There’s no place like here: Brazenhead Books

A short movie about a secret second-hand bookshop and its determined owner.

Sometimes true passion cannot be tempered by such mundane practical concerns as logic and reason, as this short movie produced by Etsy shows.

Michael Seidenberg began his journey as a book dealer in much the same way as everyone else – a commercial location, selling at book fairs and trading on the street to make ends meet. The problem is that used books just aren’t as profitable or popular as they once were. He was forced to close his doors after sales lagged..

If you’re out to make money, says Seidenberg, there’s better things to sell. “You should sell crack, that’s a much better business,” he quips.

So he came up with the idea of opening his bookshop, called Brazenhead, on the sly. At first the idea seemed counterintuitive, particularly in the age of mass-media exposure.

But he began to see its potential. “I wouldn’t have thought that I would want to have a bookshop in a location that no-one knows about, but once I did it, it just seemed more real than anything else.”

Seidenberg opened the store illegally, in a residential area without a business permit. He pays a lower rent and is able to survive without Brazenhead being “a successful business”.

While the store hides in plain sight, it’s not too hard to track down. Seidenberg is known among book-lovers and he’s listed in the phonebook. Not that anyone uses those ancient tomes anymore – he points out ironically that all our technology sometimes only serves to separate us.

“Come find me and visit me, and I’m yours,” he concludes. We can’t help but wonder if this short film has blown Branzenhead’s cover as it is currently facing eviction