Why Aren't You Buying Used Books Right Now?

Last week I wrote a review of a collection of food essays titled “The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage” for the debut issue of Devour, the new foodie magazine for the Cape Fear Area. Discussing it over dinner with two of my favorite writers, Karen Bender and Robert Siegle, I heard myself say “Well, in our house it might take a moving truck.”

About eight times a day we get a phone call at the bookstore from someone wanting to sell us books. “We have about 3,000 boxes we haven’t even opened yet.” I respond.
“Where?” you might well ask, and frequently people do.

If you came in late to the story, we moved a little over three years ago when our old location got condemned. The majority of boxes of books went into the basement of a near-by building that we rented. What would not fit there was taken to both our house and my father’s house. When we moved into the new building I hired movers to take the majority of the boxes from our house to the second floor of the new building. Currently, there are close to 3,000 boxes still upstairs of the bookstore. Jock, the most patient man in America, had survived almost a year of walking through shoulder-height tunnels of boxes of books from the front door to the kitchen, the bathroom and our bedroom. He jacked up the floors of the house to keep them from collapsing and could not have been more supportive if he tried. But by the time our new building got a certificate of occupancy, he was ready to at least see where the living room furniture had been hibernating for the last year.

Slowly we have been getting things unpacked and on shelves for the last two and half years. But it is an arduous task. Frequently compared to Sisyphus with the bolder, there are days it feels more akin to Hercules and Augean Stables. In the last couple of weeks Seth has brought several pick up truck loads of boxes from Daddy’s house. There are probably about 2 ½ more loads until we have all the bookstore stuff out of his immediate living area. We plan to have that accomplished in the second week of June - it is on the calendar.

Back at the house with Jock there are still two rooms that we have not been able to walk into for longer than I am proud of. The boxes of books literally block the doors from opening.
“You know one day you are going to show as one of those stories in the paper about people killed by a collapse of the stuff they hoarded, you know that?”
That’s tough to hear from the man you love.
To prevent that predication from coming true, on Tuesday Seth and I are going to unload the contents of the back bedroom of the house into probably about 10 pick-up truck loads that will come to the bookstore. Over the next couple of months we will get them unpacked, priced and on shelves. Lots of exciting new stuff that we forgot we had, things we have been looking for, and treasures we never imagined are all sure to be there.

I like to say that every day of my life is like Christmas: I wake up and open a box - and I have no idea what will be inside. It’s a surprise! Some days it’s great and I find an autographed Hemingway. Other days it is yet another box of Harlequins. Let’s hope for more of the first.

So, that is why we are not buying more used books right now. Sorry.
Please be patient with the assortment of boxes that will be showing up - they contain wonderful treasures - as well as the key to my continued romantic bliss!

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  1. A Wilmington Institution since 1982
  2. Buying Old Books: The ultimate Recycling
  3. Best African American Literature Selection in Town
  4. Extensive Foreign Language Section: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese
  5. The ONLY bookstore in town to deliver!
  6. Paperback Classics at affordable prices (Great for English classes!)
  7. Incredible Judaica Section
  8. Largest selection of scripts and Theatre/Film books in Town
  9. Where else are you going to find a first edition for under $10?
  10. Bibliophiles rock!