A Library to Dream Of

“On a cloudy day, when the dim dance of the firelight and the warmth of the sconces are not enough, the books shed their own form of light. By the hundreds, they fill the shelves that stretch across every inch of exposed wall. They rise up to the ceiling, warriors of an impenetrable army, encircling my over-sized armchair and keeping me safe as they whisper their stories softly in my ear.” – Kelseyleigh Reber, If I Resist

“A library of mostly unread books is far more inspiring than a library of books already read. There’s nothing more exciting than finishing a book, and walking over to your shelves to figure out what you’re going to read next.” – Gabe Habash, The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Buying Too Many Books, PWxyz (news blog of Publishers Weekly), February 16, 2012

“How can you be bored? There are so many books to read!” – Liailah Giftry Akita, Pearls of Wisdom: Great Mind

img_0590Those are statements book people can relate to. To own a used bookstore is over the top though. Seriously how can it not be when you are surrounded by books – on the shelves, in boxes, or neatly piled throughout the store? And knowing new inventory comes in just about every day. What titles will be found?  To catch a slight glimpse of the personality of the giver and their library. I was speaking to a dealer a couple of weeks ago and he told me he jumps into new arrivals as soon as they come in. He can’t help himself and doesn’t want to be disciplined to finish a box he’s started. I, on the other hand, glance through the new boxes but make myself go back to the box I’ve been working in before I start another one. Well, most of the time.

What about books leaving the store? Of course it is exciting to sell a book knowing each is heading out on a new adventure. Well, let me tell you I recently had the pleasure – and what a pleasure it was! – to shelf a library for a new house. My eyes got wide when I heard of the request. How much fun was that going to be? Hannah and I didn’t know the woman placing this request but through our conversations we came up with a description of what we thought the owner of such a library would be: a world traveler, open-minded, lover of life, diverse interests but mainly a wonderful, down-to-earth woman. Then we got to scour our shelves and fill boxes that would make an amazing library for such a reader. A broad range of titles, authors, book colors and genre. We had a blast. Once the books were in place we received an invitation to view this library. We were so proud of those books. How good they looked in their new home and they knew it. They were certainly standing tall.  Hannah and I, of course, tucked in a book to represent ourselves in this new library. Hannah’s book was Beatrix Potter – The Complete Tales. My contribution was Parini’s,  The Last Station (of course). And yea, we feel we were accurate in our description of her. 🙂

“I never understood people who don’t have bookshelves.” – George Plimpton

 

The I-Hate-February Sale

FebruaryHere we are again. February.

“Even though February was the shortest month of the year, sometimes it seemed like the longest,” J.D. Robb. And there is, “When God was making the months I think February was a mistake, like a burp. There it was, small, dark, and prickly. It had absolutely no redeeming qualities,” Shannon Wiersbitzky, WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER. And how about from Alice McDermott, “The day and time itself: late afternoon in early February, was there a moment of the year better suited for despair?”

February, February…I just never know what to do with you. So with that there will be 50% sale February 15-27, 2016. I-Hate-February sale.

A side note: a customer called to wish me Happy February. “Just try and make the best of it,” she said. She gets me.

Here Comes A Rollickin’ Good Week

Fun with books!

Here’s Hannah, Grey and me  with piles of our favorite books. Grey seems very intent. Not us. We know it’s going to be a rollickin’ good sale!

Guess what next week is? Give up? It’s SALE WEEK. Monday – Saturday, August 31 through September 5. Yep! All books are…ready for this?…. 50% OFF.  You saw that right. 50% off!  Following my mentor, Ben, let’s have some fun. Get in here and get all your books for 50% off.  That’s one book or boxes of books. All are half off.  All you bring up to the counter are discounted. Yes, all.  Celebrating OCUB being in the Historic MarbleWorks for four years. I know! Hard to believe but yet it feels like we’ve always been here.

“His hands were weak and shaking from carrying far too many books from the bookshop. It was the best feeling.” ― Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 1  [We have lots of bags and boxes.]

 

 

 

Otterly A Used Bookstore

paris3Owning a used bookstore is heaven. But you know that because it can be anything you want it to be. Above all it’s magical. You know that as well.

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!)

IMG_0841I’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.

somedaysI 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.

122012_5I 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.

photo(7)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

 

I’ve been a busy otter…

So busy. In fact, right now and for the past couple of weeks buying back college-related books – textbooks. And getting them packed up and shipped out for the next day. And on top of that helping customers, SPS (sorting, pricing, shelving) new arrivals, keeping the floor swept, filling in holes on the shelves, straightening shelves, and trying, really trying to keep the store tidy. If you’ve been in lately you know the last item hasn’t been happening. But not for trying!

MAW_052015The Middlebury Arts Walk was several weeks ago with the theme of Children. I chose the book  “Little Blue and Little Yellow,” by Leo Lionni, for a StoryWalk. The path of pages led from Printers Alley through the historic Marble Works with the last page at the store’s door. Upon reading the book, children were given a bag of their own Little Blue and Little Yellow, made from homemade playdough (that I and my grandson, Greyson made) to create their own story of the pair. It is a great story about friendships as well as color. And the book sold that night. The pages were photocopied and laminated to preserve the book.

I’m excited about June’s Arts Walk. I’ll be featuring the work from White Dragon Paper. The artist, R. Lawton, hails from Ohio. She is a papermaker as well as a book binder. I’ll tell more about her and show images of her work as the time gets closer. I love handmade paper and I love books!

Must get back to work! Thought I’d just jot a quick note. Especially since a valued customer noted I had lapsed! 🙂

 

 

A Warm Cup of Tea and a Good Used Book = Heaven

SLTeahouse_book_tea

Stone Leaf Tea House in Historic Marble Works

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”  – C.S. Lewis

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” – Bill Watterson, The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book 

“If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her.  – Rosemarie Urquico

“This is what we do. We make tea and read books and watch people die.”  – Megan Crewe, The Way We Fall

stoneleafteahouse

Warming pot of tea

“She sits in her usual ample armchair, with piles of books and unopened magazines around her. She sips cautiously from the mug of weak herb tea which is now her substitute for coffee.  ― Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

“There are few nicer things than sitting up in bed, drinking strong tea, and reading.” – Alan Clark

IMG_1699When you show your receipt from Otter Creek Used Books at Stone Leaf Teahouse you get 10% off a pot of tea. You can’t get any better than that on the winter days we have been having. Enjoy the soothing, relaxing experience of a carefully poured cup of tea from Stone Leaf Teahouse.  You owe it to yourself to take a moment of time to sit with your newly purchased used book. Read, sip and enjoy. Unwind.  I’ll head out to check my mailbox, drop off my mug and on the way back will pick it up and come back to put my feet up and take a moment to read a few pages. Perfect!

“Tea would arrive, the cakes squatting on cushions of cream, toast in a melting shawl of butter, cups agleam and a faint wisp of steam rising from the teapot shawl.”  – Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals [Had to include a quote from one of my favorite books.]

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New Arrival Shelf

Right Around the Corner

2014_ChristmasI’ve been trying to keep up with holes on the shelves with the new arrivals.

The store is open on Sundays throughout the month (11 am-3 pm) and it is a fun time to be in the store. I enjoy Sundays and evening hours the best in here. I guess because I find the store cozier. Sundays are so relaxing and the evening light is magical in here.

Small Business Saturday was great fun. I had a number of people fill out tickets for a $30 in-store certificate. The best part was asking the question, what is your favorite book. Responses were varied with most people saying they don’t have just one and didn’t want to name one without naming them all. My kind of people! Some left the line blank. Here are a few titles given: ATLAS SHRUGGED, THE GLASS CASTLE, THE BOOK THIEF, A MODERN HERBAL, PLANET OF ADVENTURE. The winner of the drawing was Marcia from Ferrisburgh whose favorite book is HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS.

An Otter Merry Christmas!

Two weeks before Christmas. It feels oh so magical with all the fresh snow. And this is turning into a very special Christmas for my family. We welcomed a new grandchild into our family yesterday, 12/10/2014.  Lincoln Thomas. Mother and baby are doing very well. He is a wee one but healthy.

Stag & Doe Night

Merry Middlebury Stag & Doe Night

Notice Anything Different?

ocub_deer

I’m reworking my website. It’s just a perfect time. Like I don’t have anything else to do. Oh, but it’s all good and change is good. Just don’t be surprise if you come back for a visit and the site has changed again. What’s the saying: women have the right to change their mind? Yea, so that. Actually there are so many templates I want to try them all out but for now I’ll use this one.

Back to straightening up shelves, restocking and all that fun stuff.