By Joe Waynick
It should be obvious that book dealers and used book store owners are natural allies. Then why is it so difficult for these two groups to see eye-to-eye?
I’ve been a full-time book scout since 2006. I pound the pavement every day in search of that elusive literary diamond hidden beneath a pile of cheesy romance novels. Very few of the books I examine pass muster for my Internet bookselling business. That’s because I’m a very picky treasure hunter.
Nevertheless, I pass over dozens, if not hundreds of books every day that would be perfectly acceptable in a brick-and-mortar retail bookstore. But for a long time I didn’t buy them because it was so difficult for me to get a clear sense of what bookstore owners wanted in my area.
Perhaps it was my fault, but it’s certainly wasn’t from a lack of trying. I canvassed owners of local book stores, making sure that I identified myself as a book scouter. I examined their inventory and asked them what type of books they currently needed. I told them I scout every day and that I had a good chance of finding valuable stock they could use in their stores. I even emphasized that I only want to bring them quality books they actually needed and not use them as a dumping ground for the junk I couldn’t sell online.
Still, the barriers were up and tight lipped shop owners merely stared at me as if they were talking to a new form of alien life instead of openly discussing their needs. That’s unfortunate because I could really help them with their business. For eight to ten hours a day I inspect books. It’s a simple matter to broaden my criteria to include titles tailored specifically to niche bookstores.