While Xmas shopping in Soho (who, me?!) you can escape the crowds by exiting east over to 255 Centre Street, where you will find a corner, glass-windowed storefront gallery, the relative newcomer, Clic Bookstore and Gallery. If the old-school, straight photography aficianado can see past the bright colors and fashionista book covers by the door, he or she will discover tables with carousels of stacked book piles and a corner bookshelf replete with the rarest-of-the-rare photography books in the finest condition, some signed, and some not, though still worth just as much in some cases. I was surprised to find and be able to gingerly handle signed O. Winston Link books (yes, plural), rare books by the also gone-from-this-world Helen Levitt and Roy deCarava and Richard Avedon, and scarce titles by Emmet Gowin and Stephen Shore. Definitely worth a visit.
While you're downtown, stop by Dashwood Books at 33 Bond St. to complete your photobook fix. It's not really a replacement for Mercer Street's classic A Photographer's Place, but rather an early 21st Century vision of the current world order in photography. When I was there, the phone was ringing off the hook - a good sign for an independent bookstore. You won't find Robert Adams's classic, "Why People Photograph", but you will find Richard Prince's new book of writings. Both exist in the world, just not under one roof.