My professional book association (ABAA), Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, has been running a chat line of weird experiences concerning book buying. One man said he went to a book store while visiting in Fiji and bought back a book he had long ago sold to his local collector.
It brought to mind a couple of sales in my store. A lady wanted to buy an early arithmetic book, a soft cover she had used in her fourth grade, to show the contrast to her daughter’s current curriculum. I looked at the women -– about 50 years old. I said, “Sorry, I don’t carry any school books, and no soft covers, none at all.” If I don’t see a market for a book, it doesn’t take up shelf space. I do buy odd-ball books that appeal to me personally, thinking someone else might share my quirky taste, and it works.
She wandered around, and returned to the desk with a floppy book, and says. “Here it is.” I stare at the arithmetic book in her hand, astonished. What!!! I was speechless. I wrote it up, dumbfounded. She said, “Thank you,” and left.
Another time. A chatty lady walked in, an out-of-towner visiting for a wedding. She said after kissing all those cheeks, she shoots out to her favorite stores when she travels, collectible book stores. Drifting around, she reminded herself, “My sister had a favorite girl’s series book. She loved the first in the series, and I try to find it.” An obscure series, I don’t remember the name, but I did have one. Only the second in the run. She said, “OK, why not.”
I got a phone call from her a few days later. She said, “My sister screamed when I gave her the book. She pushed it in my face, and said See, see, it’s MY book, here’s my name!” It went all the way home to Oregon.
You can’t get this with a Kindle. God bless books.