July 30
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.


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JANUARY 20, 2012 10:10AM

25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore

Rate: 136 Flag

1.  People are getting rid of bookshelves.  Treat the money you budgeted for shelving as found money.  Go to garage sales and cruise the curbs.

2.  While you're drafting that business plan, cut your projected profits in half.  People are getting rid of bookshelves.

3.  If someone comes in and asks where to find the historical fiction, they're not looking for classics, they want the romance section.

4.  If someone comes in and says they read a little of everything, they also want the romance section.

5. If someone comes in and asks for a recommendation and you ask for the name of a book that they liked and they can't think of one, the person is not really a reader.  Recommend Nicholas Sparks.

6.  Kids will stop by your store on their way home from school if you have a free bucket of kids books.  If you also give out free gum, they'll come every day and start bringing their friends.

7.  If you put free books outside, cookbooks will be gone in the first hour and other non-fiction books will sit there for weeks.  Except in warm weather when people are having garage sales.  Then someone will back their car up and take everything, including your baskets.

8.  If you put free books outside, someone will walk in every week and ask if they're really free, no matter how many signs you put out .  Someone else will walk in and ask if everything in the store is free. 

9.  No one buys  self help books in a store where there's a high likelihood of  personal interaction when paying.  Don't waste the shelf space, put them in the free baskets.

10.  This is also true of sex manuals.  The only ones who show an interest in these in a small store are the gum chewing kids, who will find them no matter how well you hide them.

11.  Under no circumstances should you put the sex manuals in the free baskets.  Parents will show up. 

12.  People buying books don't write bad checks.  No need for ID's. They do regularly show up having raided the change jar.

13.  If you have a bookstore that shares a parking lot with a beauty shop that caters to an older clientele, the cars parked in your lot will always be pulled in at an angle even though it's not angle parking.

14.  More people want to sell books than buy them, which means your initial concerns were wrong.  You will have no trouble getting books, the problem is selling them.  Plus a shortage of storage space for all the Readers Digest books and encyclopedias that people donate to you. 

15.  If you open a store in a college town, and maybe even if you don't, you will find yourself as the main human contact for some strange and very socially awkward men who were science and math majors way back when.  Be nice and talk to them, and ignore that their fly is open.

16.  Most people think every old book is worth a lot of money.  The same is true of signed copies and 1st editions.  There's no need to tell them they're probably not ensuring financial security for their grandkids with that signed Patricia Cornwell they have at home.

17.  There's also no need to perpetuate the myth by pricing your signed Patricia Cornwell higher than the non-signed one. 

18.  People use whatever is close at hand for bookmarks--toothpicks, photographs, kleenex, and the very ocassional fifty dollar bill, which will keep you leafing through books way beyond the point where it's pr0ductive.

19.  If you're thinking of giving someone a religious book for their graduation, rethink. It will end up unread and in pristine condition at a used book store, sometimes with the fifty dollar bill still tucked inside.  (And you're off and leafing once again).

20.  If you don't have an AARP card, you're apparently too young to read westerns.

21.  A surprising number of people will think you've read every book in the store and will keep pulling out volumes and asking you what this one is about.  These are the people who leave without buying a book, so it's time to have some fun.  Make up plots.

22.  Even if you're a used bookstore, people will get huffy when you don't have the new release by James Patterson.  They are the same people who will ask for a discount because a book looks like it's been read.  

23.  Everyone has a little Nancy Drew in them.  Stock up on the mysteries.

24.  It is both true and sad that some people do in fact buy books based on the color of the binding.

25.  No matter how many books you've read in the past, you will feel woefully un-well read within a week of opening the store.  You will also feel wise at having found such a good way to spend your days.








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#9 is soooo true!
#11 makes me laugh.
#20 makes me scoff....I read my first western this summer and loved it. Those AARP cardholders know where it's at!
#23 makes me smile....

What a splendid list! A fun way to start my day.
Terrific list. Wishing you the best, including people who still want to touch and experience a real book.
This was delightful! A lot of them I suspected, but am surprised to see them confirmed. Never thought about why rifling through a used book might be a good idea, beyond seeing what its' about, though. And the people who ask you the plot of random books on the shelves shocks me - I think that would piss me right off. I love how you suggest just making up plots. Nicely done. Thanks for this fun article - I will never think of my used bookseller the same way again!
#5 - gales of laughter. I used to work in a retail bookstore and can relate to this.

One of my minor goals is to purchase a complete collection of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series via used bookstores. I'm at least 3/4 of the way.
Thank you for these wonderfully keen and humorous obdservations. I often see owning a cosy book store in a small town as pleasurable as running a trattoria in a Tuscan town. A labor of love. Your words can't belie that love and passion for what you do.

Pensive--Your AARP card is in the mail.
Mary--Thanks. There are still some of them around.
Alysa--Thank you. I've also found paychecks. You just never know.
Stim--It's fun to have something to look for. I probably have some, but I don't want to take away the thrill of the search.
Fusun--A labor of love indeed.
make up plots!
yeah, i read all these books!
why else would i be selling them?
(speak in idiotic generalities if they ask about latest Patterson,
eg, 'surprisingly, not as good a s i thought it would be after
the first 100 pages.."

"f you put free books outside, someone will walk in every week and ask if they're really free, "
that would be me,
aint nothin free
i was told as a wee kiddo.

this is an interesting observation re westerns..
" If you don't have an AARP card, you're apparently too young to read westerns. "

i live in a kind of western world only with internet & tv
and all that. i believe in that amoral Nietzschian reevalution
of evalutation.
James, I had someone come in just the other day and ask me how much the "free" books were. Was that you?
IMHO.....If you are giving away "free stuff", I wouldn't display the items on the sidewalk. They should be way in the back of the store. Walmart puts their milk and dairy department far from the front door so people have to walk through the store.
Leepin Larry, Good idea, but Walmart's probably not my business model. Better for profits, but worse for morale.
Loved this clever, well-written piece! I worked at the late lamented Borders for a while in grad school--different, but the same. Hoping good things for you and the store!
You've learned 25 things? Oh man, am I ever in the wrong business.
If I had come into your store during my first marriage I might have purchased a purple book.
I loved this post, particularly number 11.
What a great post! This is also how I spend my days. Book people are peculiar, but they are the best.

I've been in business for sixteen years, for many of those without a credit card machine, and I've taken thousands of checks from all over the country. I've gotten back two, both of them local and easily collectable.
cancerdancer-thank you--probably busier at Borders, although not at the end maybe
bard--not much profit in learning things though
Paul--thanks for reading
Polly--interesting people to surround ourselves with for sure
This reader - and haunter of used book bookstores - thanks you muchly for this insight...... ;-)

♥╚═══╝╚╝╚╝╚═══╩═══╝─╚for the bookwork and more.
Fun post! I've recovered my senses (somewhat) and run out of bookcases, but I should write about my book-crazed year as a collector. You've dispelled all myths I've had of used book dealers -- save for my suspicion that they do read just about every title in their store -- eventually. I think I've discovered a few non-stop readers in Ann Arbor.
Are you located in the Chicago/Evanston area by chance? If so, I've probably been in your store.
I used to work in a public library. Our most frequently discovered bookmark...? Strands of hair!


Thanks for the terrific post, and good luck!
skypixie--haunters are good
Algis--thank you, your design is sweet too
daisy jane--I should probably think about the coffee
Vivian--not Chicago, but if you're even in Champaign....
Lisa--pieces of yarn and pieces of thread, yes, but I've been missing the hair. Probably assumed it was mine.
Wow, this is very useful. Husband and I sometimes wax about doing this, I think you just talked me out of it. (Mostly a place for him to hide when he retires.) He's a librarian.
Love your last item. Then I reread your bio and now realize opening a used bookstore, which I have often thought would be a great idea, might not be so great at least right now. I do know a fellow who had a successful store in a permanent flea market and did fairly well. He also bought bulk and sold wholesale on the Internet. Good luck. I hate to hear of any bookstore shutting down.
Bea and Matt--Don't let me scare you off. It's a good thing, just make sure your mortgage is paid off first.
Deborah--I look forward to going there every day.
I love this.
10 years ago my town of 40000 had 2 majors & a 2nd-hand bookstore ~ the majors are now gone, but Desire Books is still going strong. Amazing how many daVinci Codes they have to turn down every week ! They don't have free book bins, but 5-for-a-dollar.
I'm still awaiting the day I open a Franny & Zooey to find my name pencilled there, some forty years ago ...
Count me as one of the many people who have always dreamed of opening a used bookstore too. I've always suspected I didn't have the smarts to do it, however, and I certainly don't have the money to do it right now. It will probably always be an unfulfilled dream. Thanks for this enlightening and entertaining post. Wonderful!
Kim--I'll start looking for your name. It's amazing how far books can travel.
Lisa--A used bookstore is pretty inexpensive to get up and running. And if you're not used to having a lot of disposable income, it's kind of the perfect business.
Rated for opening a used bookstore. Develop a relationship witlh the local librarians, who may be your best customers. And not just the free sex manuals!
Excellent! Thanks for the laugh. I hope your bookstore is doing OK. I'd love to open one, but it sounds like a quick trip to the poorhouse (but then so do most things lately). Great list!
"Most people think every old book is worth a lot of money."

~nodding~ Same hold true in the antique business, especially in the day and age of Ebay and Internet. Person comes in with a piece of poo, says, "I looked on the Internet and it says, it's worth 1 billion dollars, I want one billion dollars for it!!" Good luck buddy, if ya find someone willing to pay one billion dollars for it, as I have a box full of them in the back room!! ~:D

True story. The guy looked at me and was like, "Wha?" so I showed him, I had like a box full of what he was trying to sell and we had them marked at like a buck a piece!! He stormed off going, "The Internet said they're worth!!" :D

I learned many things from my dad, one of them was, don't open an antique store!! ~:D
Nola--You're right about librarian. They're some of my best customers, which surprised me, although it shouldn't have.
Froggy--It can still be a good thing to do. Just lower expectations.
Tink--Spot on. The internet can be a very bad thing.
One of my closest friends is a retired librarian who has considered a book exchange. I'm sharing your good list.
How you make me smile. Especially love the final thing you've learned! Lucky all of those who walk through your bookstore doors.
It takes great courage to open up a bookstore. Big congrats.
I've always dreamed of opening a bookstore so I wouldn't dream of passing up on this post! The entertainment derived from #21 alone must make it all worthwhile!

Lovely post!
baltimore--Don't give up on books. Try a used book store.
scupper--It's a fun job. Good luck to her.
annaliese--Lucky me.
bob--Courage or a lack of foresight. I'm not sure which won out.
witchywinn--Don't be afraid to live your dream. Just be realistic about the profits.
This is wonderful! Thank you so much for opening a real bookstore. I have rated & shared to fb. Is your store on Twitter?
Love this post. I have worked as a bookseller for 6 years now and let me tell you, you hit some things dead on! #3, 4, 5, 19, 20, and 24 are great LOL. I admire you for opening up your own bookstore. What a wonderful way to spend the day.
Marvelous. Some of your items (prepare for a cliche) made me laugh out loud.
wren dancer--Thank you. No twitter that I know of.
Kamille--Glad to hear it's not just me that sees the trends.
Rob--Always love to get laughs.
What a small world. I do believe I know JL from our prior law school life and I too own a bookstore. New books, not used, but this article made me laugh. Small central Illinois towns sometimes don't have much else - I hope every community that does have a bookstore appreciates the value it adds to the town. Good for you, JL, hoping we meet again! And what is it with lawyers and books!! From Hillsboro - BA
AdamsB--It was either a bookstore or a bar. We kind of liked those too if you remember.
At least the entire front of your store is not dominated by Nook displays. Thank God for the indies!
John--No Nooks allowed!
This is a wonderful list. I love it. I worked in an independent bookstore for twenty years. When I started there were about six bookstores in my area. Now there are only two. One of them is a marvelous used bookstore as quirky as they come. Both are independent. They are a place where the community comes together. It is possible they can all still be saved if the communities they are in pay attention. Good luck. Working in a bookstore is the best job I ever had.
I would add "pay employees in trade." I worked in a rare book store when I was young and foolish and accepted payment in Thurber, Benchley, etc.
Warwickian--Thanks for your comment. I hope your last two survive. It does take a community.
Con--I would love to pay in trade. I could probably afford employees then. The job's yours if you want it.
I was happy that you didn't learn that books are passe.
Miguela--Not yet. Hopefully, not ever.
I LOVE this... Thankyou. So true. Bless! x
As a programmer who's always looking for new projects, this made me curious.

What is a piece of software that would make your life as a used book store owner easier?

What is a piece of software that would help your customers?

Please give me some ideas if you have any :)
Helen--Thank you too.
Random--I'll have to think about that. I'll get back to you.
My husband and I bought a book store a couple of years ago, and I laughed a lot at these. I have also learned that, at least once a day, someone will come in and say some version of the following: "I'm looking for a book. I don't know the title or the author, but it has a blue cover."
khw--So true. And it always makes my day when I can actually find that blue book.
I love this list! I recently told my husband that I want to open a small book store but within minutes he had a dozen reasons why it wouldn't work. I'm still holding on to the dream--someday, maybe. . .
Thank you for the great trip down Memory Lane. I ran my own bookstore (I carried both new and used) from 1988 to 2004, and your observations are right on the dot.
It really is a wonderful life, as long as you don't need to count on an income from it.
Karin--I hope it comes true for you.
Alice--I agree completely. I'll have good memories if I ever have to close.
Gary and Heather--Thank you both for reading and commenting.
I hope I can be one of those rare book and shelf buyers long after the market is flooded with unloved analog books.
Avery--I hope you can too.
Perfecct timing for a new Indie. Great funny post and wishing you both sucesss and great anecdotes to record here. The characters you will meet!--some great; others colorful.... R
Rules to live by! Thanks so much for a great piece.
But I still picture you smiling, even with #15 and all . . .
So I'm a recovering bookstore owner and this sure took me back (sold my store in 2007 and then wrote a book about how to start one, which is available on Amazon). My store was next to a restaurant, which brought the lovely problem of cock roaches. Still makes my skin crawl just thinking about all of the exterminating I had to do! And lugging all of those excess books around. We donated so many to charity that it launched an IRS audit due to high charitable contributions! What a crazy time that was. Thanks for the laughs.
Thanks to all for continuing to comment. Still smiling? Yes--both at the bookstore and at the comments.
Sounds like a lot of fun! I do read a little of everything,except romance:). However while I might say I'm looking at everything I always find myself in the science fiction section. Hooked since 4th grade.P.S. I have read the occasional western! Lonesome Dove, All The Pretty Horses, Annie Proulx, A Reliable Wife..you get the drift...keep selling those romances!
Keep going - you have a book here. I've smiled all the way thru.
My grandfather set up a bookshop in 1902, my father worked there all his life, my brother owns it now...
Must send this to him - even though he sells new books and doesn't have a free bin (pity that).

I was going to have my book on Depression published - but now I'll put it in as many free bins as I can find. Always suspected it was best practice to hire someone to buy you a self-help book.

This is my first time finding open.salon - what a lovely start. Got here via Bernie Goldback on Google Plus
Reminded me of this pic: http://pics.blameitonthevoices.com/092011/bookstore_grievances.jpg
Love this article. As a small bookstore owner, you may be interested in a petition circulating started by a small San Francisco bookstore (the first African American bookstore in the country): CEO, Amazon.com: Stop the "Price Check" assault on small businesses. Here's the link to sign http://tinyurl.com/82l5le9
Thanks so much! I've daydreamed about having a little bookstore. Maybe someday.
This was a great post and a wonderful read. The observations were excellent. I'm proud to be your 50th "rate".
Your artile was very insightful. Everyone comes across a book, which make them fall in love with reading. Library or book store is place where many people find their true love. You are reason for opening up different worlds through books :)
Have you figured out how to sanitize books?

And, isn't there entirely too much standing in any retail job? I've had nearly 250 jobs (yeah that too) and really get dismayed whenever I sense that the boss or 'policy' forbids humanistic courtesies like ergonomic floors good chairs for employees and so on. Maybe theatrical wire to fly from one point to the other. Employers should provide stuff like huge pilate (redline spck) balls and so on so six hours of work are not drudgery.
I enjoyed reading your clever observations.

Must one smoke outside where you sell? Special awards for employees like trips to Paris, Rome Tahiti the Great Wall of China Paraguay? How old are you? Where'd you go to school? Do you accept American Express? Do you have an ATM? Do you have one of those opaque black eye cameras for theft observation?
Very cute! I'm so glad you're still selling books. Maybe you could sell second hand e-readers and their accessories, too. I buy almost all of my electronics off of e-bay.
Thank you for posting this. My husband and I planned to open a bookstore one day, but after family and friends kept trying to push kindles on us, we gave up. Right now, we're operating an antique booth (which sells some nice books) and hope to eventually open a second-hand boutique that happens to have a great book selection. Great to see someone with a realistic outlook sharing advice. Thanks!
Seriously? Now I want to open a bookstore.
Thisclose to perfect! Change "insuring" to "ensuring" in #16 and it will be. Marvelous!
How did I miss this great piece? R.
Good for you for opening your store. Sounds like a lot more fun than Amazon.
Thanks to everyone for continuing to comment. I enjoy reading each one.
NonRun--Good catch.
You are a hero...and I love you. (Speaking to everyone who owns a bookstore). If there's one thing I love is shopping a bookstore, it is like heaven! I am sad at some of your points and happy at others...laughing at some. Thank you for this.
*Secret bookseller handshake* You're doing God's work.
I worked at a big bookstore chain for nearly four years during college, so your post brought back a lot of good memories for me.

Ugh, romance books...can't stand seeing them on the shelf but they always sell.

Yes, people do buy books based on the color of the binding, it's aparently makes a very chique interior decorating statement to arrange books by color. Shinning example: http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lyoesydGeo1qfudpoo1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6IHWSU3BX3X7X3Q&Expires=1329346420&Signature=RiSxk6RyDVQaCKsqDc1H%2FWIgu8k%3D
This thing is a non-stop phenomenon. It's amazing...I always notice it, but don't care about the lessons of owning a bookstore (which I assume are people buy less books, and even when they do, it's throw-away garbage literature and books by famous people on subjects such as civics that they do purchase).

And, we got 8 matching bookcases for $50 on Craigslist, which is crazy, but there is simply no demand for them.

I can't read a book on a PC, so I don't understand Nooks and other eReading devices. Books smell good, too.
This has got to be the most read blog in this joint's history. You should write about how to write an interesting list that people will read online...in list form, of course. This is just ridiculous amazing. I am confident that yours will be the last bookstore on Earth.

Impressive...most impressive (james Earl jones once told me)
Brilliant advice. I wish I could visit your store. This essay should be shared far and wide. Great writing! R
My dream job was to work in or own a bookstore. I did work in one for a short time, but I spent more than I made.

So much of what you say is true, but if it's any consolation, I have more books than bookshelves, as does my daughter. My library extends from a hallway into the family and living room and the guest bedroom. And then there are the piles on the floor, end tables, and a hope chest. We could open our own bookstore, but there is too much nonfiction and too few romances to make it lucrative. Last Christmas, my granddaughter's first, my daughter began a new tradition: a basket of unwrapped books will appear every year under the tree as an "open me first" gift from Santa. We are doing our part to keep our favorite bookstore, Powell's in downtown Portland, afloat.
I was plodding through yourlist, got to #5 and cracked up! When I stop laughing, I'll go back and finish the list. Nicholas Sparks indeed...
Love books, love this piece. Thanks and good luck! ~R
"Make up plots"....hahaha, that's great. If you have an employee helping you out, maybe start a contest with him (or her) to see who can sell the most books by selling a fake plot to the customer.

If someone comes in asking how much the free books are, throw a price out there for the heck of it. Start at a buck, and if they fall for it then you brought in some more revenue. If they catch on, then you can always fall back on "congratulations, you just won a free book!"
Well, I have one more rule for you to add:

Don't throw customers out of the store for eating chocolate glazed Bavarian creme doughnuts while leafing through the books.

I mean, those doughnuts are delicious and the books are interesting -- no one should be expected to have to choose between them.

And you don't have to yell.

Thanks for continuing to comment. Each and every one is fun to read. And Spumey, I would never throw someone out for eating a chocolate glazed Bavarian creme doughnut. I might ask them to share.....I might even yell and demand that they share.
This brings back memories of when I worked at a bookstore. Those were good times.
Love that we all have a little Nancy Drew inside...hope that is true for a while.....loved this post.
This post filled me with serenity. I've always had a secret dream/guilty pleasure that I'd run my own little hole in the wall book shop one day. I've never endulged in the idea that it'd be a money making venture; but with your tips and tricks, it could certainly be more pragmatic than I originally thought. Also, "recommend Nicholas Sparks." Best quote ever. Seriously, still T-Shirts at your book store...just kidding =).
Ha! This is an awesome list.
You'll be pleased to know that I'm NOT getting rid of my bookshelves.

I find there is still tons of space among the titles in my little library for my downloaded audio books. (And nobody knows if they are REALLY in alpha order.)
Late to this party, but did so enjoy it.
What a smart, funny piece of writing. I don't remember a better list. Now I'll have to go back and rethink my dreams. Do you have a "second careers" section?
oh, this was so funny I laughed my way through most of the list, the exception being the ones that solicited an "Ahh!" I will remember to keep gum handy if I want kids around, to not leave any baskets out with freebies during garage-sale season, and to definitely check out the flies of geeky looking men.
JL,such a useful and insightful list.Thank you for sharing it..Rated..
Enjoyed your list....I am one of those people that if having to choose..I will pick the book with the pretty binding ....I love old gilt gold decorated books, of course it's really a prize if there is good literature inside!
Just saw this. Loved it!! Eds were asleep when they overlooked this one.
I really can relate to all of the things mentioned above. Glad to know that I am not alone when I opened a bookstore way back. ReputationAdvocate.com
So . . . did this post hit a warp in the space-time continuum that's it just now getting an EP? If so, I think we need to revisit the whole "relativity" thing.
I'm with Con, WT hell happened here?
Knocking on 500,000 reads and a belated EP, too. Way to go!
This is how you encourage buying a real book over an e-reader. You take out a volume of "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens and read the part where he has a dinner party for his old school chum Steerforth where the hired girl keeps stepping on the plates, and then stick your finger in that part of the book and then go back to where Steerforth defended David to the mean guy in school who made him wear that sign "Take care. He bites." ... see what you've done there? Easy referencing parts of the story. You can't do that with an e-reader.

Loved your post. I, too, didn't read it until it was EP and why did it take them so long?
I have no idea why this got an EP after six months. Never give up hope, I guess.
JL ! How funny you finally get an EP -- after being on the most viewed for 6 months or something???
Does that mean wonderful and overlooked tomes from anyone might be re-visited for EPs? : )
(Not seriously wondering...)
Congrats, finally !
Ok i have to add one, OOOOOOOooooooooo i would love to own a USED BOOK Store that is my dream..... I would sit around reading books all day.... Well if you did we would fire you for not helping out!!! David Universal Books in Ireland
Thank you for list, we put it up on website making everyone laugh.
Just wonderful. I so want to visit your store.
Like a lot of the commenters, it's my dream to open a bookstore. I'll be in central Illinois later this summer. I may just find myself in champaign looking for a used bookstore run by someone who is funny!
This is marvelous. Rated.
This post was funny, insightful and depressing. My favorite kind. Good luck on your venture.
I hope your store succeeds beyond your wildest expectations. Spending one's day surrounded by literature that spans the emotional spectrum and revolves around an endless stream of new and renewing thoughts sounds like a transcendent heaven that has somehow linked hands with a temporal earth. May everyday increase your sales and the smile on your face.
This soooo deserved an EP and it gets a Zumapick, too! Sorry to be so late.
This was so smart and cool. I can see those open flies from here. Sorry to be so late.
I wish you luck. I've spent many a happy hour in a bookstore or library, and I buy books by the cardboard boxes - and read them. Right now I'm digging my way through Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon," which is a big book and then some.
Thanks to everyone for continuing to read this post which has proved to have very long legs. The ongoing comments are both touching and fun.
Most excellent read. Love your outlook.
Will be back to comment on this excellent post.
Loved this. And what a wonderful thing, to own a bookstore and have an excuse to hang around books all day. I wish I'd studied library science because being a librarian would be deliriously fun too. There's something about being around books that almost makes them seem alive. Like even if you never read them, you can hear them whispering to you, which is why I'd think even when the store is closed, you've always got company. I can't imagine feeling close to an e-reader which is why I'll never have one.
Such a wise woman...and a bittersweet article. Hard to believe that bookshelves are being discarded. Books make me happy...
Hilarious :) I lived and worked in a bookstore in my hitchhiking homeless days in Miami Beach, Florida in 1996. It was fun to read all day.
I realize I'm finding this post a little late, but it's just as wonderful now and when it was first posted. Like anything really well-written, of course.
I smile whenever I think of a former Lawyer buying a bookstore. I visit one called`
You can talk
Folk get buggy
It's a meeting Place.
If you need a Book?
For example:
You buy Michelle Obama's Book.
You don't have a cell phone or #.
You no carry a credit card. Order.
You can buy bird books or `Bugs.
Buy historical books on Dory Boat.
You can tip and take breath mints.

You can even get a free toothpick.
Congrats on the EP. Ya need Pick?
Kerry get Ya a jade toothpick? Bug.
My computer has NO CONTACTs.
It has BUGS from HACKERs. Yep.
You can't get a LICE. COOTI. Joy.
I wonder if we'll ever stop reading?
Maybe Kerry needs eye spectacles.
He blind in one eye. Blind and Bug.
Are we going for some sort of record here? I read this when it was first posted and find it still entertaining. Has any other post had such a comeback??
Love it, love it, love it!! I am just so sorry your shop does not have you rolling in dough and prepared to retire to Tahiti. If there was any justice in this world, it would.

When I worked in retail bookselling, 30 years ago, it was no different. Except there were no deliberate freebies, just the shoplifted ones. But this was the classic exchange:
"I'm looking for this book, but I can't remember the title. Or the author. But it has a green cover." Sigh.
i also want to learn more experience about bookstore
Great post. I'm really enjoy it. Thank to share
I want to know where your store is! If it's anywhere near Chicago, I'll come support it. I need to buy my friend's book right now, and I am holding out against Barnes and Noble!!
As a bookseller and an avid bookstore patron, I had the best laugh reading this. You said it so well!! Have yet to see a $50 but that's not from lack of leafing, lol.
I would visit your bookstore!

Love the parts about the free books. I once had a garage sale and sold a bunch of books and old record albums. A couple of the albums were pretty bad (music wise, not condition), so attached a note that said "I'll give you 50 cents if you take this." Nobody did, although they bought many of the albums.
Great tips. Thanks for sharing with us. I always think about opening a used book store .. :)
This is funny and charming. I can see why it has apparently gone viral. Used bookstores are one of my most favorite places to escape for hours. I love books with written notations by previous owners. It makes me feel like I am reading it with someone.
When I was a kid, I always loved going to old book stores in Chicago and dreamed of owning one. I never did but now at 64 wish I had. Thanks. I'm sharing this blog on my facebook page.
Sounds as if a sense of humor is essential for a bookstore owner. I forwarded your piece to a friend in Woodstock who is a retired editor and still involved in bookstores.
#21 - ahah - i did believe that - but it's only because i imagine that working between books all day you have nothing else better to do so you must read- i mean i would love to stay and read all day :D
Thank you!
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I couldn't take it anymore, just had to see what all the fuss was about since this keeps popping up in the feed. Good thing I did. A highly enjoyable read. Thanks for the giggles and for reminding me there's a vast literary world beyond Kindle and Audible!
I also followed my dream and opened a used book store also and I can definitely identify with your comments! Thanks for a wonderful article! I found this throug FB and I'm re-sharing! :)
Love this post and your writing style. I am passing it on to friends.
I bet you will even learn more while you are running it.
[r] jlsathre! brilliant!!!! finally broke down and read this! well worth it. clearly seat of the pants learning! thanks for sharing! best, libby
the 9th one its the best one and really really true
What a great list! Not only funny, but very interesting! Loved the smart humor and the insights. Where is your bookstore? I might be in range to visit.
Durn you, you know I love you but....YOU KICKED OFF ANNIE LIN FROM THE TOP READ!! How could you???!!!!

*pouts, stomps off stage*

Wonderful, insightful, entertaining, and alluring. It makes me wish it wasn't 11:00PM in a small southern city, so I could run out to my local used book store and prowl the aisles for a bit. If I give in to that urge now, I'll be spending the remainder of the night in lock-up. So I'll resist - for now. But I make no promises about the morning.

Thanks for a terrific piece!
Thanks a lot for these valuable lessons.
13 made me laugh - seen that so many times! :o)
Awesome article! Laughed really hard at point 21.
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