“Selling Books by Day, Writing Them by Night”

ON THE same bookseller thread, here’s a great reported essay in last week’s NYT Book Review about the number of booksellers who are published writiers who do it for the love of the community of books lovers.

It’s safe to say that the staff of the average independent bookstore contains at least a few aspiring writers. But [Emma] Straub and other bookseller-authors like her don’t necessarily need their bookstore paychecks to survive. They have already been published, enjoying (in some cases) sizable advances and (in many more) critical praise. For the most part, they view bookselling as more than just a steppingstone

“I had twin secret dreams my entire life,” said Ellen Meeropol, whose first novel, “House Arrest,” was published in February. “One was to work in a bookstore. The other was to write fiction.”

I often think I’d do it again, under the right circumstances. I did go back briefly to help out my old staff after I’d left. It was fun to go in and plug my old numbers into the computer and let my fingers fly, keying in ISBNS and prices….touching books that way again. There is nothing like being in a community of folks who love books deeply; in the best scenario, it’s not just a job, it’s truly its own adventure into vast territories of ideas.


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