Box Store?

Jack’s regular Wednesday guest post examines his guilty conscience –

One of the areas of contention between Wendy and me regarding the bookstore is the thorny issue of ‘tidiness’ and cleanliness. To explain further – I favor the Aladdin’s Cave model of used bookstore, while Wendy would rather everyone be able to find any book easily through rigorous alphabetizing and categorizing. In addition, I have no sense of smell, so tracking down elusive cat pee is next to impossible for me.

I’m not oblivious to the delights of a clean and tidy store and I do get a satisfying feeling when it gives out that general ambience. I’d even admit to really appreciating visits to other bookstores that achieve that kind of slick well organized look. So, what to do?

The cleanliness and cat-pee problem is ably dealt with by our ‘wonder-woman’ Heather every Monday and even I appreciate the difference after she is finished.

However our other big problem is not having anywhere to easily store large donations of books when they appear by the box-load. A couple of bags is one thing, but eight or ten large boxes is something else and we can’t let them clutter up floor space. Sorting out the acceptable from the non-acceptable usually results in at least a couple of boxes of ‘throwaways’ and they need to go somewhere – at least temporarily. Up to now that has been the garage, but that has now been taken over by (horrors) a car!

MidGe in the garage.

MidGe in the garage.







To the point –

Two of our good friends, (mother and son), who are regular attenders at our various evening events, brought us ten large boxes of books just the other night. Another gripe – books are heavy, so shifting large boxes is back-breaking work. Luckily their taste in reading is eclectic so at least the collection can be spread pretty evenly throughout the store. While the needlework gang were busy setting the world to rights last night I made a start and, sure enough, out of the ten boxes I rapidly identified two boxes worth of ‘throwaways’ (actually three liftable boxes).

We absolutely hate throwing away books and will even turn them into planters or hand-bags and purses to avoid that terrible fate, but sometimes it just has to be done (I think the reason the garage filled up with books is for just that reason).

Today is garbage day and I have a heavy heart – not only because the erstwhile contents of the garage wait at the curbside, but there are three boxes sitting forlornly waiting the same fate.

Mea Culpa!

12 thoughts on “Box Store?

  1. Jack — We have had somewhat the same problem as we contemplate our collection of ancient college text books. (Why did we think we would ever peek inside them again?) We need to reduce clutter, but we do not want to just dump them, Good news! Our local college bookstore (E&H) sends used books off to a recycler, and they willingly add ours to the mix. Surely UVA-Wise will do the same for you. Kathy

    • Hey Judy – she has just been stripped to the bare and re-painted professionally. She’s in the garage to allow the paint to properly cure without getting any rain-spots burned in. As soon as the weather improves she’ll be out and about again.

  2. I am all for getting rid of stuff you will not use or sell even if it has to go to the dump. You cannot save the world or it’s stuff!

  3. Thank you for giving books second/third/fourth chances. And thank you for having the strength to do the necessary thing. I am guilty of donating some books that have no future but I feel terrible throwing them away; think of yourself as The Cleaner.

    • The staff or people who buy them there bring them back to us. We used to donate to places and put B on the bottom of the books so we could show they were donated. Then it got too busy. We like the idea of letting them still circulate, but we have to have a way of pointing out they’ve been here and left. Anyone with ideas, please let us know!

      • When purging shelves, we marked the bottom pages with a black magic marker. We didn’t take books with this mark in trade, unless it was a sure fire sale. Years later, we still know what we had donated.

  4. Friends of the Library, almost everywhere, will accept all books, put them in their annual sale. There is always the Salvation Army or Goodwill.Tax write offs, if you do the paperwork. Anything to do with Storytelling, please send to Storytelling Resource Center at King Family Library, Sevierville, TN. We have open shelves. On a personal note, I can’t smell much either. I have an in-house sniffer.

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