We love our many sellers at Alibris and we wanted to share their stories here on the blog. Below is a piece from Gloria Veltman, former brick and mortar bookseller and now Alibris seller, on life selling books and keeping up with all of them!
Shelves full of books. Stacks of books. Piles of books. In my house. Total books about three hundred give or take a few duplicates, the four on my bed side table, two garden books on the coffee table and two in the bathroom. This describes my book stash when I closed my used book store at the end of 2012 and entered semi-retirement. When customers asked me what I was going to do with all of my time, I always answered, “read the books I have been collecting for years and haven’t had time to read.”
A few months ago I spread all of the books from my various To-Read clusters out on my queen size bed. I had to resort to double and triple stacking. Then I began the weeding process. Out went the duplicates and a few tomes that had lost their allure. A meticulous count of what remained revealed a grand total of about two hundred and fifty books. That didn’t count the four books I was currently reading. Then in checking my reading log, I discovered my total of books read in 2013 was only five more than in 2012 and about the same as 2011.
How could this be? I was no longer working five or six days a week six to eight hours a day. After some thoujght, I came up with some possible answers. Volunteer work, garden and house duties, and family obligations had expanded to fill the hours that used to be spent at the store where, by the way, I didn’t read more than a couple of pages most days.
Further study revealed that reading a book from the To Reads frequently lead to a trip to the library for more titles by that author or more books in a new field of interest. Friends, thinking I now had lots of leisure time, also pressed must-reads on me. These all complicated my efforts to diminish my tottering piles.
But the biggest culprit, I discovered was my continued frequenting of book sales. I’m working on getting that compulsion under control. Now I try to focus on whether a book would be a good fit for my booth in the antique mall or to list on Alibris. Is it old enough? Interesting enough? Is it in good general condition? Does it have a dust jacket? For books of personal interest, I ask myself “Am I REALLY going to read this book? Soon? This year?”
As recently heard two women at a book sale say to each other, “it really is an addiction.” Her friend responded, “Yeah, there should be a support group for us.”
Gloria recently closed her used bookstore and semi-retired. She now sells books at Wilson’s Antiques in Acme, Michigan and online at Alibris.com.