And Now Here is April

businesscards_ashtrayGreat news! I now have the ability to sell gift cards through Square on the OCUB Facebook page. Check it out, if so inclined.

Honestly, it has been quite a time for me and the store. I ended 2019 on a strong note with January and February equally strong. I was in the process of readdressing my marketing plan to prepare for an uncertain summer due to the upcoming Main Street construction. I took my books offline to reevaluate what I was offering. I purchased several collections to recharge the shelves. And then BAM! everything was turned upside down and I feel like I got caught unprepared for what was to come.  Fortunately I know I wasn’t alone but I have to come up with another plan.

You see, when I purchased the store I had to turn everything around – the physical space, the inventory, the reputation. It was a process that, at the time, was exciting because I knew there was only one direction to go in and that was up. I worked an extra year at my employment to carry the lack of business that store was experiencing. Then I took a huge leap of faith to leave that job and devote my time fully to the store. It took five years but I got there. The store became financially sound. Then I had to look at the future of the location the store was in. I knew from my previous employment that the building was going to eventually come down. And I knew the condition of the train overpass next to the store was in a bad way. The state could condemn it at anytime and that would obviously affect my business. So I decided to be proactive and started contacting landlords of spaces currently available in town. That led me to here, the historic MarbleWorks. That also meant I had to once again put my nose to the grindstone and work to get my business back. I almost didn’t make it but I did. So that was twice I had to turn the business around. 

Now I am faced with the very possibility of turning the store around for the third time. Frankly, I don’t know if I have it within me. When we were told to close I stayed away for a few days. Then I would come in to check the mail and the answering machine but I would leave because I just couldn’t deal with whatever was going on with the world. Here it is April 7 and I’m trying my best to address things I’ve wanted to do but couldn’t seem to get to it – change displays, go through shelves with a better eye and weed, clean, and other used bookstore chores. I’m trying to not be discouraged. All I can say is that once we are given the okay to reopen I will have one hell of a sale to try to keep the store going. But honestly, I am going be realistic.

For now, I wish all well. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone real soon.

“To wish to be well is a part of becoming well.” – Seneca

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“Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?” – Lord Alfred Tennyson

And now it’s March!

2020vaba_fair“Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has been frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.” – Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye

In this case it was February. And now it’s March.  A big sigh of relief. Thanks to all who stopped by to check out the I Hate February Sale. It proved once a gain to be a lot of fun.

March brings changes to the store. Hannah will now only work Mondays and every other Saturday. She has taken a position at Oxford Company in Cornwall. I’ll miss her and our routine but I’m very happy for her. She’ll now be surrounded with art and the ability to put her college degree to good work. I’ll be in the store Tuesday-Friday with every other Saturday off. Monday’s I still have charge of my grandsons.

Also March presents me with some down time. I’ll be getting away the week of March 23-27. The ocean calls me. Fried clams and the most delicious clam linguine on the planet. I’ve already started my pile of books to bring. Have my coffee houses picked out to put my feet up in and hunker down with a juicy novel. And Thursday evening of that week, author Erik Larson will be speaking of his new release, “The Splendid and the Vile”. Very excited to hear him and to dig into the book as I’m currently reading, “In the Garden of Beasts”.

On the last Sunday of March the Vermont Book, Posters & Ephemera Fair will be held in Burlington at the Hilton Burlington on Battery Street. This fair is sponsored by the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association (VABA) and is the 27th annual. The hours are 10-4 and it is free! I will be there this year as well as many of my used bookstore friends and mentors. For nothing else, it will be great to hang out with them. And to check out their tables and shelves. It’s always a great time!

One more March thing. Look for some store happenings on the 13th. I have owned OCUB for thirteen years and the on the 13th of each month I will host some kind of surprise. Or a sale. Maybe even both! Watch for an announcement on Facebook.

“My father was often impatient during March, waiting for winter to end, the cold to ease, the sun to reappear. March was an unpredictable month, when it was never clear what might happen. Warm days raised hopes until ice and grey skies shut over the town again.” – Tracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earring

 
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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.

Upcoming Holiday Season – Thanksgiving and Christmas to New Year’s

Here it is the middle of November! Next week Thanksgiving. Hard to believe. Seems like the year is whizzing by.
2014_ChristmasI thought I’d post my holiday schedule. I will be closed Thanksgiving Day. My daughter and son-in-law will be cooking up the feast this year. So this used bookstore lady will be putting her feet up with grandsons crawling all over her. I will offer to help clean up but I know they’ll shoo me out of the kitchen so I’ll play with the 3 1/2 year old and 11 month old some more. When I return home I know I’ll be so worn out I’ll have to put my feet up again but this time sit with a cup of tea and a good read and enjoy quiet time.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving marks nine years that I’ve owned the store. 9 years! So that day I’ll be hosting a 50% off sale. I know! An exciting day all the way around.  Buying books is what keeps the store alive. It’s also Small Business Saturday which the store is participating in. Free SMS cloth bags to the first ten shoppers.

Starting Sunday, November 29 the store will be open 11-3 pm and will be open each Sunday through December with those same hours. Obviously I will be closed on Christmas Day as well as New Year’s Day. Christmas and New Year’s Eve I will close around 3pm or last customer.

For 2016 I am going to try something I haven’t tried before. I am going to be closed on Mondays, January-March. I’m doing that for the all important “me” time. I have worked six days a week for the past nine years.  During foliage and over the Christmas holidays I work a full week. I’m going to cherish having two days off in a row for those months. Just think of all the mischief I can get myself in.

If you have been in lately you have seen full boxes coming in and empty boxes going to recycling. It’s been craziness in here. A good crazy. New used books getting shelved every day. My five-day vacation yielded a number of books that have already made their way up on the shelves – history, farming, Vermontica and then some.

DSC_0003Here’s OCUB holiday calendar:

  • Nov 26 – Thanksgiving, closed
  • Nov 28 – 50% off 9 Year Anniversary Sale & Small Business Saturday
  • Nov 29 – Open 11-2pm and each Sunday throughout December
  • Dec 10 – Stag & Doe Night . Open until 8 pm
  • Dec 24 – Open 10-3pm or last customer
  • Dec 25 – Christmas Day closed. Merry Christmas!
  • Dec 31 – Open 10-3pm or last customer
  • Jan 1 – New Year’s Day closed
  • Jan 4 – closed and closed each Monday through March 28

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N…for a few days

“- “Women should all move to Amazonia, or at least vacation there four times a year.”
– “Amazonia?”
– “It’s the girl world in my head, where I go when I’m annoyed with Carter, or just men in general. There are five shoe stores per capita, nothing has any calories, and all the books and movies end happy ever after.”
– “I like Amazonia. When do we leave?”
~ Nora Roberts

“I said, I prefer the ocean when it’s gray. Or not really gray. A pale, in-between color. It reminds me of waiting for something good to happen.”
~ Lauren Oliver, Delirium

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
~ Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

What that all means is I’m taking a few days and heading south – to the NH/ME shoreline – to clear my head of book dust, read a few a them, eat some buttery seafood, and watch the waves pound the rocky shore. Even put my toes into the icy Atlantic.

2014 Road Trip

2014 Road Trip

OCUB will be closed Mon-Fri, November 2-6. I’ll be back open on Saturday but at 10 a.m. (regular advertised store hours) since the Farmers Market will be heading to their winter quarters at Mary Hogan Elementary School.

A customer asked me what I am bringing to read. I’m going to finish Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. Also finish Book Row: An Anecdotal and Pictorial History of the Antiquarian Book Trade by Marvin Mondlin and Roy Meador. Two to start: Michael Gruber’s The Book of Air and Shadows and The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. But you know, I’m going to pick up more books along the way to and from NH/ME as we stop in to say “Hi!” to some favorite book dealers. More than likely those will be the ones I’ll want to start in with.

Have a great week!

Closing of A Used Bookstore (no, not mine)

* Please add [used] in front of the word “bookstore” in the following quotes:

Dickens_set“I hate that bookstores are closing. Hate it! What’s better than hanging out in a bookstore, be it independent or chain, and talking books with people who love books?” – Lisa Jackson

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking,”  – Jerry Seinfeld

“A civilization without retail bookstores is unimaginable. Like shrines and other sacred meeting places, bookstores are essential artifacts of human nature. The feel of a book taken from the shelf and held in the hand is a magical experience, linking writer to reader.” – Jason Epstein

“We didn’t just lose a bookstore though, we lost a bit of magic. We lost a bit of wonder. We lost a safe haven where it’s still OK to dream big dreams. To walk down aisles and aisles of “what if?” Books are not collections of paper, they’re invitations to different worlds. And being in a bookstore is like getting a passport.” – Jon Acuff

booksonbooksJust received word that a fellow used bookstore will be closing the end of October. It makes me sad and I’m grieving. Fortunately, the owner will still be around. He is taking a bit of his inventory  and sell online. But we all know that isn’t the same thing. He told me that he and his wife are happy and excited. They get their lives back after eighteen years. They get freedom. Not tied to the store anymore. Still it stinks. I’m sure he’ll still answer all my crazy questions. But it won’t be the same. Regardless, I wish them all the very best.

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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.]