Monthly Archives: August 2011

Closing the Bookstore

July 31, 2011 I experienced one of the saddest days of my life. As I was in our local mall, I found that the bookstore I have worked in for more than 20 years had shut its doors permanently without notice. As the buyer for the store I knew we had been struggling for a while, but this was a shock. Later that night my boss called me and let me know how the decision to close was reached. It was also explained why the method of closure was chosen. It was understandable from a business perspective, but very hard from a personal point of view.

This is the second bookstore that I have been at when it closed. Both were tenants in the same mall, although the ownership of that mall has changed several times in between. The first was a B.Dalton back in 1988. B. Dalton’s had been bought out by Barnes & Noble the prior year. The stores were being revamped and local management was allowed a voice in tailoring the inventory to their client-base’s tastes. The lease was up for renewal and the mall owners in their infinite wisdom doubled the rent and would not negotiate on key items. After many attempts to come to terms it was time to close the store.

That started 10 months of driving 60 miles to have access to a bookstore. Remember this is 1988. No internet at my house. No online bookstores that I would have access to. Yes, there was the typical fare of best sellers and promoted titles at KMart and the grocery store, but the selection was extremely limited. Thank God for the libraries. At least they had selections that went beyond the top selling 25 titles. And in Minnesota if your local library doesn’t have a book on its shelf you can take advantage of inter-library loan, bringing a book in from another library.

I looked into starting a bookstore myself, but I did not have the assets needed to finance it. That August I heard that someone was looking to open an independent bookstore. I approached this person, offering my help if they’d like. Knowing that I had worked for B.Dalton’s, I was asked to look at the ROSI (recommended opening store inventory) that was significantly more than was budgeted for the proposed store. The rest, as they say, was history. From that day until two days before I saw the store closed, I had the supreme pleasure of helping keep new books available in our area.

From the start we were not your typical bookstore. The owner had started as a yarn and needlework shop in1971 and was the last original independent merchant in the mall. From the beginning we had a portion of the store dedicated to knitting and crochet and to work in the store a prospective employee needed to be able to either knit or crochet. After the fabric store left the area and the quilt shop in town closed we also added quilting fabric and supplies to our mix, as well as employees who were quilters.

Deep discounts by others selling books, limitations by the mall owners as to what we were allowed to sell, and a two year period of 14-19% unemployment took its toll. A corner had turned and recovery was happening, just not fast enough for the store to go on.

After 25 selling books I’m keeping the title of bookstoremama. If someone decides to take on opening another bookstore, you can well believe I will be there offering to help in any way I can, if they’ll have me. In the meantime I am working part-time as SEO for a web design company and catching up on my reading and sharing it with you.

Good-bye Woodwards Bookstore (and more) R.I.P.

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Thomas Edison Predicted My Kindle!

I recently came across an interesting link celebrating the 100th anniversary of an article written by Thomas Edison predicting the e-book. My sons had given me a Kindle for Christmas last year along with a $25 gift card. They felt that I needed to be the one to test the waters of ebook technology in our family. To date I’ve managed to restrain myself from spending all of the gift card. I have paid for 3 titles, but at this writing have managed to download 314 titles. Now 1 or 2 are sample chapters for computer books I may need to get for my job as an SEO, but the majority of them are full books.

To acquire this many I have made a commitment to regularly go into Kindle’s free limited time promotions every week or so. Anything that I might even remotely be interested in gets downloaded, because some of them are only free for a few weeks or even just days. I have also invested time looking through the Kindle free classics, as well as just surfing category sections and arranging the selection by price lowest to highest.

Along the way I have managed to find some original Bobbsey Twin titles, a number of church history books that look fascinating, some business and computer titles, assorted romance, mystery, and sci-fi/fantasy titles, some motivational and inspirational titles, a self-help book or two, some cookbooks, fairy tales,  some young adult titles…you get the idea.One of the things I really love about it is that there are so many out-of-print books that are now accessible if one has the time to go digging.

To date I have  only actually read less than a dozen books on my Kindle.  I just don’t grab it the way I do a regular book, although I have started listening to some of the books I have downloaded as I drive. I know and understand the debate raging right now about the audio copyrights, but that debate is for another post. Personally I am not impressed with the computerized voices nor their reading ability (when a character in one story said “Hmmm” the Kindle read each letter individually “H-M-M-M”). The thing is I do have a 35 minute drive so this way I am getting through a few of the books on it.

So thank you Thomas Edison. I appreciate my portable library and the light by which to read it.

Historic Palm Beach – brought to you by the Palm Beach Post » 100 years ago today: Thomas Edison predicted the e-book.

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Summertime reading

Summertime reading is different than reading the rest of the year.We as a people tend to give ourselves permission to take a break from the respectable, responsible grind of reading for work or school or just to learn. Summer is the time to indulge in the “beach read”, those books that let you escape. They let you be somebody else, to go on adventures through time and space. Because of all the different activities to be involved in, we find our attention fragmented. Unless we have extended periods of uninterrupted time, like a long car trip, we need a read that we can pick up and put down to take care of the distractions.

For me, this summer’s reading has had to be be something that if I only have 10 minutes to read right now and I won’t get back to it until tomorrow before bed, it will still be okay. It will be the kind of story that won’t require me to maintain an extended train of thought. If I have time to press on in the story because I am being carried along by the adventure, great! But if I can only read a page or two (at least enough to get a scene finished), well I will still be okay because I at least got a little read time in.

My summertime reading this year has been revisits of old friends mixed in with the discovery of some new authors, who I will share about at another time. Sweeping romances, cozy mysteries, cookbooks, and specialty diets. Oh, and a few motivational business books too. A friend of mine, Randy Dean released his book, Radiance, earlier this year. I had read through the week it came out and have it on my pile of books to re-read. My plan is to do that by the end of September. Notice I am giving myself permission to wait until after serious reading time starts again to accomplish this goal.

 

So what has been you favorite beach read so far this summer?

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