Cracked and Spineless Books

· Monday August 4, 2014

Bookshops are either one thing or the other: they sell new books or they do second-hand, whether they’re a dealer in the rare and weird or a trader of romances and the dog-eared. It's a rare beast that combines the two, and Cracked & Spineless Books, in the Imperial Arcade on Collins St, is such a place. The shop itself is a bit like something you’ve read about in a fantasy novel.

Cracked & Spineless is a labour of love from its two bibliophile owners, Richard and Mike, who took on shop, changed its name (it was once the Imperial) and performed a miracle of archaeology by going though all the teetering stacks and digging out literary treasures.

Since the name change, a steady stream of rare and genuinely odd texts have flowed from the shop; their Facebook is worth following just to see all the oddities that have emerged and continue to do so. The shop's mysterious backrooms, filled with unmarked boxes, show no sign of running dry just yet.

Richard has an interest in weird fiction, crime and horror, but really, you could find absolutely anything in there. There's a cabinet of rarities, piles of old Tasmanian books, all manner of bargains and some of the oddest books known to humanity to simply marvel at the very existence of. There's long rows of shelves that feel as if you could get lost amongst — legend has it a couple of people have actually been locked in the shop by a previous owner who forget they were there.