Cheap bookshelves, cheap books, and a dream of owning a bookstore


What I really would love to do is run a bookstore.  It's probably my ultimate dream for semi-retirement.  First, I love reading. Second, I buy books and I like a deal. Finally, the idea of creating the ultimate reading nook of a book shop appeals to me at so many levels.

I have been to a lot of book stores, seconds and thrifts, yard sales, jumbles, and library book sales.  I have even run library book sales when I was on the Board and let me tell you, I ran hella-great sales.  While raising money for the library was always the reason, I also thought getting books into people's hands was equally important.  To inspire a love of reading, I always set the prices very reasonably. 10 cents for romance, which you always get tons of and can never get rid of. 50 cents for mass market paperbacks and kids paperbacks. $1 for adult paperback and kids hardback. $2-3 for hardbacks.  We seldom had books left to store, especially with $5 a bag final days.  All said, I know how to sell dirtcheap.

But bookstores are a little different.  There's the overhead and employee costs.  But honestly, at my book store, I'm the only one working.  I figure Friday-Sunday 11-8 and it's a work week, with perfect semi-retirement hours.

Walt Whitman
As for overhead, grab a small space, and pack it full.  Shelves 7 feet high, set in rows just far enough apart to stand with arms akimbo. Wood floors with creaky floorboards.  Runner rugs tossed among the aisles and nooks.  Little one chair reading nooks, with second hand fabric chairs, well worn and broken in. The odd foot stool.  A floor lamp, a wall mounted light or if there's room for a smallish table with a reading light.  At some far removed spot, a heavy library table in the farthest corner with wooden chairs and green law library lamps.  At the front of the store would be a counter for checkout and shipping off those online orders. Opposite the counter would be the coffee pot and tea kettle for 25 cent cuppa'. Set near the front would be locked glass front cabinets for those rare editions-real beauties, first editions, signed, leather, hand bound, ancient, you know the ones, you remember that smell. As nice as those rare books are, I dream of a store with a free or exchange shelf.  You know those crappy pulp fictions books-the Grishams and Crichtons- that show up at every yard sale and library book sale.  People still read them and that's what you give away, regift, or exchange.  So there will be a free shelf.

There would only be two large front windows for small displays.  Too much light and the books fade.  And the lighting...on the darkish side.  Task lights for reading nooks, tables and the counter.  Everything else, just enough the read the titles lining the well organized shelves. Oh, and SciFi Fantasy I'll have offerings to match the mystery section in size.  As for new books, at most 10% of the titles would be recent offerings.  The store would specialize in used books and would be priced accordingly.  Wonder why I would open late at 11 on a Saturday- to hit the yard sales.  Mon-Wed I would hit library book sales, seconds stires, etc.

Old Man Hemingway and a big fish from the sea
Back to those book shelves.  Where the ends aren't lined with more shelves, then pictures.  Framed book cover art, authors photos-the ones you get on postcards, cool as hell bookmarks found in old books, and of course, bookmarks from other bookstores framed in dollar store cheap-o frames.
Zora Neale Hurston at a book store
 I want a book store to hang out in.  Sure, it'll be a job and I promise to ship online orders same/next day.  I'll greet the customers, and then leave them the hell alone until they need me.  I'll keep the coffee brewing and the tea kettle filled.  Now to win the lottery so I can have my dream job come true.

Cheap Bookshelves