Monday, February 20, 2023

Snapshot & memories: Our little bookstore

Facebook served this up today as my photo memory from 12 long years ago. Have I posted this picture before on Papergreat? With 3,500-plus posts, who knows? Who hell even writes an ephemera blog with 3,500-plus posts?

This is the "guest room" in the basement of our house on Ashland Drive in West Manchester Township. That was two houses ago. Most of the time we lived there, the guest room was actually occupied by human beings who were staying with us for various reasons. But there was a period when we had no lodgers and, simultaneously, Joan and I were expanding our long-running side business of selling used books on Amazon and, later, at the Dover Antique Mall. It was not what you'd call a lucrative side hustle, but it was a tremendous amount of fun. We did eventually get overambitious, though. At one point our entire garage was filled with boxes of books. We eventually winnowed that down and moved the remaining boxes to this basement room. This photo from February 20, 2011, shows we had gotten to the point where Mr. Bill could fit into the room alongside the books, too. 

After books were assessed and listed for sale on Amazon, they went onto the shelves to await sale and shipping. Most of the books you see here never did sell. Books sales on Amazon were always a long, slow affair, until they completely cratered with the flood of mega-volume sellers and penny books. A lot of folks got out of online book-selling at that point and never returned. 

But I'm not going to digress about the crash of used book sales online. What interests me about this photo is that I sorted our "for sale" books by color. I'm not entirely sure what the point of that was. I suppose each book had a photo with its online listing, so I had a starting point for searching after a sale was made. But it's a truly odd way to sort books (not to mention that they're vertically stacked!). It probably helped that I had a much, much better photographic memory back then, so I had a Spidey sense for where everything was. But this wouldn't have worked with my cognitive function as it now stands. Alphabetical or bust, baby.

This was also the room where I kept items that could be turned in Papergreat posts. I had a couple drawers full of such stuff — a lot of early material came from those boxes of used books and the things that were tucked away inside of them. Twelve years ago today, the Papergreat post was "A photo of Ruth Manning-Sanders." That was only the 31st post ever on the blog!! This is the 3,546th!

1 comment:

  1. I just recently winnowed my own Amazon bookstore collection for similar reasons. Too many listed that would actually result in a loss after Amazon's take. The books I have listed now easily fit on half of a small bookcase. Organizing by color is actually genius, I wish I'd thought of it when I had my full volume going. It was always a pain searching through my tubs to find that one book that sold. It was always the last one in the tub.