Thursday, January 12, 2012

Operation Book Drop

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the move was our secret preparation for Operation Book Drop. The Book Drop was a conceived as a publicity campaign by the extra creative guys at Super Top Secret, our marketing firm. The idea was to gather a lot of books, create eye catching and informative jackets for them, and covertly drop them throughout the City. This would not only draw attention to our relocation and our new web site, it would proclaim our love of books and reading in a fun way that would draw in the members of our community - not preach to them. Tony has a history of guerrilla art projects and I'm a born subversive, so we loved the idea.

The amazing artists at STS created seven jackets for the projects. Each jacket embodies ideas about books that we hold dear and firmly believe: books make you smarter, books are important to individuals and the cultures in which they live, books are entertaining and pleasing in very tangible ways, booksellers still have a meaningful role in this modern world, locally owned businesses make our communities better places to live.

The second part of the project's preparation was procuring the books themselves. We approached publishers we identified as producers of quality books that are nicely packaged and staffed with people who could think outside the box. Six of them partnered with us, donating nearly 900 books to the cause. They are Alognquin, Chronicle Books,  FSG, Gibbs Smith, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, and W.W. Norton. All of them deserve kudos for believing in bricks and mortar bookstores and the people they serve -- and for backing up that belief with action.

At last we got to the real fun. Tony mapped a five mile radius around our new location in Trolley Square. Then he identified hot spots within the radius. Finally, he broke the area into zones and assigned teams of two to five people to each zone. After we closed on January 8th we had a wrapping party at the store. Eight people spent about 3 hours admiring the jackets and wrapping books. The night after we sorted the books, split into teams, and went off into the night to distribute the gift of reading to the community. It was a blast.

You can see the page on our new site devoted to the book drop here. It shows the jackets and lists the books. If you got a book, let us know. We'd love to hear what you think.

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2nd Moving Update

Happy New Year everyone!

We are just about finished moving things out of 254 South Main Street, but there's plenty of work left in setting up Trolley Square. Here are a few photos of our progress.

On Main Street
 This photo is slightly old already. The pictures have come down from the wall for the trip to Trolley Square.

The almost empty main floor is such an odd sight. 

At Trolley Square

 Books are getting shelved down on the main floor, but there are still some holes on the shelves to fill.

 The science fiction section is really coming together.

 I love these street lamps!

 The children's sections are looking great already!

 There is still a little shelving to do in rare books, but don't worry! We'll be ready to open by Friday.

We still need help! Call 801-328-2588 and ask for our volunteer coordinator, Jason, to sign up.

We're so excited about this new space. We can't wait to share it with you!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lone Rhinoceros

There's a song from the early 80's by Adrian Belew called Lone Rhinoceros. The first few lines of it have been running through my head today. I've sent the last of my crew here at the Main Street store to Trolley Square. So I'm rumbling through this old store entirely alone. I'm collecting bookends, old signage, display stands and -bizarrely - shelving books. All the while I'm singing, "I'm a lone rhinoceros. There ain't one hell of a lots of us..."

Of course Belew's melancholy song about an endangered species isn't true to our story. Ours is a story of evolution and survival. It's always been thus. Sam took over the store upon his return from World War II, when it was nearly bankrupt. When he moved the store from 200 S. to Main Street, it was because the landlord had other plans for the space. The catastrophic fire of 1972 caused another (temporary) move and a remodel of the Main Street store. The 80's and 90's brought changes to the book industry that had us computerizing the inventory system and selling our used/rare books on the Internet. Recent years have left us and many of our independent bookseller peers feeling a bit bruised. But of late, the news for us all is better and we're looking up. Now we evolve again.

It's exciting. I've always found change to be stimulating. The energy at the new store is envigorating. Our amazing staff and generous volunteers are working hard to put our plans into place. Each evening I lock up the Main Street store and drive to Trolley for a managers' recapitulation of the day and plans for the next one. What I see when I get there is always different and always exciting. As tired as I am when I arrive -- and I am tired! -- it's difficult to leave the store once I'm there.

But for now I'm a lone rhinoceros closing this world.