This is a guest blog from my friend Melissa, a fellow bookstore owner. Please, if you live near Baltimore, share this information. Thanks!
My name is Melissa Eisenmeier. I own the Parkville Bookworm, a used bookstore in the Baltimore, Maryland, suburbs. It’s the perfect job for me: I have to read books to recommend them to customers. I get to talk to and meet all kinds of interesting customers, from Kathryne, a fellow history junkie and cat lover; Alicia, who plays guitar, likes science, and Stan Lee, my staff cat; the lady who comes in with her husband once a week and recently told me her cat is Stan Lee’s girlfriend; and Karen, my outsource buyer(Jack and Wendy would likely call her the no-cash crew). I enjoy showcasing all the cool books out there. My customers seem to like the store, too; I often get told this.
Things were going fairly well in June, but I still wasn’t quite making enough to pay the bills. The past two months have kicked my butt, however. July and August, as I expected and tried to plan for, have been slower than I would like, and I quickly ran through what money I had set aside. I tried some different stuff to draw people in, from art shows to book clubs(the art show with Jenny O’Grady went over really well, and she was a lot of fun to have in the store).
When the credit union told my business partner she was at her limit, I knew I had to act fast. I didn’t want to close the bookstore, and we couldn’t borrow any more money. I decided to turn to my customers. I did the math, and figured out if I could get all 325 people or so who liked the bookstore’s Facebook page as of Thursday afternoon to come in and spend $10 by the end of the month, then I could make the rent, pay my assistant Lisa, and pay all my other bills.
The Parkville Bookworm is located at 2300 E. Joppa Road in Parkville, MD. The store is located across from Taco Bell, and the entrance faces Ed an Jim’s Auto Body Shop. You can also find us on Facebook.
And of course I encourage you to support your local bookstore if you’re lucky enough to have one. Should you not, you can message the bookstore’s Facebook page with a short list of books, or send an Excel sheet or Google spreadsheet list to me at email@example.com. If it’s in stock, I can mail it after we do a credit card transaction..
The lady translating my book from English to Korean emailed a few days ago with several questions. We had a good time sorting out idioms and idiosyncrasies, but I knew I was in trouble when HyoungEun emailed a second time to ask: In chapter 23, does “Fuquay Avenue” have something to do with porn? (Am I missing something here?) Or is it just the timing that made Mr Beck laugh so hard?
After cleaning up the coffee I’d spit across the keyboard, I reflected on why, in fact, Jack and I had laughed so hard. For those of you who haven’t read Little Bookstore, you’ve gotta get through Chapter 23 to know what we’re talking about. We couldn’t get outta that town fast enough. (Although I am reliably informed by a sweet reader who recognized her home turf that it has some really nice shopping AND a lovely Middle Eastern restaurant just a few streets over.)
Then, in an attempt to answer HyoungEun’s question, I sent her this response (I have replaced the word in question with ‘eff’ because, quite frankly, about every three days someone finds my blog by searching for “Fulton Ave Books” and “redheaded Wendy porn.” (I have NO idea!) I get enough porn-related search phrases as it is. It would be nice if Google and Yahoo would stop sending inquiring dirty minds my way. There are some lonely, unhappy weirdos out there, and I only wrote about Evansville once!)
HYOUNGEUN: Oh I’m laughing so hard my computer is shaking. Fuquay is a little too close to a word in English that is considered very vulgar. Eff means having sex but it connotes a rather joyless and loveless, merely physical, experience. Bored people and professional sex workers eff. The rest of us make love, or have sex. So Fuquay was a very French sounding way of saying eff and it was in the middle of those lovely mansions and spelled out on a wrought iron street sign, like it was trying to be really classy and wonderful, and it was just this street sex nasty term. (And totally unexpected, just after all those porn shops.) That’s why it made Jack laugh so hard.
HyoungEun sent back a swift response: Oh, of course I know what eff means! (Seen a lot of NC-17 movies. Ahem.) … I should’ve asked this from the start, cause I’ve been searching Google (and Yahoo and….etc.) the whole time and Google God failed me again! They say ‘If you are desperate, you go to Google result page2.’ I went much farther than ‘page2.’
That poor kid. What will the cookies on her computer be doing tomorrow? Will she have to explain anything to her boss? Call me if you need back-up, HyoungEun! I know what those search engines do. It ain’t pretty.