This WEDNESDAY is the winter solstice, when the days start getting longer. Miniscule changes at first then they start to accelerate come mid February and March. I will be spending Wednesday evening, after closing the store, at Arcadia Wildlife Center's great bonfire celebration in Easthampton, Mass. from 6-8:30. A smoky, warm and wonderful event at this Mass Audubon Center with music and more.Click here for more info.
Many people ask us this time of year "How is your holiday season going?"An interesting question in the used or "recent to rare" book business.
We don't have as big a bump in business as in the pre-internet years. But we get a very interesting group of folks coming by. These are the main categories of present holiday buyers I have noticed:
There are some of our regulars who come to browse in the weeks preceding Christmas, to scope out what they want and also what might be just right for their husband-wife-son-daughter-sister-brother-teacher-guru-friend-girlfriend-boyfriend etc.. Then during the last couple of weeks before Christmas they come in and go straight for those items, no looking around, no distractions. Alas, if the books, prints or post cards have been sold in the interim!
The next group of our regulars come and spend a leisurely, thoughtful hour or more and bring up to the counter an interesting and eclectic pile of books. Old and new. Fiction and non-fiction. Maybe some for them, but mostly with someone else in mind.
Next are the folks visiting friends in the Pioneer Valley, picking up children at UMASS or one of the nearby colleges (Smith, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke or Amherst) or heading on to celebrate the holidays in Vermont. They are regulars who come by once or twice a year and look forward to their visit here. And often say " How glad we are that you are still open!" (Obviously we are also!)
Lastly are the travelers who see our sign on the highway, before it is obscured by the 4pm darkness, and are delighted to "discover" us. Many of them put us on their "list" and we will see them again next year.
Of course some booklovers fit no categories and all of you are very welcome! And don't forget to tell your friends and family aboutThe Whately Antiquarian Book Center in person, in emails, on Twitter or on Facebook. You are who keep this store open and alive!
This doesn't really answer the question about how are our sales this holiday season. To that I can only say every year it is different. All it takes is an enthusiastic book lover coming off the highway and our day or even week is made! May you all keep on coming for many years and keep this jewel of a used and rare book store alive and lively.
Thank you all! Eugene, Ted, Susan, Peter and I send Happy Holidays and Safe Driving Wishes to all near and far!