? IDEA Books. IDEA are Angela, David and Sandra, who spend their lives trawling the world (online and real) for rare, sometimes dog-eared publications that hoarders like me totally drool over; be it books on French style full of photos of a young Jane Birkin, old American high school films, rare catalogues from the screenings of films such as The Virgin Suicides or Over The Edge (two of my personal favourites) or even just image-heavy magazines and tomes that suggest a more bohemian way to live your life. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been presented with an online shop that has made me feel nervous with competition at the prospect of someone else owning the products rather than me.
IDEA Books are true, modern day treasures – and are all for sale on their online store and in Dover Street Market. Turns out the guys behind this shop are nearly as elusive as their strange profession, which is actually quite charming. Here’s a somewhat reticent Angela on what the mysterious IDEA Books aims to do, and how they do it…
There’s a lot of cool books out there – what makes you know it’s a total gem?
Just an immediate feeling that it is right, that it has a really strong appeal to a lot of people either because it is aspirational or funny or just very, very beautiful.
You mainly focus on old books – is new publishing not really doing it for you?
Yes we have published one book (fanzine) so far and are working on at least another two at the moment!
You must get asked this all the time – but how do you hunt for the books?
Absolutely everywhere; the net, shops, we buy personal libraries that are offered to us, in auction, we travel… Just anywhere and everywhere!
What’s the best one you’ve ever found, and how did you find it?
An unbelievable book about an Ibiza club – with an unbelievable title; Ku, Kiss Me Darling; I had already found a great Ibiza book in Amsterdam and came back looking for Ibiza items on the net and found this one but bought it without seeing an image of it – when it arrived it was awesome.
What’s the demand like for your books?
High! Everyone seems to relate to some strand of our images, whether it is beauty or humour or a sense of calm. In some of the interiors books we sell; the hippie, “idealised” life images are always the most popular – the Utopian dream…
How did you end up being part of Dover Street Market?
We were recommended by Sarah Lerfel who owns Colette.
Have you had any interesting customers?
Yes very, very many! We are also very discreet!
If there was to be a book about IDEA books, who would you want to design it?