Re-building my library is a whore’s paradise, I ain’t gonna lie. But it’s also terribly sad. Why? As I search the shelves of bookshops I see titles I used to own, but can’t afford to buy back. It would cost a fortune. Visions of grabbing a couple dozen of them, running out the door – pages whipping in the breeze as I flee – dance in my head.
What I need is a good distraction. A really good distraction. Anyone want to run interference for me?
It pays, buddy.
My collection of rare and out of print books was staggering. amassed over more than 20 years. Carefully culling them every few years like a gardener his roses, I had myself a prime library. Some of my collectibles are in showcases at Half Price Books. I absolutely loathe their ridiculous buying policy. Books they bought from me for a dollar or two sit there with $ 1,000 price tags.
What the ever-loving freak.
I owned the complete Folio Library set of George Eliot’s works. At HPB they’re marked $ 300. I didn’t pay anywhere near that, and I’m pretty doubtful that’s what they’re worth (NOTE: I haven’t actually checked). Such a smarmy business practice. I could stand by my principles and boycott them, but then where would I shop? For the interesting, older, more eclectic stuff there is nowhere else to go.
Interesting, older and eclectic. Stick that on my shortlist of memoir titles.
Oh, for the time and luxury to have sold them myself. God, I could have made a small fortune. I miss bookselling sometimes. It’s crossed my mind I could give it another go, for a bit of side income, but it’s incredibly time-consuming. Not only is there the locating of inventory, but entering it into a database, packing and shipping is a pain in the arse. To run a bookshop, you need a partner.
Alas, I’m partner-less.
My ex-husband despised me for all the books lying around the house, the piles by the computer, the shelves upon shelves in the basement. One time, he gathered them up from around the house and threw them down the basement stairs. I happened to be standing there, but he wasn’t aiming directly at me. Not physically. It felt violating and awful. Pages were folded, dust jackets ripped, smaller books bent by behemoths.
To this day I’m sure he has no clue how hurtful that was. If he did, he wouldn’t care.
That foul thief Amazon drove my first venture out of business. I had a dear friend in Florida who partnered with me, each of us with our own inventory, but after a couple of years it became all too obvious we were spending way more than we made.
But God it was fun while it lasted.
How should I show you my library? With pictures? Videos? A combination thereof?
Maybe I’ll do a combination of blog posts and vlogs (video blogs, if you’re scratching your head) (video blogs, even if you’re not). And Goodreads. I need to delete the stuff that’s gone and enter what I actually own.
I’d like to keep closer track of what I own. Already, they’re getting away from me. And each one has meaning. I don’t collect indiscriminately. Every book tells a story so much larger than what’s between the covers.
So little to do, so much time.
Strike that. Reverse it.
While it’s still manageable, I’d like to share what I own and why I own it. I smell a feature here. Or maybe it’s the dog.
WHERE IS THE DOG.
I like the idea of an irregular feature. I’ll show you mine without expecting you to show me yours. Wait. I’m getting ripped off.
Gather yourself, woman!
I need a couple more bookshelves, the perfect opportunity to start fresh arranging books and telling you about them. I’ll get those over the weekend, slap them together, and as soon as I can I’ll work on the first proper Bookmarks installment.
We have a plan.