It is true, we opened the shop in early December with just a few hundred books on the shelves. When I first began talking with publishers and book warehouses there were plenty of options. I thought there were a lot ofAcronyms and Creative Titles for things in my previous careers in Pharmaceutical Sales and Insurance.
Well it appears the book business has it’s own share and I am struggling (with the help of a giant binder on “How to Open A Bookstore”, thank you Paz & Associates) to figure out what they all mean. When you start a new contract with a Publisher or Book Distributor and inform them that you are opening a new bookstore they immediately ask if you would like to complete a ROSI (Recommended Opening Store Inventory to those of you out there not in the book biz) , or would you like to use “Above the Tree Line” (sounds prettier but basically the same thing). At first it sounds like a good idea, after all they probably know more than I do, I am new to this game. So I requested the forms and started filling them out. They ask questions like how many square feet of shelf space does your store have? What percentage of fiction, vs non-fiction would you like? What percentage of spiritual books , self-help books, business planning books, classical literature, etc would you like to carry.
Honestly, not being so much of a numbers gal my head was spinning, and no where did they ask me if I wanted to carry books with really beautiful bindings , or what percentage of shelf space I thought should be dedicated to The Princess Bride.
So I went out on a limb.
While the idea of some computer somewhere making all of the decisions for my opening inventory seemed a heck of a lot easier (once you got past the math on the request form) , it did not feel like MY store and it just did not feel right. Basically theywere offering to deliver “A Bookstore in A Box” that would be turnkey and ready to open fully stocked on day one.
We instead opted to curate our entire inventory ourselves with input from our community. It is certainly a slower way to go and at first the shelves looked a bit empty but now just a few months later the shelves are filling up nicely and I can honestly say as I look around that I am surrounded by books that all MEAN something to me and/or to our community members and those that shop in our bookstore. We ask everyone that comes in to recommend their favorite books and guess what…then we order them.
We are not Everywhereville, USA we are St.Francisville. We are a unique and beautiful community and I want to build a unique and beautiful selection of books for our bookshop. So I invite you to submit your favorites to me in the comments section of this blog and to help us build the best selection of any small bookshop anywhere.
Quote of the Day : (could not decide which of these expresses my feelings about today’s blog best so I submit two thoughts for you today – ENJOY! )
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success”. – Napoleon Hill
“The best way to succeed is to discover what you love and find a way to offer it to others”. – Oprah Winfrey