Jake Reiss III

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Jake Reiss III (born c. 1935 in Mobile) is a former tailor and owner of the Alabama Booksmith.

Reiss grew up helping with the family business, a tailoring shop founded by his grandfather, Jake Reiss, in 1899. He opened his own tailoring business in Mobile and specialized in designing and making suits for professional football players. He moved to Birmingham in 1971 and opened J. Reiss Custom Clothier in the newly-built Kahler Plaza Hotel soon later. The shop is now run by his son, Jake Reiss IV.

Beginning in 1989 Reiss, with help from his son, Frank, began gathering books from garage sales and opened the Highland Booksmith used book shop in the Highland Towers apartment building in September 1990. After hosting a sequence of successful book-signings he re-engineered the store as an outlet specializing in first editions and moved the business to Homewood. His establishment has earned praise from numerous important regional authors and hosts scores of book signings each year.


  • Carlton, Bob (December 13, 2009) "Jake Reiss discovered his passion and became The Booksmith." Birmingham News