I’m currently on the Hawaiian island of Kauai enjoying a little sun, sand, and gawking at shirtless men relaxation.
I even get to pretend it’s an important business trip, assuming “business” means reading Deb Elise’s fabulous book Populazzi on the beach and visiting a bookstore to research this week’s Debutante Ball blog topic.
The latter wasn’t just any bookstore. Talk Story on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is actually the western-most bookstore in the United States, a fact the owner proudly shares with visitors along with a hearty helping of aloha spirit.
Talk Story specializes in used, rare, and collectible books. As a lifelong devotee of thrift stores and secondhand shops, I feel right at home there.
As an author though, I often field questions about used bookstores. You don’t get royalties from those book sales, right? How do you feel about that?
I can’t speak for all authors (though if anyone knows where I can sign up for this job, let me know) What I can tell you is how I feel about used bookstores.
I love them.
I love the way they smell and the cozy clutter of the shelves. I love never knowing what I might find tucked between that tattered copy of Everyone Poops and the dog-eared Beyond Heaving Bosoms. I love pawing through the stacks for authors I’ve never heard of but am eager to sample at a discounted price.
Despite what authors might wish, most book buyers don’t have unlimited funds. Used bookstores offer a lower-priced option that makes it likely readers will take a chance on an unfamiliar author or genre.
For debut authors like me, that’s exciting. If someone tries my book and likes it, odds are good they’ll recommend it to friends and family. It’s likely they’ll all keep an eye out for my next book, some of them paying full price when it hits shelves.
As a longtime used bookstore shopper, that’s always been the case for me. How many times have I bought something at a used bookstore and loved it enough to recommend it to my book club? (That’s not a trick question – the highly scientific answer is “a butt-load of times.”)
Not only that, used bookstores give readers the opportunity to exchange their previously loved books for store credit, which leads to – you guessed it – more reading! That can only be a good thing.
Are you a fan of used bookstores? Do you share my fondness for all things secondhand? Please share!
In the meantime, I’ll be kicking back with a mai tai enjoying my new purchases. Aloha!