I am currently listening to this story right now and I loved the description of this book shop, so much so that I had to order the book from the library copy it out.
I sidled through the doorway. It was necessary to sidle, since precariously arranged books impinged more and more every day on the passageway from the street. Inside, it was clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down. The distance between bookshelves was so narrow that you could only get along with great difficulty. There were piles of books perched on every shelf or table. On a stool in a corner, hemmed in by books, was an old man in a pork-pie hat with a large flat face like a stuffed fish. He had the air of one who has given up an unequal struggle. He had attempted to master the books, but the books had obviously succeeded in mastering him. He was a kind of King Canute of the book world, retreating before the advancing book tide. If he ordered it to retreat, it would have been with the sure and hopeless certainty that it would not do so.(99-100)
I had to laugh at how fitting this passage was for me right now. I am the bookstore manager for a local Friend's of the Library Bookstore and I get the privilege of weeding through and pricing the donated books for our bookstore. The end of December and January are big donation times and my donation piles right now are precariously arranged and look like they are breeding and multiplying and yes, I feel a little like King Canute.
This is an old picture, but my current pile looks just about as bad.