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Friday, September 2, 2005

Chapter Twenty-Five, in which the Month is reviewed

August proved to be an interesting month. Sales in the store continued to creep down, with a few days in the middle turning out nary a shopper or visitor. Since then traffic, at least, has picked up again. Internet sales, however, grew over last month as well as last year, despite a significant interruption in the performance at one major site. We entered another online market for the last ten days, and the month ended as our second best ever.

With all the sales online we still managed to increase our listings. More books continued to pour into the bookstore as well, with significant additions in Science Fiction. We also did a little rearrangement in order to feature a section for better, signed, foreign, rare, and coffee table books. We hope these will be good sales drivers with the approach of the holiday shopping season.

Though last year's growth was flat after August, we expect an improvement this year with a combination of more listings, better listings, and more sales channels. School shopping was nearly non-existent in the store, while healthy online. This is possibly the pattern the near future will take, with gas prices on the rise following Hurricane Katrina, and growing feelings on unrest and unease similar to those immediately following the WTC attacks. We foresee people once more hunkering down, after a fashion, staying closer to home, and appreciating the more basic amenities of life. And, unfortunately, a significant number of people no longer have an address at which to send a book, or read a book. At the same time, though the rest of the country may not hit the Bookstore Trail, internet sales may increase, as books regain some popularity as a form of entertainment and a tool to better understand the world.

As long as the Federal Reserve doesn't meddle too much, the market should take care of itself and the economy should not slip back toward the 1970s. Smart investors are taking much of their gains and moving into more stable environments. The one thing time has proven about collectible books: they hold their value through market fluctuations far better than nearly anything else.

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