Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I love books


Ordinarily I discuss various aspects of writing. I’m taking a respite this month in honor of summertime. I'm not attending RWA 2011 in New York. I'll especially miss the big event, the book signing for literacy. So I found a way to support literacy at home.

Libraries across America are struggling with budget cuts. This summer I’m volunteering at my local used book store which supports our branch library. Living in a small town offers plenty of volunteer opportunities. This one fits me to a tee. I get to surround myself with books, handle and find great books, and I’m helping our library and their summer children’s storybook and reading programs.



It’s amazing how many books our small community donates. And the variety of subjects is astonishing. There is no way you can keep the children’s book section in order. Not when the kids plop down and flip though a stack they’ve chosen, then wander off. We sell these books at one dollar an inch, measured at the spines. That way the kids get more for less.



And we’re a dog friendly shop.



The summer tourists know about us. Every year they stop and pick up a few beach reads and usually something for their kids too. Last week a man’s young son wanted the book Sounder. They glanced at the cluttered children’s shelves and soon gave up. My fellow volunteer continued looking and found Sounder, dashed out the door and we had another satisfied customer!



We only sell books in good to excellent condition. And when you walk in you immediately know this is a place where books are respected. They’re organized similar to a library.

I’ve discovered three books, all great finds, both fiction and non-fiction for research purposes. Three dollars is considered expensive for a book. Typically we charge one dollar for paperbacks, two dollars for a hardcover. New customers are pleased at our low prices. With a steady flow of donations, we must move things quickly or drown in sea of books, CDs, DVDs, and audio tapes. That’s one excellent reason for our price structure. These babies go out to later come back and be resold again and again.

I do purchase new books, of course. Now that my husband bought a Kobo ereader I’ll soon be downloading my first ebook. Yet, nothing brings back childhood memories like sitting with a book tucked in your hands, while you daydream about other worlds and bigger-than-life characters. Flip the book over. Yup, the cover confirms you’re somewhere else.

21 comments:

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Dogs and books in one public place! I love it :) Two of my fav things. There's a fabulous old bookstore here in St Pete that I love and they have a couple cats hanging around. :)

morgan wyatt said...

Sheila,
I am always on the lookout for books everywhere. I can't afford all the books I want to read so used bookstores are my friends. In the summer time, I hit yard sales searching for the perfect summer book.

Great Blog.
Morgan

Sheila Tenold said...

Karen, I love dogs, too. Hey, we're a place for kids, why not dogs?

Keeping books in circulation increases exposure for all authors in my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sheila Tenold said...

I'm with you, Morgan, not enough time to read all those books but I keep collecting.

Our used book store has so many books you always discover something. We sometimes get full collections donated. I found two Robert Easton books. A great find. He's my favorite author of California historical fiction.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Hi, Sheila. Nice post. Though expected, it's sad libraries are hurting along with the economy. Our local library had to cut back its hours for the first time. Instead of a bookstore, The Friends of the Library hold two book sale events at the local fairgrounds with donated books.

Vonnie Davis said...

A lovely post, Sheila. My husband and I would love spending a few hours in your bookstore, nosing and exploring for fabulous finds. But, alas, we are on the other side of the country. Libraries are so important, vital really, to our cultural and daily lives. We need to support them more.

VICKI BATMAN said...

Hi, Sheila! Your post comes at the perfect time as I am on my way to my local library for the Friends Board meeting. We'll be planning our Libraryfest which includes a humongeous book sale, all benefiting the library which we need during these difficult times.

Hugs to you for what you are doing!!!

Sheila Tenold said...

Dawn Marie, our branch library isn't open on Monday, which is so sad. Our Friends of the Library has helped them purchase new computers and has also raised funds toward a small expansion. We have a small but vital library.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sheila Tenold said...

Hi Vonnie, I'm waving from the other coast!
Where would our culture be without libraries? Think about all the great people who benefitted from free access to books. And we all know the disappointing statistics regarding the current reading abilities of America's children.

Sheila Tenold said...

Hi Vicki, great to see you here. Thanks to people like you we can keep our local libraries going.

Oh, I'd like to attend your Libraryfest sale and buy more books! Good luck.

Misty Dietz said...

Sounds like you have a great thing going, Sheila! Little gems like yours are so fun to find and explore. Great post.

Sheila Tenold said...

Thanks, Misty! I'm fortunate to live where I do. Our small town is full of people willing to volunteer.

Glad you stopped by!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Sounds like your community is blessed to have you, Sheila. One of my childhood memories is visiting the children's section of the library. It was an old building, covered with ivy, and the children's books were in a semi basement. My first experience was horrific because when I took the book back, I put it on the shelf instead of giving it to the librarian. Of course, when we got the call that it was way overdue with lots of fines, I didn't think I would recover from the embarrassment. It broke my heart when 'they' deemed the building a hazard and tore it down. Amazing thing, though, is that they had a difficult time taking it down. :(

I use to buy my Dad lots of books when they sold them a dime an inch. He loved having a big supply to choose from. Bless your heart to work with the book store and the library.

Sheila Tenold said...

Thank you, Paisley.

My parents couldn't afford to buy books. However a "good" salesman convinced them to purchase our one-and-only set of encyclopedias. With that came several "Childrens Classics." Those books spurred my love of story. King Arthur, Black Beauty...

I was a book fiend by age 11, riding my fat-tire bicycle (a hand-me-down) to our library which was some distance away. Thank god for handlebar baskets back then. I'd pack that baby to the brim. It's fun to reminisce.

Jill James said...

As a child I lived in the library. I was amazed that so many books could be in one place. At one time we had a used book store but no more. I live at Barnes & Noble these days. I go there for my white mocha, a sugar cookie, and a new book. I use it as an office to write somedays too.

Sheila Tenold said...

Jill, our nearby B&N and Borders closed a couple months ago. Yeah, both at the same time.

I wish I had one book store close to hang out at and sip a latte. There is an uplifting quality inside a book store...so many possibilties, so many stories.

Sheila Seabrook said...

Hi Sheila. One of the most relaxing places is the library. I love to browse the shelves and check out books I would normally be hesitant to buy. It's a great way to discover new-to-me authors. Libraries are vital. How wonderful that your used bookstore has discovered a way to help your library out.

Sheila Tenold said...

Hello Sheila. Ooops, I always feel like I'm talking to myself, my dear RWA-WF Sheila Seabrook!

Nothing beats browsing through books in stacks, on shelves, anyway I can find them. Time isn't important when you're in the book groove.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mona Risk said...

Sheila, I wish you lived close by. I donnated boxes of books to the local library and I still have a box reday to go.

Sheila Tenold said...

Thank you, Mona, for the offer! Our little used book store actually ends up with too many books so we periodically have a Saturday Book Sale at rock bottom prices, This clears out the titles which have stayed on the shelf too long.

Josie said...

Sheila,
Bookstores that sell used books should be a national treasure. Great idea about having a Saturday Book Sale once in a while. I wished you live in my area--SC!