The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Bookdealer

Arnold Herr’s Screamingly Funny New Book Chronicles His Years Working at Cosmopolitan Bookshop in Hollywood

by Paul Hunt


Arnold worked for years at the old Cosmopolitan Book Shop in Hollywood, owned by one of the oddest, most eccentric individuals in the history of the galaxy, Mr. Eli Goodman. I also worked at Cosmo, but only part time the last two years of its existence, until its demise a couple years ago.  But Arnold was there for around 20 years when Eli was personally running the biblio madhouse, and luckily for us, he kept his head down and his notebook handy. He originally wrote about the goings on at Cosmo  using a pseudonym for Eli.  His articles were published in the ABAA newsletter, later on, Stephen Gertz’s and finally gathered together with new chapters, Arnold’s own illustrations, and a whole lot more funny stuff.

Arnold and I have both owned our own shops.  I knew Eli for many years before I worked there. I heard a lot of the stories first-hand as they were happening, and saw some flashing moments pass by at the speed of light.  Eli, although a complete eccentric, was also a brilliant man.  He had a great memory, was as well read as any university professor of literature, and was a kind man, although he didn’t suffer fools. Well, once in a while just to break the monotony.  He had the longest run of any of the individual Los Angeles bookstore owners, in great part because he had an inner toughness due to his growing up under difficult circumstances and living in the shadow of the Great Depression. You can glean some more about Eli, with some photos elsewhere on this website.

Eli Wallowing in Books. Photo by Paul Hunt

Eli Wallowing in Books. Just as I snapped this, Eli, almost dozing, jerked alive, blurring the photo, due to a customer pointing out a pile of cash laying on the counter. Photo by Paul Hunt

If you’ve ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes in a creaky, dusty bookshop crammed to the rafters with books, and run by Los Angeles’ number one champion tightwad, catering to an assortment of university professors, literary high steppers, book collectors, and the sweepings of Hollywood crackpots, then here it is.  Arnold’s story is bold, screamingly hilarious.  His pen pops with laughter.  If you don’t get the hoot of your life reading this, then please check into the morgue immediately, ’cause you’re part of the walking dead.

You can order this book from the publisher, Poltroon Press (click here to order)