Starting a book store

January 8, 2018 § 2 Comments

Starting a bookstore is one of those utterly pointless dreams you have as a book lover. There they are, lining the walls of your shelf, scattered all over your desk, lolling on your side table, and anywhere else where they can squeeze in and lie awhile muttering to themselves. You have lent them to your friends, who may or may not have borrowed them permanently, so why not start a store? Quit your job, find a nice well-lit room in some corner of town and stack shelves upon shelves of books of all sorts, and you are in the books business, surely?

Of course, unlike other bookstores, yours will be unique. There shall be no Boggarts or 50 ways to become a damned millionaire. It will all be hardbacks with words crafted by wordsmiths and paperbacks for those who may not want to pay so much. There will be comfortable bean bags and reading nooks for those who just want to read from your shelf- let’s not be so prude as to want to sell all the books. No food would be allowed, though a glass of wine or whiskey will be welcomed as long as it shared with the owner, and anyone who dares to fold a page will be summarily sentenced to banishment from the known universe- dogs maybe cute if you get past all that drooling and licking, but dogears never will be.

A bookstore cannot be profitable, if you think about it. How can one make money by just selling books, especially when you don’t want to get rid of them in the first place. Remember the time when you excitedly shoved a book into your friend’s hand from your shelf which you thought the person will love to bits(metaphorically)? Well, when was the last time you saw it, in bits or otherwise? You grew wiser and decided your bookshelf shall have better security than the queen of an empire that ever slept.

And then there are the kindle, ebooks and torrents- you tell yourself it’s okay if the book is too expensive- maybe five thousand and above? Or a 30 page graphic novel which costs two thousand rupees? Well, your scruples are yours, and amazon is the God of e-things anyway. Your costumers will be those old folks who maybe a bit too shy to ask their grandchildren to load books on their kindle, fellow bibliophiles who will go after your rarest of rare books(because duh, amazon and discounts for everything else), and that stray Orangutan who has decided that his library could do with a couple of more books.

Quitting your job is another matter. Your bank account is as balanced as a thulabaram carrying a generous king on one side and peanuts for the temple elephants on another, who by the way, are busy eating the peanuts as they are being added- who let in the elephants anyway? It’s so romantic, but by virtue of having read all those books, some of which you didn’t like, you have acquired apparent skill in doing those things which pass of as survival of the fittest. Let’s face it– you can dream all you want but you aren’t going turn into a beetle and loll about without catching a train or driving yourself to work — the chances of getting a heart-attack (0.01?) or heartburns(0.6?) are higher.

Let’s say you work enough to own a nice nest- nothing fancy, maybe a crow’s next, and have decided that every minute in a day will mean something, find a place whose rent doesn’t require you to be a Prince of Barbaria(or Bay Area), strike deals with those notorious distributiors(35% madam, and no less), have a loyal coustmer base(you got to be some sort of prince after all)…and then you go to a not so fancy restaurant, have a hearty meal to celebrate. A waiter brings you the bill. You look at it, do the math, close the store and go back to whatever you were doing.

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