You can’t have a name like Back Stairs Books when you have a store with no steps. So we decided a new name was indicated, and this time it would be a name which could go wherever the store ended up. We wanted something more flexible. Not too long. Clever, if we could manage it. Turns out, clever is harder than it looks. All the really good names were already taken, had unfortunate secondary meanings, or were regrettably obscure.
We sat in restaurants, drinking coffee, and jotting down the best ideas. We had online friends chat about it in various forums. We discussed it on long car trips and on short grocery store runs. Finally we decided on Book Depot. 1) Because it was short and easy to spell. 2) Because we were within shouting distance of the train tracks and the train station. 3) Because, due to the youngest child being a train nut, we had train related memorabilia stacked here and there. And 4), nobody liked the other idea we were favoring.
Remember the post where I told you the town history and the Blackwell Station heist? Well, we thought Bookwell Station would be clever and amusing. Nobody else did. No one at all. In fact most folks seemed to think it went into the regrettably obscure category mentioned above. Book Depot it was.
So, the positive things we did while waiting for the building to be emptied of the huge, heavy, and beautiful but belonging-to-someone-else cases, was chose a new name, buy the remainder of a small library book sale as an experiment, and start pricing books.
We weren’t sure if we wanted to go with professionally printed price stickers, run-off-on-the-computer stickers, or writing it in by hand in the traditional way. One of us has handwriting worse than the proverbial doctor. We decided to print our own. We still don’t know how that will work out. Do other folks have a problem with price switching even on the lowest priced books?
As an experiment, buying out a book sale was most illuminating; it lets you see how good you are at evaluating or valuing books. We know which ones we would have bought and that was about five archive boxes worth. Only one third of the rest were okay for a brick an mortar store. We checked the books, every book, to see what we didn’t know. On the whole, we found our instincts were spot-on. But there was one book, a volume we never would have picked up, which paid for the entire lot, including the gas for two trips to a town 40 miles away, plus the ice cream we got on the way home.
Looking back, that now seems like an better and ever so innocent time.
I could take you step by step through the next nine weeks. It would take two or three dozen blog entries to explain all the horrid, ulcer inducing details, and in the end it would make your head hurt. A lot. Like mine did. I would have to describe local personalities, and the varied opinions of folks on all sides of the multifaceted problem, tell you way too much about the inner workings of small town daily life, and what the insurance man said. Also, I would have to explain cowboy engineering. I know I could make it hilariously funny, even though there was not too much to laugh about at the time. The details would be just fascinating, guaranteed, since it involves threatened lawsuits, mass resignations, attempts to get people fired, missing items, and gossip hot enough to burn down Atlanta. But since I want to keep my tail out of trouble and live in this town, I will only say that for this occasion I invented an entirely new word to define the experience. I will not write it down here, but I assure you it is a simple word, a one word definition. A word with undertones and overtones. A word with nuances and implications. And yet a mild word, almost suitable for polite company. It falls nicely off the lips. It has a good number of words with which it rhymes, and so could be used in poetry, should the occasion ever arise when the whole experience is far enough in the past to merit the attempt. Say, 2050, at which point I will surely be safely dead.