Yesterday, Friday morning, we went to Northport early and loaded the truck up yet again with boxes of books from storage to donate to Goodwill. (Gotta shrink that footprint! Clear the way for workmen and new tenants!) David had other errands in Traverse City, too, so before noon he left on his appointed rounds. Bruce was on the job by 11 o’clock, and I went out then, on foot around Northport, to post and distribute announcements for my bookstore’s first author event of the season, which we will be holding across the street at Brew North and of which you will hear much more very soon. (Hint: She walked another thousand miles!) The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and it was a lovely day to be out and about in my little village, quiet this week with the school on spring break.
When I got back to Dog Ears, there was my new French correspondent, Ed, in town for the holiday weekend. Ed is studying French through Alliance Française and had written to me in French to practice his new language skills. But what was this? He had brought me a beautiful bouquet of bright tulips and an Easter basket containing, besides chocolate eggs and bunnies, a dozen fresh farm eggs from his own chickens! Does the CEO of the online behemoth book-and-everything-else-seller get Easter baskets from his customers, baskets topped with beautiful pale green* eggs? I seriously doubt it! (*Ed’s chickens are Ameraucana, A North American breed developed from the South American Auraucana.)
Next my friend Ellen arrived to take me to lunch, and she also brought bright, beautiful tulips! (We were celebrating my birthday a few days early.) Luckily, although shelf and table space is at a premium during these days of transition, I’d cleared away most of the temporary bookstore chaos earlier in the morning, so it was possible to find room for two vases of flowers.
While Ellen and I were at lunch, Bruce greeted customers and sold books, basking in the sunny front window, with Sarah relaxing in a nearby chair. Everyone was happy. That was Friday in a real bookstore.
In the virtual book world on the same day, life was not as bright and cheerful. The big news there was that the aforementioned online behemoth has swallowed up booklovers’ favorite social network! How could this be? Reaction ranged from somewhat suspicious speculation to sheer outrage.
“Will you write about it on your blog?” David asked. I told him I’d mention it and put in a couple of links but that I had no plans to discuss the buy-out at length or in depth, nor to offer my own opinions or speculations or predictions. There will be more than enough tweeting and twittering and shouting and quacking without my little voice added to (and lost in) the din.
I have my own little book world, and it’s very personal. In July I will be celebrating 20 years of Up North bookselling, face to face with my customers. My way of bookselling is old-fashioned. It is not innovative, and I am not on the “cutting edge.” On the other hand, my dog goes to work with me, people bring me flowers and eggs and chocolate, and I don’t think anyone actually hates me. After all, it’s not part of my business to put other booksellers out of business.
To sum up, as friends in New South Wales might put it, “Change places with that big CEO? Not for quids! Fair dinkum!”