Pandemic Book Browsing : A Tipping Point

Another in my series where I post a video about someone’s home library, or a used bookshop browse, or anything that allows us to wander through a room of old books.

This video is a bit of a departure from the others I have posted so far. Less joy, less serenity. But, lots and lots of books, and for me at least a different kind of joy. This shop would have been a great candidate for my Book Tidying Fantasy Camp. And the fact that the store is now closed makes my retrospective FOMO go off the charts.

When I see a store like this, I don’t just think what I might discover, but I think about wanting to organize it. And I don’t just think about wanting to organize it, I start thinking about the process I would use to get it organized. I would say a full 60% of my fantasy life is about process. If I think about inheriting a ton of money, it isn’t long before I start thinking of process questions. What kind of lawyers would I need to hire? If I start that charity who should I have on my board? How would I go about hiring staff? Do I work out of my home at first or find some space somewhere? How would I find someone to design my logo?

But back to process fantasies about chaotic bookstores. What would be the first thing I would do?

  1. For this one, first thing would be recycling all non-essential papers. Seems to be more than a few stacks of that kind of thing.
  2. Then I would clear a front corner for sorting. Given the space restrictions, it would have to be a small area–and it would create more short term mayhem in the rest of the store.
  3. Everything in the aisles would be put in boxes and then those boxes stacked up to the ceiling in the empty corner.
  4. Discard any cat skeletons I find.
  5. Once the aisles are clear I would get all of the obvious losers off the shelves. Things like Self-Help, which can’t have much resale value. Not to mention the fact that most of them are total bullshit. I would probably put them out on the sidewalk for a one-day free give away. Then they go somewhere else…
  6. Now that I think of it, #5 would also apply to those boxes I stacked up in #3.
  7. This would probably give me enough space to organize the shelves.
  8. Then I would open up the boxes and place those books in their appropriate sections. No doubt, this would start to create some piles in the aisles (ooh, say that phrase out loud, I like how that sounds), but hopefully not too bad. This step would also free up that area in the front corner that was used for the stacks of boxes.
  9. At this point, the store should be navigable for those who wish to be adventurous.
  10. Now I need to make sure my desk is set up properly so I can have a decent work space for assessing each book in turn.
  11. Prior to getting serious about inventorying the stock, I would probably also look in general what I had and decide if I want to jettison any subjects. I’d be super tempted to 86 sports for starters. But who knows. Even for those subjects I would have to assess each one to get an understanding what is worth putting online and what I just donate.
  12. With sports (or similar) gone, I’ve got a bit more room to spread out.
  13. And so it continues…
  14. I begin to put stuff in the window, I put up clever signs, keep the tables outside appropriately interesting.
  15. Is this the point at which I adopt a gentle senior dog to hang out in the store with me?
  16. Get rich.

7 thoughts on “Pandemic Book Browsing : A Tipping Point

  1. Karen K. February 16, 2021 / 3:25 pm

    I’m not sure if I would be thrilled or horrified to organize someone else’s bookshop! Of course it’s probably a lot easier than doing one’s own — no emotional baggage.

    And YES PLEASE to the 86 of Self-Help. I hate it. Begone!


  2. Peter Gardner (@PeterGa15286465) February 16, 2021 / 3:59 pm

    I agree with you about Self-Help books but Sport is different: admittedly most books about sport are rubbish but when you get a good one it can be really good. The best book about sport I’ve ever read is John Arlott’s “Gone to the Test Match”. Andre Agassi’s autobiography was also very good.


  3. gina in alabama February 16, 2021 / 4:13 pm

    I did a little research. the bookstore shown above has been replaced by a Real Estate Agency office. the irony is stunning.


  4. lizipaulk February 16, 2021 / 9:37 pm

    I laughed at the cat skeleton comment!!


  5. Malvina Y February 17, 2021 / 2:25 am

    Just, wow. Imagine what that bookseller knew. I hope he took a personal stash to read in his retirement.


  6. Ruthiella February 17, 2021 / 11:59 pm

    Presumably no mouse skeletons because they would have been eaten by the cat.


  7. Jeane February 20, 2021 / 12:15 pm

    I don’t know if that bookstore would have been delightful to browse through- think of all the hidden treasures! or terrifying- what if a stack fell on you. Sad that it’s gone, though. I always wonder what happens to all the books when a place like that closes- I really hope they went to another bookseller or some glad readers, and didn’t go in masses to the recycling bin.


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