Books & Music

This Tiny Bookstore On Wheels Brings Books To Towns Whose Bookstores Have Closed—And It’s Gorgeous

We wish it would come to our town!

The bookmobile’s arrival at my elementary school always made me tingle in anticipation. What new books would it bring? The idea of piling colorful, mysterious (what new tales are on these pages?!?) books into my arms made me fidget in my second-grade seat until it was finally time to line up and descend the stairs to the bookmobile in the back parking lot. Then, once ensconced in the books lining the trailer’s walls, there was never enough time to browse adequately before our class was shuffled out the door.

I suspect Jean-Jacques Megel-Nuber — who bought a tiny home, loaded it with secondhand books and now drives it around to small villages, many of which have lost their only bookstores — would have been a kindred spirit in my second-grade classroom. Somehow I know he would have been my partner in willfully ignoring the teacher trying to hurry us out the bookmobile’s door.

Megel-Nuber, who lives in France, quit his job as an artistic director in 2015 and hired tiny-home maker La Maison Qui Chemine (which means “the wandering house”) to create a portable library he could live out of as he drove it around Alsace, the region of eastern France he calls home.

Megel-Nuber’s idea was to bring books to small villages in and near Alsace in order to make books both accessible and affordable. He calls the tiny bookstore Au Vrai Chic Littérère, and he pulls it to just about any festival or event or park he’s invited to in the region.