Jlsathre:25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore

Currently stays in Illinois, I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.

1.  People are getting rid of bookshelves.  Treat the money you budgeted for shelving as found money.  Go to garage sales and cruise the curbs.

2.  While you're drafting that business plan, cut your projected profits in half.  People are getting rid of bookshelves.

3.  If someone comes in and asks where to find the historical fiction, they're not looking for classics, they want the romance section.

4.  If someone comes in and says they read a little of everything, they also want the romance section.

5. If someone comes in and asks for a recommendation and you ask for the name of a book that they liked and they can't think of one, the person is not really a reader.  Recommend Nicholas Sparks.

6.  Kids will stop by your store on their way home from school if you have a free bucket of kids books.  If you also give out free gum, they'll come every day and start bringing their friends.

7.  If you put free books outside, cookbooks will be gone in the first hour and other non-fiction books will sit there for weeks.  Except in warm weather when people are having garage sales.  Then someone will back their car up and take everything, including your baskets.

8.  If you put free books outside, someone will walk in every week and ask if they're really free, no matter how many signs you put out .  Someone else will walk in and ask if everything in the store is free. 

9.  No one buys  self help books in a store where there's a high likelihood of  personal interaction when paying.  Don't waste the shelf space, put them in the free baskets.

10.  This is also true of sex manuals.  The only ones who show an interest in these in a small store are the gum chewing kids, who will find them no matter how well you hide them.

11.  Under no circumstances should you put the sex manuals in the free baskets.  Parents will show up. 

12.  People buying books don't write bad checks.  No need for ID's. They do regularly show up having raided the change jar.

13.  If you have a bookstore that shares a parking lot with a beauty shop that caters to an older clientele, the cars parked in your lot will always be pulled in at an angle even though it's not angle parking.

14.  More people want to sell books than buy them, which means your initial concerns were wrong.  You will have no trouble getting books, the problem is selling them.  Plus a shortage of storage space for all the Readers Digest books and encyclopedias that people donate to you. 

15.  If you open a store in a college town, and maybe even if you don't, you will find yourself as the main human contact for some strange and very socially awkward men who were science and math majors way back when.  Be nice and talk to them, and ignore that their fly is open.

16.  Most people think every old book is worth a lot of money.  The same is true of signed copies and 1st editions.  There's no need to tell them they're probably not ensuring financial security for their grandkids with that signed Patricia Cornwell they have at home.

17.  There's also no need to perpetuate the myth by pricing your signed Patricia Cornwell higher than the non-signed one. 

18.  People use whatever is close at hand for bookmarks--toothpicks, photographs, kleenex, and the very ocassional fifty dollar bill, which will keep you leafing through books way beyond the point where it's pr0ductive.

19.  If you're thinking of giving someone a religious book for their graduation, rethink. It will end up unread and in pristine condition at a used book store, sometimes with the fifty dollar bill still tucked inside.  (And you're off and leafing once again).

20.  If you don't have an AARP card, you're apparently too young to read westerns.

21.  A surprising number of people will think you've read every book in the store and will keep pulling out volumes and asking you what this one is about.  These are the people who leave without buying a book, so it's time to have some fun.  Make up plots.

22.  Even if you're a used bookstore, people will get huffy when you don't have the new release by James Patterson.  They are the same people who will ask for a discount because a book looks like it's been read.  

23.  Everyone has a little Nancy Drew in them.  Stock up on the mysteries.

24.  It is both true and sad that some people do in fact buy books based on the color of the binding.

25.  No matter how many books you've read in the past, you will feel woefully un-well read within a week of opening the store.  You will also feel wise at having found such a good way to spend your days.







5.如果有人請你推薦書,但你問他喜歡什麼書他卻一本也說不上來,那麼這個人並不是一個真正的讀者。給他推薦尼古拉斯.斯帕克斯(Nicholas Sparks,美國暢銷言情小說作家)即可。


7.如果你把免費的圖書放到店外,烹飪書肯定最先被一搶而空,而非虛構類圖書則會躺在地上幾個星期無人問津。當然也會有例外,比如碰到天氣良好的車庫大拍賣(garage sales)的日子,有人會開著汽車過來把所有的東西全部拿走,連裝書的籃子都不放過。


9.沒有人會購買心理自助類圖書(self-help books,類似於成功學的心理學圖書──譯者注),不要為其浪費貨架空間,直接放到免費籃中去吧。







16.很多人以為每一本舊書都很值錢,或者簽名版、首版在將來可能升值,你沒必要提醒他們派特麗夏.康薇爾(Patricia Cornwell,美國作家,作品銷量超過1億冊)的簽名版圖書即使流傳到他們的孫子輩都不可能升值的事實。






22.即使你開的是一家舊書店,也有人會因為你的店裡沒有詹姆斯.派特森(James Patterson,美國暢銷驚悚懸疑小說作家)的最新作品而不滿。這種人也會因為一本書看起來被人翻過而向你要求折扣。

23.每個人心中都有一個神探南茜(Nancy Drew,又譯「少女妙探」)。偵探推理小說要備夠貨。



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