why i have a book store

I sit in my shop after a book sale looking over the treasures that I found. Some ARE worth a few bucks, some aren’t. Sometimes I buy with my head (I DO have a PDA/scanner combination), sometimes I buy with my heart. I’m looking at a book of poetry by one Don Blanding -“The rest of the road”, it’s not worth much on the internet, but It’s a great book of poetry. I start reading it and realize why I have a book store. I love books. I especially love poetry. I’m likely to start specializing in just antiquarian, philosophy and poetry books – the loves of my life. I went to the book sale with my daughter who is also hooked on books and who also lists books online. It was great fun. I bought some books that I really like about things I really like. You may say that I am a dreamer – but as John Lennon said – “I’m not the only one”. There is a small private high school in my little town of Mercersburg, Pa. , a number of the students come to my store to buy books. They seem to love books. They buy classical fiction, poetry, philosophy and the like. It makes my day.

Sitting in my store about a year ago this poem hit me in the head

Why I have a book store

She’s as strong and opinionated as Ayn Rand

And she’s coming to read the books in my store

She’s as sensitive and interesting as Elizabeth Barrett Browning

and she can’t wait to read the stories by

James Joyce sitting on the shelves in my store

I know they will be here

Along with the young lad who can’t seem to get

enough Edgar Rice Burrows and who has seen

every episode of star trek in re runs

and has devoured every Harry Potter book

as soon as it came out

their all coming to read the books in my store

I know the boy who reads the strange books of

philosophy by Descartes

he’s already been here to read the books in my store
(along with his mom who thinks I’m strange)

I know the young lady who can’t seem to get

enough stories about fairies and the young lady

who’s fascinated by knives and swords and armor

they’re all coming to read the books in my store

All the other children they know are busy

on the defense against time called my space

or spending away the hours with “nothing” to do

but not the one’s who are coming to buy the books in my store

their out walking and exploring

Figuring out the world

discovering indian head arrow points in the woods

riding their bikes

and coming to buy the books in my store

it’s why i have a book store

and why I bother to put the poetry books on the shelf

along with the science fiction and the history

a future Einstein will visit one day

and I can’t fail him

A future Sartre hasn’t yet read “The Fly”

and a future Madame Curie hasn’t yet

been introduced to Byron or Shelley or Poe

I can’t fail them either

I will rebind the Dickens so another generation

can look at a period edition

I will put the Tom Swift and the Kipling

exactly where they should be

How else will they find them?

And when they ask me a question about

Gibran and the prophet I will give them my

opinion from long ago

when I was the little one going to the book store

and asking the same things

I will indulge the question “have you read them ALL?”

And give away as many books as I can for free

whenever it seems that the tiny spark i see

might be fanned into a flame

and a light that might one day provide

an illumination to the rest of the world

John Pollard

summer 2008

And you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I don’t mind. I will love and treasure the works of Byron, Shelley, Eugene Fields and the like all of my days and I will encourage other to explore their works. I will buy such books and put them into my shop even if they aren’t the best sellers on the Internet. Sure, you can read the works of Eugene Fields on the Internet, but it doesn’t compare to holding a book in your hand that is 100 years old and full of Victorian era illustrations. Walking Through the Woods on A snowy evening is much richer when I’m reading it out of a book that was printed before I was born.

To all those who love books and labor in their shops, hoping to make enough to pay the bills – I know you too are dreamers –

and I know I’m not the only one.

John Pollard
Obviously related to Don Quixote as I’m constantly tilting at windmills
perpetual dreamer of dreams
lover of poetry
and custodian of books in my little shop

5 thoughts on “why i have a book store”

  1. Thanks – you touched my heart and made my day.

    Live long and prosper – but please don’t specialize – the world and its people need you to touch as many souls as possible.

    The blessings of books …

    “Everyday I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
    – Albert Einstein

  2. Evetually the online selling will be a rat-race and a brick-mortar store is necessary for a bookseller to survive. This is the reason why I opened my bookstore last year.

    • I am contemplating opening a used bookstore. I have read through many posts that provide great advice. However, I am still concerned with the up-front costs. How were you able to purchase your initial inventory? I am guessing that you did not have 15-20,000 books lying around your basement.

      Do you have any advice for a potential new bookstore owner?


      • Hi Jeff – thanks for taking the time to comment. For myself, once I made the big decision I just started hording. Went to all the usual haunts (library sales, yard sales, thrift shops, Craigslist) inventoried them into Homebase and put them all into numbered bankers boxes. We opened about a year later with about 5000 books. As soon as we opened the stock blossomed. Finding inventory was the easiest part for us – books found us, in droves! We tripled that inventory the following year.

  3. Online sales have made it possible for me to buy the books most dear to me which I otherwise would be unable to get due to medical.I can travel the world in my armchair and see the wonders of the world.I appreciate the convienience of online stores, now the question is—Do you still have The Rest Of The Road by Don Blanding and is it for sale at an afforable price? Thanks

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