Authenticity

vanfolksGoing into the second month of the traveling bookstore business and I still feel that I am continually and delightfully amazed and perplexed by the way things unfold. People give me books to sell.  I had thought that there would be initial donations as friends helped to get me started in this business. But now strangers who visit the bookstore might ask, “So where do you get your books?” and I explain that they have been donated and before you know it, this person I never met before is taking my address to drop off books. Or when I was at the HA Brewery, a woman who saw on Facebook that I was going to set up there, came with a box of books in her car to give me. And there are the people who seem to so thoroughly enjoy visiting the bookstore.  Sometimes I am asked, “What sorts of people buy your books?”  and well, really all kinds. The traveling bookstore seems to be a big hit with little kids but there are the older kids and the adults and those older ones as well. Last week at the Eureka farmers market, a young couple stopped by. It felt to me that they were having a date as she found a book she wanted (by Janet Evanovich), and the young man offered to buy it for her.  All these things that happen and even more that I don’t have time today to write about, but encounters and overheard conversations and questions and remarks that come out of people walking into a van that is really a bookstore. Recently one of the remarks and then the conversation that resulted was about authenticity.  I am still not entirely sure what it means in this context. I know the person who said it to me meant it as a compliment. And I know that the bookstore is there (wherever there happens to be on a given day) to give whomever walks by a chance to buy books. I am not doing a hard sell.  I am trying not to over charge (Anne convinced me to lower my price on kids books).  I want to pay the bills and offer the best books that I can cull from the piles in my garage.  I want people to appreciate the book that they buy.  But perhaps authenticity stretches beyond that.  It is still early – my 39th  day in business. I still might figure it out.

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4 thoughts on “Authenticity

  1. Very nice personal report. I appreciate starting such a risky business, but I believe it is a nice enrichment for farmers’ markets as you describe it. In how many farmers’ markets are you present?

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    • Thanks for your interest. I have only been attending the farmers market in Eureka, Montana as this is my first summer with the business. I have also been going to festivals, some pubs and even a birthday party. Next weekend I will take the bookstore to a large quilt show. I have been having very good receptions (people enjoy the concept of a traveling bookstore).

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      • You really have a cool concept, and I hope it flourishes. I am a fan of farmers’ markets, and of course a bit biased when it comes to location selection 🙂

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      • Perhaps someday you will get to the farmers market here in northwest Montana. It is very small compared to the urban ones but it does have character and a river that flows near by if your feet get hot.too

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