I work in a retail environment and have a Friday to Tuesday “working week”. I really enjoy these days as Saturday and Sunday are really busy and the days just go by very quickly. Also it gives me a chance to look at all the books we have in stock and see if I can memorise which ones we have, where they are on the selves and if we actually stock a particular one a customer is after. Sadly it doesn’t allow me to actually read the books while I work as we have so much to do reading even the back of a book is frowned upon. I do wish book stores would put aside a dedicated reading time for their employees so they could familiarise themselves with the books especially the new releases. I didn’t even know Diana Gabaldon had a new book out until a customer bought it up to the counter to purchase. Admittedly books are the only thing we sell in our store as we are based in an airport as well. But it would be nice if we could have a dedicated reading time.
When I open and run my own bookstore I will have a dedicated reading time once a week for staff, poetry and short story readings for aspiring writers. If they don’t want to read their own work we can get someone else to do that for them. We’ll have a section solely for poetry (I do love my poetry). I’ll have a newsletter with all the bells and whistles and we’ll open on Sundays (which won’t be my “Wednesday”). We’ll have afternoon tea on weekend days and talk about what everyones been reading.
I know dreams are for free, but one day I would like to open a bookstore like the one above and just give the community I live in something to look forward to. I would like to think in the future bookstores are a cross between a library, community house and an art space (cafe optional). I think that’s where bookstores need to focus in on. I know selling books is the number one job for them but if Amazon and Book Depository keep selling at discounted prices the physical bookstores will look more and more like relics that belong in the past and have no place in the future of the book trade. Bookstores as a collective (indie and chain stores) need to broaden their scope on what they are willing to do for the community. There is so much potential for a book seller to market itself as more than just a place to buy a book or pass some time until you’re supposed to be somewhere else.
I would go on further but I might leave it for when I am thinking more coherently and not so tired. I might even put it in my first long form essay.
It’s late where I am, my hot chocolate has gone cold and I need to get up early for my “Thursday” at the bookshop.
I’ll leave with a haiku about books.