why it's so cool to own a used bookstore. what we're selling, what we're reading, what we're listening to. why west concord is the new cambridge. fun facts to know and tell. and of course the cat.

Friday, July 18, 2003

the summer newsletter 

It's been a little while since the last post. We've been busy with writing the newsletter (see below), sending out a large mailing, getting more books out of the back room and onto the shelves, running a big sale, and answering a million questions.

"Hi everyone:

"Some of you may have already heard, but just in case you haven't, here's our big news for the summer. We'll be closing at the end of our lease next month, and moving the bookstore online. Our last open day will be August 20. We're having a 40% off sale to reduce our inventory, so this would be a good chance to stock up on some great books! We've also got records, bookmarks, old and new postcards, old magazines, prints, maps, and other ephemera. ***Please forward this to anyone who might be interested!***

"Our last MUSIC OPEN MIKE will be next Tuesday, July 15 at 8 p.m. Like all of our events here, this has been lots of fun. Local professionals and amateurs alike can try out new stuff and be sure of an enthusiastic audience. It's free, and the music is always great! Sedgewick the Bookstore Cat might even curl up in your open guitar case...

"The last POETRY OPEN MIKE is scheduled for Wednesday, August 6, at 8 p.m. In the past couple of years, over fifty different poets have read here, most for the first time in public. Each month the lineup is a bit different, with some regulars and some newcomers, but the quality of the poetry is always excellent. And sometimes Sedgewick sits on her chair and listens intently.

"We hope to continue both of these events in a different location. If you have any suggestions, let us know!

"Starting in September, we'll have more books available online through ABE.com, Amazon.com, B&N.com, eBay, and some other book databases to be determined later. Our own website, www.twicetoldtalesinc.com, will also (finally!) be up and searchable in October. We'll keep this list and send out periodic updates as our plans progress; if you'd like to be removed from the list, just reply to this message.

"Although we've loved running the bookstore and being a part of the West Concord community, it became clear that we couldn't continue in retail after learning that Jennifer unfortunately would be losing her pilot job due to the massive layoffs at American Airlines. Our first choice was to sell the bookstore to someone who would continue building on what we started here. We were fortunate enough to find 2 people who were interested, but our landlord wouldn't sign a lease with anyone else, nor would he sign a new lease with us. Apparently this space will be renovated, and another tenant who can pay more rent than a used bookstore will take over. (Of course, if we win the lottery, we could probably buy our own building here and open up again. You never know....)

"For the latest news and thoughts about the store, check out our weblog at

"We've appreciated your support and friendship so much over the last 3 years. The bookstore became more than just a store because of all of you; it was a community center, a stage for writers and musicians, and a haven for booklovers. It was also the most fun job I have ever had. I had always wanted my own bookstore, and I was lucky enough to have one for awhile. I'll miss it, but I look forward to the challenge of running an online business. Please stop by to say hello if you can in the next few weeks!"

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Books Gone Wild!!!! 

"Secondhand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack...in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world."
- -Virginia Woolf, Street Haunting

Virginia Woolf was one MAD chick!

My newest idea for store signage:

"BOOKS GONE WILD!!! We're your source for the best sizzling words-on-paper action! Hook up with Madame Bovary, Jane Eyre, Moll Flanders and Anna Karenina (hint: she's hotter than Kournikova!) for a classic group scene!!!! Rub against complete strangers like Ivanhoe, the Count of Monte Cristo, and Silas Marner! They want to get you between the covers! Enlarge your vocabulary, lengthen your attention span, and widen your horizons. Your partner will notice a difference immediately! Bring one of these literary hotties home, and we guarantee they can keep you UP ALL NIGHT! Read about real people who want you to get to know them. Thousands of interesting characters are available 24/7!"

Probably no one will think that it's funny, except for me.

(Note to self: stop reading all the nasty spam that oozes through the filters....)

Now listening to: "Show Some Emotion", Joan Armatrading, on LP
Now reading: "Poetry for Cats", Henry Beard. My favorite, by William Carlos Williams' cat:
"so much depends upon/ a yellow goldfish/ washed down with bowl water/ inside the white kitten".

Sunday, June 29, 2003

scent of a bookstore. 

It's Sunday, and we're closed, but I'm at the store doing stuff: shelving books, pricing, cleaning up a bit, playing with the cat, reading (Alison's Automotive Repair Manual, a funny sweet novel by Brad Barkley). Mostly I'm just enjoying being here, and thinking about what this experience of owning the store means. The bookstore has a personality and a presence that is partly mine, and partly its own. The books, the cat, the fixtures and tables and decorations, the paper stars in the windows, the twinkle lights over the shelves, the comfy chair and sagging sofa. Over the last couple of years it's become a second home.

Years from now I will walk into another old bookstore and it will somehow smell just like this one, and I can smile and remember what it was like to come in here every day. The best time is first thing in the morning. I open the back door, say hello to the cat, and stand still. The air is cool and quiet, like the library of my childhood before it had air conditioning, and I can smell the books for a moment. It's a combination of old leather and cloth bindings, glue, paper, a bit of dust and wear, countless fingers running along under the words, gently touching the spines to pull out a favorite book, days and years spent among the stacks. And then just as quickly as it comes, the scent is gone, my brain's smell receptors recognize it as "my bookstore", and I don't notice it again until the next morning. It makes me happy every time.

Friday, June 27, 2003

first post. woohoo! 

Welcome to our blog! Should have done this 3 years ago, but better late than not at all.

Why is it so cool to own a used bookstore? For one thing, I get to hang with books and the cat. Also, there are some great customers, and some weird ones, and there's always something interesting going on here, or outside. It's an easy trip across the street to Concord Teacakes for a snack, or the West Concord 5 & 10 (motto: "if we don't have it, you don't need it"). Ordering office supplies is fun, and doing organizy things like shelving books. Occasionally I even have some time to read.

Today's sales of note: the exact set of algebra books a tutor was looking for, including the teacher's guide. "An Episode of Sparrows" by Rumer Godden, out of print for a long time, and exactly what the customer had been looking for since forever. I love when that happens! And it's a sweet book besides.

We had a lovely visit the other day from famous local author Jane Langton ("God in Concord", etc.). Recently local author Gregory Maguire ("Wicked", "Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister", etc.) stopped by and signed a copy of "Wicked" for me. I promised that it would never appear on eBay.

now listening to: Contemporary Jazz Quartet with Charles Bell, on LP (vinyl).
now reading: The Firebrand (Marion Zimmer Bradley)-- epic treatment of the Trojan War, from the perspective of Cassandra the prophetess.

Another hazy hot humid day in West Concord, a welcome break from the long damp spring. Sedgewick the store cat is in the window having a nap, and I should go have some lunch.

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