Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 47/365 The Iceman Cometh and He Bringeth Books

Winter arrived this morning. I was sorting books and heard this odd rustling sound, and realized it was rain on the roof. Really really hard rain. Like ice. Sortof a wimpy version, half slush, half ice, and gone even as I'm typing this. But even that slush can't be a good sign.

Being the summer-loving, warm-weather craving person I am, I promptly ran away from winter and hid in my book room.

Those of you who sell on ebay know the amount of *stuff* that occupation requires. If you sell books, you know that they are everywhere. At our house, things progressed to the point that we were using stacks of books for end tables, and occasional impromptu seating for sudden visitors.

So, we built the bookroom: heated, air-conditioned or dehumified as the season warrants, carpeted, sealed against insects, and full of shelves so that titles could be neatly organized and classified. Everything worked out, except the "neatly organized part".

Part of being a bookseller is being a book addict. You have to love them. Really, I mean you have to. You will never become wealthy selling books, they will never get any easier to move, and you will never get any younger or less arthritic. So, you really have to love books to be a professional bookseller.

The word "addict" is by definition too much of anything. Say.... books, for example. I began reading when I was 3. In first grade I won a prize for reading 100 books. They were not from the school library, they were all mine. I still have them.

I was 35 before I gave away a book, permanently. I have never not finished a book. I simply cannot leave those characters hanging.

This sort of mindset leads to having literally thousands of books, theoretically 'neatly organized' in the bookroom, but in truth, they are everywhere in the house: genealogy, history and gardening are running off the shelves in my office (and have literally brought one plastic bookcase to its knees); medieval history, literature, philosophy, art, science, architecture are
somewhat vaguely shelved in the livingroom, mixed in with homeschool textbooks; scifi and fiction fill up the bedroom, and the landing is full of keepsake books that belong to my daughter,
whom I have corrupted into being a booklover, and who now has her own bedroom full of books of military history, weapons, martial arts, dragons and fairy lore.

Obviously this affliction is contagious.

For those of you who are my bookbuying clientele (I recently learned there are a couple of you out there reading this), here's a tour of the book room, recently home to that volume you now own:

Dosen't look like much, but note there is a deadbolt lock on the door, in case the days of Fahrenheit 451 come around again. If the books go, I go.
This is actually a very tidy condition, since I have stopped buying stock, owing to the uncertainty of the ebay marketplace, and the necessity of moving the vast majority of listings over to Amazon. Usually boxes are stacked so high and so wide, I can hardly get in the door.
The Mickey Mouse phone on the top shelf is just for looks. Even if the boxes fell on me, and I called for help, no one would come - they would see it as an inevitable event I brought on myself, and good riddance.

The long, long, Amazon mile. These actually are organized, specifically by stock number, and the top two shelves are even alphabetical, having been pulled off ebay when it lost its mind earlier this year.

The other long wall is full of love and heroes, longing and yearning - yes, it's the Romance Aisle. I love my romance readers - they are the most loyal of customers, the most devoted to their particular authors, and, I suspect, the most optimistic of all of us. I have a special tuckin for my romance buyers with interesting little tidbits they can flaunt at people who mock them:
55% of all books sold are romances. They are the one genre that is growing by leaps and bounds.
Of the people reading romance 42% have a bachelors degree, 15% have a doctorate, and 22% are men. What would we do without romance?

This is the *secret* stash of books. It actually goes back for another two sections, stands 6 shelves tall, and all of the shelves are doublestacked. This is my inventory that I pull from to list. I'm slowly working my way through it. It's mostly non-fiction, history, although somehow I ended up with a number of 1950's fiction horse books, and some Doubleday science fiction. Not entirely sure how they snuck in.
So this is where I am these days - sorting books, pulling books to list, culling a few unfortunate titles to send to the library sale, but mostly ending up sitting in the floor and reading, getting caught up in one title or another, getting my daily fix.


  1. Wow...that's a LOT of books! You should open your own bookstore (in the "real" world). :)

  2. Yep, that's my dream. Probably not a realistic one, but there it is.

    Plus, the majority of the books are in the house, still filling in for furniture.

  3. That IS A LOT OF BOOKS - and what a great place you have for them.

  4. Yes, you are the queen of books! We had a ton of sleet today and like you said, it lasted for about 10 minutes. But it was pretty cool watching it coming down.