In Monday’s post I mentioned the number of books sold in the US in a year. Of course, books were on my mind because I had just been to one of my four favorite libraries, and one of the selections I had checked out was Gary Goodman’s memoir, The Last Bookseller: A Life in the Rare Book Trade. Today I dived into Goodman’s book and I’m remembering my experience with independent book sellers. Glutton that I am, I’ve lived with stacks of books waiting to go to the used-book shop. Rarely were my discards expensive.
But, I’ve also filled in as an assistant when a bookseller friend broke her wrist and could only type one-handed. I learned not just to admire used books, but also to describe them online. One day I was entering the initial info for a well-known novel that I had not read. Sure, I was welcome to take it home, as long as I would let go of it if a buyer showed interest. I read it, as I often do, propped up in bed and when I was sleepy, I left the book on the floor beside my bed. I soon finished reading it, took it back to the book seller, and finished the on-line data. Turned out to be an important first edition in pristine condition, and I had left it on the floor! Four hundred dollars! But I’m enjoying Goodman’s stories about buying and selling books, being as I am, like him, now on two ends of that process, writing the book and selling it.