Some of you may remember my list of ‘resolutions’ for 2014, typed in a fit of energy and self-righteousness several weeks ago.
Some of them have been a complete and utter failure…Let’s be honest, I haven’t read a single book from my Christmas tree.
I am still determined to delve into my Encyclopaedias, but it may have to wait for a time this year when I don’t have quite so much going on. Riiiight….
Getting The Paperbook Collective printed in colour and finding advertising are still very possible, but they are a slow burn project that probably won’t take off until later this year.
However, I am very happy, no, completely ecstatic to announce that resolution number five is well and truly underway!
Believe it or not, I have managed to start a Book Exchange in my city! I wrote about the tragic closure of two of our bookstores in Issue Six of The Paperbook Collective. In a city of roughly 68 000 people we were left with a total of one bookstore, and no second hand options available. You can imagine my dismay.
Now, however, I am sitting in a room packed with books, absolutely revelling in the feeling. People have really jumped on board with this project of mine, donating enough books to allow us to establish the beginnings of a healthy looking Book Exchange.
Of course, me being me, I have already raided the books and now have dozens lined up to read, but that is the beauty of it. Ultimate happiness.
As this is a community based project, I have no intention or desire to make money from it. The closure of the other two bookstores have demonstrated that relying on a bookstore for an income is the way to headaches and heartbreaks. Instead, this is a not-for-profit initiative that relies on donations of books. We are also keeping it insanely cheap to use – a gold coin donation to swap a book or $5.00 to purchase one outright. All proceeds then go towards buying new books, keeping the project flowing and self-funded.
So there you have it! I am hoping that this will demonstrate the ability of second-hand book exchanges to stay up and running. I am still fighting the good fight against the invasion of the electronic reader, by providing people in my city with the means to access a continual supply of real books for less than the cost of downloading one to their Kindle.
Of course, The Paperbook Collective has pride of place in my little store, along with a list of contributors so people can marvel in the diversity of our little magazine. And marvel they do.
I hope to have the zine version of Issue Seven completed in the next few days, so if you would like to order one please feel free to do so! Don’t forget that it is an open donation – all you have to do is pay for your postage and then donate whatever you feel that the magazine is worth to you.
Additionally, submissions are now open for Issue Eight! They will remain open until the 20th of February, so you have plenty of time to get something together and send it on through.
Here is the submission form for your convenience:
Last but certainly not least, something wonderful happened to me yesterday.
Firstly, those of you who have opened your own shop, or work in one, you will know the disappointment that comes with a lack of customers walking through the door. It is very disheartening, and leads to many thoughts along the lines of ‘why on earth am I doing this…am I crazy?’
But one customer can walk in and completely change your day, as happened to me yesterday. An elderly woman with a walking stick came into the store, and proceeded to browse around for a while. We chatted about inconsequential things. I could tell immediately that she wasn’t in the market for any of my products, rather she had just come through for something to do.
Still, she had a good look around and when she came across The Paperbook Collective section, with plenty of my signature typewriters, the woman turned to me and changed my day.
‘Would you like a typewriter?’ she asked.
‘Would I ever!’ was my excited reply.
She went on to tell me that they had an old typewriter sitting in their garage at home. Her husband had been a pharmacist and he still had the same typewriter he used in his shop, some forty or fifty years ago. I stumbled over my words as I explained my love of typewriters, adding that I would gladly pay for it.
She left, telling me that they would drop it off at some point for me to take a look at. I confess I didn’t really believe she would be back – things like that just don’t really happen, do they. So imagine my delight when no more than 10 minutes later the gentleman in question tottered through the door carrying this glorious thing. I nearly wept.
He went on to tell me that he believed it had no monetary value. I begged to differ. We agreed that I would keep the typewriter in the shop, and perhaps one day soon they could come and choose one of my photos to exchange it for. This is the type of business I love to do.
Oh, and by the way, it still works perfectly.
I am one happy lady right now. It looks absolutely beautiful on my desk, and with a little elbow grease and love I will have it looking as good as new. So everyone who orders a copy of TPC can now expect a hand-typed letter from me…whether you want one or not.