You may not know that CultureFeast.com was supposed to be a used bookstore. That was how the name was conceived. I spent a few months in Edmond, Oklahoma, working for a local used bookstore – Archives Books, Inc.
It was a great little shop, with winding pathways ever which way that always made finding a book more of an exciting exploratory expedition. You couldn’t get that kind of atmosphere from a Barnes & Noble or Half Price Books.
Wayne ran the show. Two of his sons worked there as well. I was a mix between a data entry clerk and a sales clerk. The majority of my responsibility was to evaluate and enter the condition of used books we were posting for sale.
Along with three or four other employees, I entered this data into the computer system so they could update their online stores at Amazon, Alibris, and wherever else they had web presence.
Sadly, efficiency demanded that the narrow winding paths lined with shelves be removed and replaced with boring, efficient shelving for online sales only. The store wasn’t very profitable as a brick and mortar store, but was doing well online.
For the most part, Archives Books was a wonderful experience, and I was a fool for leaving when I did. Of course, data entry paid next to nothing, but most of the people and the work was enjoyable. I should have stayed there for three more months until I moved back to DBU for my senior year.
Living is learning. At that point, I had ambitions of doing it myself and being my own boss and never having to sit behind a desk for eight hours a day.
While I had carefully learned what to expect of sales numbers based on inventory and online availability, I failed to consider the time and effort involved in collecting the used books which I would sell. Then there was the time it would take for data entry. Someone has to do it.
Well, more than five years later, CultureFeast is a blog, and not a book store. I am sad, somewhat, because I love the idea of a bookstore. Used bookstores have the ability to provide a unique and precious ambiance that nothing else can match. I would love to be that guy that everyone associates with such culture, mystery, and history.
The idea of a bookstore is all but dead, now. People just don’t read as much as they used to, anyway. Only a select few books are in demand, and the rest are antiquated items which someone will search for “eventually.”
I could have ended up with a warehouse full of books that no one wants to read. That would suck.
For the time being, my dream has shifted, and I have spent these past five years honing my craft. I am a writer at heart, which explains my love of books and bookstores (and coffee shops).
I love the contemplative life – throw in a dash of pop culture and a pinch of conversation for just the right flavor.