This summer I’ve had numerous customers from Great Britain step through my doors. They all speak of how it is getting harder to find used bookstores in their country. Stores are closing their doors due to availability of buying on the internet. That makes them sad. Harder for them to find a store they can wander in to admire older books, pick them up, hold them, smell them, turn the pages, and most of all, to connect with the book before purchase. What a jewel of a shop I have, they say. I must do all I can to keep the store alive. I tell them I try. I try very hard to keep it going. To keep it viable. To keep it fresh. To keep it alive. To keep it. (p.s. it’s off the market!)
I’d like to think that I’ve kept my enthusiasm up since purchasing the store. I’d like to think that I’ve changed the store around to offer quality used books. Interesting books. Books that appeal to many of my customers. Finding books that one would be excited to discover on a shelf. Old books with amazing covers to unique books that one just doesn’t run into everyday. Classics.
I admit that I get claustrophobic. Having a used bookstore may not be the best choice of retail to take on but yet I have. I’m getting better with it. I can deal with the boxes and piles of books that I have to step over. I can make great piles that don’t fall over. That is an art, you know. I know my limits and work to stay within because I’m the one who’s in the store day-after-day. I know some potential customers get irritated with me when I decide to not accept books for purchase or credit. Regular customers get an exception. They keep me in business through their regular purchases. That’s fair. I think so. But then they know. They can walk in and know right away if I’m accepting books or not. I love them for that.
I gotta say that it makes me sad when I take in books and find the telltale Amazon sticker on the backs. I can purchase books that come in for resale but yet the customer doesn’t come in to buy books? Keep the store in business. At least give a used bookstore a call/email to find out if a book is available in our stock. Telling me, as one drops off books for me to inspect, that they want me to stay around by keeping me supplied in books is totally missing the mark. I cannot be here without paying customers.
Right now there is father sitting in a child’s chair reading to his daughter in the children’s room. How precious is that? That makes my heart sing and happy that I can be here so he can have a special moment with her. It’s those things that pushes me to remain open. As well as the regulars and our great conversations from what we are reading to what’s going on with our lives. And of course those from Great Britain.
“I just love the smell of an old book store and the feel of the crisp pages
along my fingertips.” ~Leah Spiegel, Foolish Games