“We can save your business hundreds on your credit card processing fees.”
“How late are you open?”
I receive at least half a dozen calls like these every day. And half a dozen times a day I have to explain that I am not a bookstore. How did this happen? Let’s get in the time machine and go back to 2006.
My mom was having significant difficulty reading and knew she’d never reread her collection of mystery novels. There were almost 400 taking up shelf space in her bedroom. Idea: sell what I could on Amazon.com and donate those that didn’t sell to a thrift shop. I set up a seller account under the name Salt Cellar Books on Amazon, listed her titles and immediately started to sell books. It was fun. I sold no more than a hand full each week but slowly the shelves cleared.
There were side benefits beyond the money. I “met” people from all over the world during the four years I sold used mysteries online. Many of my Face Book friends came into my life as buyers of Mom’s mysteries. In fact I was a little sad when the shelves were at last empty of books. It had been an interesting experience.
Salt Cellar Books sold its last volume on 27 October 2010, but at some point during my four year stint as a virtual bookstore someone entered Salt Cellar Books on an Internet yellow pages directory as a brick and mortar bookshop located in beautiful downtown Burien. (‘Twasn’t me. I’m thinking one computer got to chatting up another computer and somehow they birthed a bookstore.)
And ever since then I’ve been getting phone calls from people trying to buy books from me or trying to interest me in services for my supposed business. I’ve tried to remove the listings (they have multiplied alarmingly) but Google and lesser search engines ignore me. Of course I could just change my phone number but I’ve had this one since the ’60s and it took me long enough to memorize it. I’d hate to try to remember a new one.
Or I could just relent and become a bookstore. I already have the customer base. “Hi, thanks for calling Salt Cellar Books. How may we help you?”
The case of Salt Cellar Press is slightly different. Salt Cellar Press is an imprint I use whenever I publish an e-book. However the press never gets phone calls. What Salt Cellar Press gets is junk mail. Will touch on that topic at a later date.