Used bookstore offers more than hidden gems

Called SoHo's best kept secret
December 15, 2010 9:59:25 AM PST
It's called Soho's best kept secret. It is a book cafe that also serves food and drinks and features live music and readings. In fact, many celebrities are customers...and book donors.The best part? One hundred percent of the proceeds help those who need it.

It's located at 126 Crosby Street.

Books are a road map that can lead anywhere and everywhere. And used books? Well, they tell a story all on their own. Especially when you know who turned the pages before you.

"This copy here of 'King Cohn,' about [Harry] Cohen, inscribed to Bette Midler from the author," Adam Blackman said.

The Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo is a favorite of celebrities, with many of their own books appearing on the shelves. We found one from "Rolling Stone" publisher Jan Vernum.

"The book would be exciting on its own, and then you see something like that on the front," Blackman said. "It adds a layer of history to it."

Like a 7th grade English book that once belonged to Gwyneth Paltrow. Not only did she write her name all over it, but she also underlined her favorite short stories.

Another book was used as a prop when "Sex and the City" filmed an episode in the bookstore.

Question: "This actually sold for how much?"
Blackman: "That was at least $300."

And all the money raised goes to help those living with HIV and AIDS. But there's also a curiosity factor for those who work there, like they day they received books from actor Peter Sarsgaard, who appeared in a movie about sex researcher Alfred Kinsey."

"Peter Sarsgaard or someone from his clan came and donated a lot of books, and they were all sex related," Blackman said. "Obviously, he was doing his research."

Celebrity sightings there include Keanu Reeves, Heath Ledger, Parker Posey and Jude Law.

So the next time you walk into a used bookstore, don't forget to peek inside the front cover. You never know what additional story might await.