But for Open Books' owners, the most valuable rewards are not financial
Delightful story about a tiny specialist independent bookseller from The Seattle Post. I especially LOVE the final paragraph.............
The sales floor is just 480 square feet, the stock is just 9,000 titles, but somehow married poets J.W. Marshall and Christine Deavel actually make a living in Seattle running one of the country's two poetry-only bookstores.
Those seeking an encouraging antidote to the gloomy Associated Press national survey on reading can find it at Open Books: A Poem Emporium. This specialty bookstore is located in a small Wallingford bungalow on North 45th Street, where the air is often thick with the smell of frying food wafting over from the nearby Dick's Drive-In.
For a dozen years, the two proprietors have operated their verse house with steady sales that bring in what the 55-year-old Marshall describes as "low six figures." Open Books has always made a profit.
"It pays for itself and then some," he said Tuesday afternoon when the store had sold 16 books in four hours. "It has to. If it operates at a loss, it goes away."
Open Books seems a throwback to another era, maybe another century. All of the ledgers are still hand-written, one of the personable co-owners is always stationed at the front desk. The one concession to modernity is the store's rudimentary Web site (openpoetrybooks.com) that lists store information and events and some featured titles. But it can't take orders.
The couple is currently remodeling their bungalow, where the store occupies the basement. They plan to move in soon. "It is part of our home life," Deavel, 49, said. "It's about to be our home."
She concedes that stories like the AP report are disheartening, although not surprising to those who love books, as she and her husband do.
"Most people in the book business know they will not make a lot of money," Deavel says. "There's never been a bubble burst here -- we never had a bubble. We find other rewards. There are still poetry lovers. Just a few minutes ago, I had a conversation with someone about Robinson Jeffers and Emily Dickinson. That is a form of payment for me."