Tom Verlaine’s (Television) massive book collection being sold at NYC garage sales

Television frontman and guitarist Tom Verlaine left behind a library of some 50,000 books when he passed away in January. Better Read Than Dead and Capitol Hill Books are teaming up to sell those titles at a series of garage sales, the first of which is happening on August 26-27 from 10 AM-7 PM at 539 Greene Ave in Brooklyn.

“Like many NYC booksellers, we knew Tom from the dollar carts at the Strand — always courteous, friendly, and fastidious in his ritual book hunting,” a message on Better Read Than Dead’s Instagram reads. “His taste and scope were all his own, and he would gladly hand over titles he thought others could use, just as he would graciously accept finds that other eyes scouted for him. In hopefully the same collegial spirit, it is our distinct pleasure to announce the first of many waves of his massive (50,000) book collection being redispersed to the readers and dealers of his city at our monthly garage sale this weekend — and to accommodate the sheer volume, we have doubled our hours, staffing, and space for the occasion — teaming up on the whole affair with @capitolhillbooks and renting our neighboring garage at 541 Greene as an additional sale space for this weekend only. Prices will be LOW and discounts HEAVY for those looking to wheel away books by the box. There will be much more of this collection to follow, and hopefully Tom’s books will populate many of our fellow bookstore’s shelves as well as ours soon — stay tuned for more announcements and events as we whittle away at this mountainous collection.”

Patti Smith paid tribute to Verlaine at her recent show supporting The National at Madison Square Garden, covering Television’s “Guiding Light.” She also wrote an essay in tribute to him, which touched on his love of literature: “Examining each other’s bookcases, we were amazed to find that our books were nearly identical, even those by authors difficult to find. Cossery, Hedayat, Tutuola, Mrabet. We were both independent literary scouts, and we came to share our secret sources.”