Old Booksellers

As I worked my typical Friday shift in the Redemptorist Center bookstore today, a young lady — well, she is younger than I am — came in with her book and asked if we would consider carrying it in our bookstore.  I told her I would do the standard ‘check’ I do for all books

  • Is our vendor carrying a large quantity — if he is, it means the book is selling.
  • How is it doing on Amazon — certainly not the end-all indicator, but it is worth a look.

The vendor was carrying a ‘substantial’ quantity at their site, the ‘secondary’ site, which I have figured out is where they store all independent and self-published books.  It was doing ‘OK’ on Amazon.  Having played the game, if an author is under a million, he or she is at least in the top 20% of books sold.  As I researched her book, she told me how most people don’t understand how difficult it is to write a book.  That stopped me in my tracks.

“Lady,” I said more harshly than I intended, “I’m working on my sixth novel.  I understand how ‘difficult’ it is to complete this compelling task of love that we call writing a book.”

I think I set her back on her heels, unintentionally.  In the final analysis, I told her — and I did — I would order several copies from our vendor for our shelves.  She was most appreciative.

How shameful is it that I cannot recall her title of her book or her name?  I will post it tomorrow!  She is absolutely right.  Very few people know how difficult it is to write a book, particularly all of those people with such great ideas that ‘never got around to it.’ 

Bless the hearts of all those people who do have the courage to do it, and then have the courage like my new friend to personally go from bookstore to bookstore selling their wares.  A final thought …

Here’s one of the greatest compliments I have received in recent years …. A lady was passing by the ‘new book’ display and picked up Fra Rohr’s latest offering Silent Compassion. “That’s his latest book,” I commented.  That led to a lengthy conversation.  She bought the book.  Before she left the store, she said to me, “You remind me of the old booksellers — she was 75 if she was a day.  When you see someone looking at a book, you can lead them down the road to other books.”  That made my day. 

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