I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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I wanted to develop as much insight as I possibly could into that world, I was determined to know more about books, authors, collecting, and writing than anybody; and especially how to take my experiences, what people have already done, to take what does and does not work, and create something that has never been done before, something that has never been seen before, and to make it marketable, to monetize it.
I knew the corporate world would be the easiest place to start, and I already had that experience working, not only as a bookseller and cashier at Borders, but working as a barista, also at Borders, but at Starbucks as well.
Shortly after leaving the job at Borders I decided to up and travel across the country. I lived in Idaho for a short time, and after working the graveyard shift at a potato processing plant for several months, I was presented with an opportunity to write, professionally. I developed an interesting perspective into the world of journalism, magazine writing, and freelance writing. While, simultaneously, managing a Hastings Entertainment, and working primarily the front end and books department. Hastings was an interesting experience because, like Half Price Books, (and now Amazon, I guess) it'(s) [was] the only corporate bookstore that sells [sold] Used books.
If you're planning on opening a bookstore in today's market you have to incorporate used books, it is completely unrealistic to attempt otherwise. The fact that Hastings, Half Price Books, and Amazon all sell used books is an important model, however, each relies almost entirely on numbers and inventory when sorting through used books - books that patrons bring to each place with the intention of selling, or trading. The employees at Half Price Books at least open the book, and look through it, checking the copyright, and title pages for printing information, and whether the book is signed, but, even then, they rely on what the computer tells them. This is a mistake: 1.) because, there's no better recourse than your brain when understanding something as complex as the market, and rare and collectible books cannot be predicted, entirely, by an algorithm. 2.) And, it is so easy to miss something, and Half Price Books is notorious for it. I found a 2nd printing "The Right Stuff," signed by Chuck Yeager for $10; and that isn't even the worst! I found a 1st printing "Angle of Repose," SIGNED BY Wallace bloody Stegner for $12! That's a huge miss!
Hastings granted me the opportunity to recognize the pros and cons of how to, both, run and operate a used bookstore.
My wife, at the time, and I moved from Idaho Falls, Idaho to Salt Lake City for her to attend a massage therapy school that she was interested in, and I started working at Barnes&Noble. There's a lot about this company that I like, but, again, most of what I learned working there was what not to do. 1.) It's always way to clean, and organized for a bookstore. 2.) They schedule hourly duties for their employees, most of which are needless stupid, chores; very little benefit comes from busy work in attempt, only, to keep an employee busy for $8.00 an hour. 3.) Barnes&Noble carry's one of the largest selection of new books in the retail industry (especially now considering they have almost no competition), the second Barnes&Noble I worked at was the flagship store at 86th and Lex on the upper east in New York City, and that store has more than 200,000 titles available, but they still manage not to carry some of the best authors, or the best titles. While working at Op. Cit. Books, an independently owned bookstore in Santa Fe, New Mexico I discovered very quickly that most of our sales where titles that are not available at Barnes&Noble, and for a while it blew my mind.
Also, while living in Santa Fe, I took a job as a marketing director for an art gallery on Canyon Road. I thought the opportunity would be a good one so I could learn the ins of the marketing industry, and granted every region, and changing demographic demands different marketing techniques, but, because of my job at the art gallery I now, at least, understand that, and have been able to learn what works, and what does not work here, in the Texas Hill Country.
Each of these experiences: Starbucks, Borders, Hastings, Barnes&Noble, Adobe Gallery, and Op. Cit. Books has offered me invaluable skills, and experiences towards the development of CommuniTea Books. And, as I've lived in, or traveled throughout the states I make it a point to visit amazing bookstores such as: Books inc., Moe's, City Lights, Tattered Cover, Changing Hands, The Strand, Powell's, Sam Weller's, Booked Up...