A Total Used Bookstore Geek



Yes, I admit it wholeheartedly! I am a used book geek. I throw in used bookstore because well, I own a used bookstore (duh!) so actually does that make me a double-geek? I don’t care. That’s who I am and proud of it!

So, I have become a maniac for stickers on book jackets. I came across one book – ugh! I can’t remember which one! – and I saw the sticker “Shakespeare & Co. ” What? Really? Seriously? I adore/admire/envious/etc., etc.  of Sylvia Beach, the woman behind Shakespeare & Company. The first and real one. Of course the sticker I found isn’t from her era but still, it is from Paris (assuming).

I downloaded the above photo from the Internet many years ago and have it stuck to the wall above my desk here at the store -where I’m sitting right now- and I attached the sticker to it. (see above.) So cool. It makes me happy.

Someday…I’ll make it to Paris. And London. And Hay-On-Wye…And…

[Used] Books vs E-books

Right off, my comparison is going to be a lot different than you are probably use to. As a seller of used books I’m not frightened of e-readers. Not at all. Why you ask? Well, let’s look at the differences.

When you think of used books you might think of an image such as:
Or what about this:Or:
Books – physical books – stir emotions. Create anticipation. Discovery. As well as artistic backdrops. The smell, possible notations from previous owner(s), mementos tuck in between pages. Even serve as a diary. A diary of remembrance. A pile of books. Enjoyable to look at. Am I not right? Of course I am!

Here’s a couple of e-book (Kindle) images my daughter took. I told her to think artistically.

(What is she reading???)

And to be fair, one more:

See what I mean? And of course, real books are better to read. Maybe heavier but so much more personality. I know I’m right.  And to be fair to my daughter, she has piles of books around. Piles! I don’t know why she has a Kindle but I don’t judge.

And besides, you’ll never see this with any e-books – an aisle full of them.



And Starring….Otter Creek Used Books

Yes, books from the store will be starring in Middlebury College “J” term’s production of INTO THE WOODS. How much fun is that? A lot of fun!

Ok, there will be college actors and all that but seriously it’s all about the books, isn’t it?

Doug Anderson, Executive Director of Town Hall Theater here in Middlebury is the stage director and has done a “J” term musical production for a number of years.  His vision for this year’s set was a library. And well, you know what a library consists of. So he contacted me to see if it was possible to supply him with a great number of books. Of course! I don’t know how many boxes went out of the store but a lot. Now I’m itching to see the set. But I’m going to be a good audience. Yes, I could have slipped in but I want to experience the whole theatrical effect – lights, audience, smell.  The whole theater experience.

Here’s a photo of some of the students loading up one of the cars:

And to give you an idea of what the set will look like here is a mock-up of one scene:

Took my breathe away! The trees – apple ladders – with their leaves of book pages.  (Note: all pages were from books falling apart.) And see all the bookshelves? It blew my mind to see this and made me so jealous that I never thought of such a set.  I know, I’m such a nerd! But tonight I will be a happy nerd and a proud used bookseller seeing my books under the lights.

Resolution Time!

I generally don’t make resolutions but I decided this year I would and publicly announce them. I should clarify, store related. Personally I don’t make any. I’m not even going to put myself in that position. Store related is different. Its professional. It is all about the store and being a good used bookstore lady and representative of the industry. An industry I believe in and one that I feel has a strong future. Seriously now, do you believe that e-books will totally replace books? I don’t. Even if I didn’t own a used bookstore I’d feel that way. Anyways, before I lose track of this post…

Resolutions.  What kind of resolution would a used bookstore want to make? Post more books online, is one thing. Make a conscious effort in blogging and better represent the books that enter the store. Feature them. Write about them. Maybe work towards creating an inventory of the books? And how about this one…read. Yes, read. I’m giving myself permission to read when the store is open. Well, that’s craziness, you are probably thinking. You think I read all the time. No. I don’t. Actually there is a lot of work to do in a used bookstore. It can be what you want to make of it. I chose to be – or try – to be on top of the incoming books. By now you know that I don’t like boxes of books lying around. Especially me. So I try to go through them quickly to SPS (sort, price, shelve). But lately I’m finding myself not so intense about them. Am I getting lax? Maybe so. Or maybe I’m starting to feel more comfortable with the store and relaxing some. Something to ponder, if one so chooses.

There might be more to the list but for someone who doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions I think that it’s a lot. So with that…here’s to an awesome 2013!


Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes Under Glass

Great A, little a,
Bouncing B;
The cat’s in the cupboard,
And she can’t see.

I thought I would feature these nursery book pages that are hanging around the store.

The book came in with a moldy cover but fortunately the pages were still okay. Phew! I rescued them and have some posted around the store as well as two pages framed. What is interesting about the frames is that they are reversible! What?! Yes, each page features a rhyme on each side so how could one side be covered up? If you get tired of one side just flip the frame to the other side and admire the other rhyme for a while.

Here is an example of the front of the frame:

And here is the back of the frame which is also under glass:

How clever, huh? Framing was done by Nancy of Artemis Framing, who also is the Marble Works gardener. The pages are sold separately or if interested, Nancy can mount and frame for you. Nancy is so talented!

Stop in and check them out.

VABA 2012 Spring Book Fair – An Otterly Amazing Show

2012 Spring VABA Book Fair

Otter Creek Used Books booth









I did it! My thoughts and plans came together and above shows my booth at the recent VT Antiquarian Book & Ephemera Fair – the Spring show – over the past weekend – Sunday, March 25 – in Burlington.

I admit that I fretted about the booth – design to picking out books – and I feel I did an okay job. I liked how the booth came out and I think I picked out a range of books that highlights my store. I did some sales which relieved me because I just didn’t want to face a day of no sales. I got to talk to people as they poked around my books and other exhibitors which was the best part as well as to see what they brought (And their pricing, too. I was excited because I felt I was pretty on target with mine). SO, all my struggles paid off and I made it through and gained confidence. Now…when is the next one? Oh yes, August in Brattleboro, VT. More on that later. And yep! I’m going to be there!















2012 VABA Book Fair Angst

I finally agreed to participate in the upcoming Vermont Antiquarian Book Fair. Great but I’m kinda worried about what books to bring.  I started pulling books off shelves and filling up boxes then started seconding guessing myself. I put them all back. I shouldn’t fret so but I do. And I think, why did I agree to do this? I admit I did so under pressure from the VT Bricks & Mortar Society and my fellow used bookstore friend in CA. They all gave convincing reasons why. Okay, they really didn’t have to twist my arm. Very much. It is good publicity. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to stress out about it.

I admit it does sound like fun. And the thought of being on the other side of the table  is intriguing. You see, I use to go as a shopper and admirer and would enter each booth in pure anticipation.  And I would always splurge on one book at the event. Like a lot of money. And would leave with a small pile plus that special book. Actually if you want to know the truth, and know I’m rolling my eyes as I type this, we were one of the first ones – or tried to be – to enter the fair. Seriously. We would stand in line at least one hour beforehand. Nerds.

I don’t have table-top bookcases. That’s the other thing I’m worried about. How to display.  Rusty said he would make some bookcases to my specifications and earlier today I was trying to decide: do I paint them blue – to stand out, of course – or leave them natural. Unpainted for that a dignified look. Or painted white/off white to highlight the books. Well, doing it as me won out. So I’m going to paint them blue. Or maybe lime green. Or what about the red I also have on hand? Ugh!

See what I mean? So many decisions: what books to bring, how to display, what color bookcases, doilies yes or no, bookends, what else? One week count down. I’ll post pictures. In the meantime, I’ll work to get my act together. I know it’ll all work out. And it’ll be great.