We bought the bookshop from Jan Kern, Jan's Books, in August of 2016.
Jan had been through a lot over the past couple of years. Her son, who worked together with her in the store, had recently died. Her husband, Bob, had serious health problems, and we would discover during the two weeks that we worked together that she had contracted cancer for the seventh time.
My wife, Wendy, and I had talked about buying the bookstore, sorta dreaming, actually. But, I walked into the shop one day and she was holding the phone against her cheek with tears in her eyes and an utter look of despair. For the third time, someone who had said they wanted to buy the store couldn't get the financing together, so the deal fell through.
For the last few years, I had been working with small businesses in the community, helping them to understand the way the internet is becoming an essential component of how business is conducted. It's not that digital marketing and an on-line presence is addition to the way they have to business, or that it is replacing traditional shopping; but, rather, it is changing everything. I had been preaching to local businesses how they need to adapt in order to be successful. The bookstore opportunity was an opportunity for me to demonstrate what I've been talking about.
My family is a family of readers. Books are just a part of who we are. Our weekly visits to Lebanon Public Library yielded an average of 50 books per week. Now, myself, I tend to prefer non-fiction: religious, business, history, biographies. Wendy, and most of the kids really enjoy fiction (particularly sci-fi and fantasy). Barb, Wendy's Mom lives with us, reads mostly romance with an occasional jaunt into the world of crime and suspense. Between us, we have a pretty good grasp on the literature landscape. Though, if you'd have asked me before we jumped into this amazing industry, we would have had a lot more confidence than we do now.
There are over 900 million books currently in print today. According to Forbes Magazine, there are between 600,000 and 1 million books published every year. With 50,000 books in our inventory, you'd think (off hand) that we've got a pretty good representation. That's what we thought, at first. But, we've realized that our role is not to have every book available in the world- just like the local jewelry store makes no attempt at having every conceivable design. Our job is to find something that matches your tastes and interests at an affordable price. And if you know just what you're looking for, we'll do whatever we can to help you find it.