Otter Creek Used Books has been busy. Busy with customers, busy with boxes of used books. Daily. Frankly, so busy that I haven’t even thought of the blog until last night when #3 reminded me he hadn’t seen anything new since April. Wow, how time goes by. And here it is July. Well…
I’ve always felt my priority is to keep the inventory as fresh as I can make it. As soon as a box comes in I try to go through the books and get them up on the shelves. They aren’t going to sell sitting in a box. Or in a storage unit. Confession time! Yes, I have storage units. Isn’t that crazy? I think so. So I’ve stopped. I’ve stopped buying because I just do not want to be one of those crazy used bookstore people who keep buying books and running out of shelving with books all dangerously piled high and storage units have to be rented. So feverishly I work to get those books out of their boxes. Only thing, I can do the work. I can unbox books and shelf them. I can grab a box from storage and empty it fairly quickly but thing is books are not flying out of here fast enough for me. So I’m faced with a dilemma. People – not always customers – come in or call daily ready to sell their books or looking for store credit. Library and church sales are plenty. It tells me there are great sources for books but the outlet for my store is limited. My competition isn’t another used bookstore but the internet. How does one compete with books that are selling for pennies? I can only do what I can do which is offer customer service as no one else can. Smile. Be happy. Friendly. A good listener and that’s not hard because I’ve got some incredible well-read customers. We have some wild conversations. And I love being in the store so that’s easy.
Have quality product. I do my best to scour books to get those that you’d expect to find in a used bookstore. Modern reads to an obscure book. I think I fairly succeed. That means always searching.
I don’t really know how my store is viewed. What the reputation is. Frankly, I don’t worry about it. I enjoy the store. To me, it’s the kind of store I’d want to look around. I wish it was bigger. I just edit the books more so I can offer quality rather than quantity.
So a sale! Yes, that’s correct. Starting Monday, July 11 though Saturday, July 16 we will be having a 50% off books sale! So get in here and help me make some room on the shelves. I’ve got bulging storage units.
To my mind there is nothing so beautiful or so provocative as a secondhand book store…To me it is astonishing and miraculous to think that any one of us can poke among the stalls for something to read overnight–and that this something may be the sum of a lifetime of sweat, tears, and genius that some poor, struggling, blessed fellow expended trying to teach us the truth. – Lionel Barrymore
You see, bookshops are dreams built of wood and paper. They are time travel and escape and knowledge and power. They are, simply put, the best of places. – Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book