So many books, so little time! Before opening Bookends in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I thought running a used bookstore would offer many blissful hours of uninterrupted reading pleasure and unlimited access to wonderful books. I was partially right; I have shelves overflowing with everything from bestselling novels to obscure classics that I always meant to read (but somehow got through high school and college without having to!) to the latest self-help book that’s sure to change my life.
I generally work at the store three days a week, and I can’t remember the last time I left without taking at least one or two books home to add to the stack. To be fair, I do bring in at least that many when I arrive – after all, it’s a matter of equilibrium! As long as I’m finishing books as fast as I’m bringing them home, we’re in good shape, and none of the bookshelves are in danger of toppling. If things start getting out of balance, I’ll take a shopping bag around the house in search of those dusty tomes lying discarded at the bottom of the heap. Any book that’s been lying around for too long, or picked up and put down one too many times goes in the bag and back to the store. Now, in an attempt to start off our relationship by being completely honest and transparent, I’ll confess that occasionally (oh, alright, alright – maybe a little more than occasionally, but I won’t go as far as “often”) the offenders are those classics I never read in high school. One can only look at Anna Karenina (even the pretty new Oprah’s Book Club Edition) for so long before she just starts to make you feel guilty. Back to the bookstore with you, Anna! And besides, Tolstoy will always be there – but it’s not every day that I get the third installment in the Stieg Larsson millennium trilogy!
Being surrounded by approximately 16,000 books, and taking in on average 40 – 50 books on trade each day is without a doubt, a bibliophile’s slice of heaven. Thinking about reading, talking about reading, selling reading, and oh yes, sometimes even just plain reading is how my days at the store are filled. It’s not what I thought I’d be doing when I chose my major in college, (although a psych major isn’t COMPLETELY unrelated to retail), or when I was working for the church in children’s ministries, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And although sometimes I barely have time to read them, let alone review them, I’m hoping that in this forum I can share at least a few thoughts on some of the books I manage to get through, and on the book business in general. So, here we go…ready…set…READ!