Sherman Alexie, National Book Award winner and author of over twenty books, issued a letter on September 1, 2013 to authors to become “a superhero for independent bookstores” by spending Small Business Saturday (November 30, 2013) hand-selling books at their local independent bookstore. When I first saw the letter, I was intrigued, but The Y in Life was not out yet and I wasn’t sure where I could do this, or if even a local bookstore would be interested in doing this. After all, I’m no Sherman Alexie.
In early November, I saw Used on New Books & More’s owner, Lisa Taylor post on Facebook a link to Alexie’s letter, praising it and commenting that they weren’t going to have a famous author visiting, but that she had recently been published in the local newspaper twice. That got me thinking.
Used on New Books & More and its companion store Weirdsville Records is on New Street in downtown Mount Clemens. It is just a block away from my office and from the 16th Circuit Court. Lisa Taylor and her husband Davey have owned the stores for just over two years. The first time I entered the store shortly after it opened, I recognized Lisa right away as a former Borders manager from the Utica, Michigan store. In fact, the shelving in Used on New were former Borders book shelves. After she posted the link to Alexie’s letter, I stopped in and asked if she was interested in having a not-so-famous author be a bookseller for the day on Small Business Saturday.
So on Saturday, November 30, 2013, I got to spend four hours as a volunteer book seller at Used on New Books & More. Along with a wide selection of used books, Used on New carries a few new books by local authors (including The Y in Life). Weirdsville Records carries vinyl records (and turntables upon which you can play them) and other cool stuff, owned and managed by Lisa’s husband, Davey, who is also known as Sir Graveson of The Sir Graveson Show.
Used book stores are as important as new book stores, and are independently owned. At new book stores, you can buy the latest titles. Libraries are a great place to borrow books. But many books have been read and kept in the libraries of individuals. And sometimes these readers need to part with them, leaving the loved books homeless. Used book stores offer a shelter for these books until a new reader finds and purchases them, giving them a new home. No one likes to see books in recycle bins or worse, the trash.
Needless to say, I had a blast. Spending four hours in a book store is easy for me. Doing so while engaging with customers and selling and signing The Y in Life was even more fun. Surrounded by Borders’ bookshelves and the company of Lisa and Dave Taylor, Used on New Books & More and Weirdsville is a funky place for the reader and music aficionado to enjoy.