Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Sometimes I fantasize about starting a big bonfire and burning books. I'm not the only bookseller who thinks this way. The Art of Books is hosting a campout in Indiana this summer for booksellers. It's a "primitive" camp site with no hook-ups yet they hope to have internet hook-ups on site. woo hoo! Who needs electricity and running water as long as you can access the internet and keep an eye on your business. They will also have a bonfire for burning books.

You probably think that booksellers are all about acquiring books and selling them. Every week, however, some of the books we bring home turn out to be worthless and can't be sold. Also, some of the books we add to our inventory each day just sit there on the shelf month after month and don't sell. Eventually this deadweight has to be removed from the inventory. Instead of schlepping them all to Goodwill or the library it'd be nice to throw them in a heap in the backyard and light a match.

Right now we're in the process of removing 1000 books from our fiction section. Normal people can probably live their wholes lives and never experience the thrill of getting rid of 1000 books at a time. Too bad. It's very liberating and a great physical workout. It will free up storage space and make our inventory more lean and mean. As a result we now have more refined criteria for choosing fiction and know which books we should never ever purchase again. Even though we didn't read any of those 1000 books, they taught us well.
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Blogger Eric John said...

I try to sell my worthless books (mostly good-for-nothing "history" books which are mere mish-mashes of some historical "facts" with a lot of blathering "plot." Yes, I am a historical snob) to used bookstores. I'll admit that the price you get isn't that great, especially if the offending book came from a used bookstore. (HalfPrice has many such volumes.) But it IS a way to get some extra cash. Although, in the past this temptation has led me to excise Churchill's series on WWII and the History of English Speaking Peoples from my library, along with nice hard-bound Everyman's Library editions of Plutarch's Lives. What was I thinking???

9:06 PM  

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