December 12, 2012
As many of you know, I used to own a bookstore. And while Christmas and Chanukah were, no question, big events for us, they didn’t hold a candle (hee! Candle! Chanuk….oh, never mind) to Rosh Hashanah, Easter, and Thanksgiving. Why? My partners and I had two theories about this. One was that on these traditionally family-heavy holidays, people without families wanted to escape their loneliness with a good book. The other theory—and we leaned in this direction—was that after a day or two of enforced togetherness, our customers knew they would be desperate for a little mental refuge. Actually, we used to do land-office business right after the holidays in question: People, we reasoned, felt they deserved some serious rewards after three days of being nice to crazy Aunt Selma.
Actually, it’s a truism widely known in bookstores (and probably throughout retail in general) that January is one of the better months for business. January? With all the sleet and dieting and general yuckiness that winter can provide? Yup. The holiday credit-card bills don’t hit till the tail-end, so you’ve got a good three weeks to pretend you’re in the chips. And just as important – and here’s Aunt Selma again – you spent an awful lot of time recently buying and baking and wrapping and smiling for other people’s benefit: Here at last is the point at which you can stop holding your stomach in, revert to your happily grouchy self, and read all damn afternoon, if that’s what appeals. And for our customers, that’s exactly what appeals, so they would come in and pick up an armload of their favorite thrillers or puzzlers or WittyBrits, secure in the knowledge that they were, at last, buying a lovely stack of books for someone absolutely sure to appreciate them.
May you do the same.
Ho ho ho, and see you in the stacks