An update on Christina Ambrosia’s bookstore Odyssey
Bad Summer at the Bookstore
This summer, though my first as a bookstore owner, was horrible. I’ve been agonizing over closing the doors completely or waiting out my lease. In reality, I’ll wait out the lease, but I dream of being home and writing more. The work involved in a used bookstore is far more than I ever dreamed.
I do love being here, I love being surrounded by the books, and seeing that it’s been me and them for most of the summer, we’ve become friends. Seriously, even though sales have been slow(25% drop in sales for August alone) I’ve still been very busy. Customers are still exchanging books and we’ve had a trickle of new customers. It’s time for changes.
I decided I’m not selling new books except children’s books, any longer. I will order for a customer if they request something with 50% down, but I can no longer spec buy. I still have stock from when I opened the doors, deeply discounted, they still aren’t moving. Having new books here isn’t a reason for customers to come here. They go to the grocery store every week and pick up a brand new paperback for 20% off. I can’t compete with that.
I have also changed my hours. I read a blog on here a while back regarding hours and closing on Sundays. The authors name eludes me [Shane Gottwals] but I understand the article more now than I did when I initially read it. I thought, be here as often as possible so you’re here for the customer. I was spending every possible minute at this store after working my 30 hour a week job. Missing evening dinners with my family; dinners which I prepared in the morning before going to work and I’d get the cold leftovers. I would sit here three evenings in a row and not one customer would walk through the door. We are still open six days, but only three evenings. I’m open from 9am -1pm on Sundays giving me time to make my son’s football games. I took my youngest daughter out of daycare two days a week and keep her with me here at the store. It’s difficult at times but the time we spend together is worth it. We’re still getting a schedule of things to do around customer visits and cleaning up the children’s section.
I’m also trying to make things more interesting. I have events scheduled for the next two months. October we’re doing a Halloween story hour with flashlights and a costume competition. In November we’re doing a book signing/talk right before Veterans Day. The local paper is doing an article on the event and hopefully we’ll pick up a little after that. Our book club is still going well. I still have customers coming in telling me they are so happy we are in town. Every time someone says that it gives me hope to hang in there and enjoy every day.
September was better than August. October, though I started it with the flu, is already ahead of August and September at the end of the first week. I am realizing first hand what an up and down business this is. I’m just hoping for more ups than downs in the coming months!