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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Second Anniversary

Today begins the week-long celebration of the second anniversary of Mad About Books in its present incarnation. This has not been a profitable experience, but we are still open for business, and plans are to continue.

Bookselling is a lesson in patience. Some days sales are good, some not so good at all. What is interesting is when a book that has been languishing on the shelf for so many years, passed over by so many readers, can, at any time, become the one book for which someone has been searching for years. There is no way to tell when that time will come. Nor is there any way to induce that time. And one can prepare for that moment as best as possible, read up on all the popular books, know the market, probe the patrons for their preferences, and there will be absolutely no way to tell which will be the next book to be happily discovered.

There is continual discovery when surrounded by 20,000 books. At times someone will ask for a certain title, and we will look for it on the shelf, and to our surprise it will be there. Some titles, 1984 for instance, we have sold several times. We have specially ordered books for special patrons. We have donated hundreds of books to numerous places throughout the community. We have met interesting people and listened to hours of personal stories. We have known success and failure. We have considered relocating the business, selling the business, and expanding the business.

Our hope for the third year is that not only our own patrons but everyone incorporate books more fully into life. That doesn't even have to mean reading more: A. Edward Newton wrote,
I know no greater pleasure than to light a good cigar, throw myself in an easy chair, and let my eyes range over a wall covered with books.
Some people will spend three dollars a day on a cafe latte yet complain they can't afford the price of a new book. We say, skip a day and spend that three dollars on a used book that can be enjoyed longer than fifteen minutes--and in our shop get that coffee for free! Keep your old shoes for a while longer and buy a new book instead. Turn off the television and read. Make a habit of buying one book a week. Simply visit a bookshop and marvel at the world at your fingertips. Practise more often the necessary acts of devotion.

We look forward to our third anniversary. Nothing makes owning or visiting a bookshop more worth while than the excuse to go out and hunt for more books.