Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Book Store Up For Adoption

Now that I have a job, the process of letting the book store go has ramped up in urgency. I don't know my start date yet, don't even have the formal offer where human resources will presumably draw up a salary and benefits package and I will either accept or negotiate. At least, I assume that's what will happen based on tidbits I've been able to gather from others who have gone through a similar process (and some sheer conjecture). This is unmapped territory for me, as it is my first non-military job as an adult. One thing I've learned during my Navy years about the government bureaucracy bus is that the wheels turn slowly, and sometimes it stops in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. But, I do know that I will be starting a new job, most likely before the planned end of my old one.

So, now that the end is in sight, the need to marry the good books up with good owners has become increasingly pressing. I have no compunction about the only so-so books that make up half my stock. They can go wherever, and I couldn't care less. But the good ones, I consider it my job to find them homes. One of my book club members came in yesterday and said her mother was looking for some specific children's books, and I just about fell all over myself trying to cajole her to tell her mother about two of my favorites. I just can't imagine shipping Giraffes Can't Dance and The Two Bobbies back to the cold, impersonal distribution warehouse. Some kid HERE needs those books! They need to be handled, read, loved, drooled on. So I've adopted something of a used car salesman tactic of shamelessly promoting my personal favorites. So what if he came in for a vampire novel? Surely he has a niece who is starting school next month and will need to have Splat the Cat read to her to help calm her fears. Splat the Cat, by the way, has a mouse for a best friend, which I find very cool. That babygrandmama who came in for a couple of classics? Please, take this interactive Dog book. One of the pull tabs makes a dog lift his leg and pee, for God's sake! Don't even get me started on the art section and cook books.

In the last few days, I've been trying to come up with ways to get people to come down and let me do a psychic reading of their literary tastes and pair them up with books that they need. This may or may not involve a Vulcan mindmeld, and I am only half-kidding. A regular customer suggested that I run a book adoption promotion yesterday. If the animal shelters can do it, why not? Anybody out there have any other ideas?

Ideally, someone from the community would make me an offer on the whole store--inventory, fixtures and all--take it out to the main street and reopen. They'd have to take their lumps for a year or two, but I believe they'd then move on to firmer ground. I think this idea can make it under that scenario, and I do believe Petersburg needs a book store. The combination of main street visibility, historical tourism, a pedestrian friendly downtown and the BRAC influx would eventually stabilize the money in-money out ratio. I just don't have it in me to start over like that. But if anyone out there knows someone interested in that scenario, I'd love to talk with them.

1 comment:

Monti said...

Please check out my comments about independent bookstores and small publishers at

I am so sorry you are closing. I am in PRAC and am excited about what's happening now in downtown.

All the best,
Mary Montague Sikes