I'm a bookstore, too.

The Bulletin has a nice article about local independent bookstores this morning.

I feel a little bit uninvited to the party.

Pegasus Books is selling a significant number of books. Not just comics and graphic novels, but what most people would consider regular books. In fact, in August, 30% of our overall sales were books.

But few of the locals seem to know or care. I think even my regulars are blind to it. We are a certain kind of store to them and that appears to be impossible to change.

But it doesn't seem to matter.

See, what happens is that tourists walk in the door and they see lots of good books and oddly enough they think we're a bookstore. If we have books they want, they buy them. So it doesn't matter in a way what the locals think or whether the local paper covers us.

The proof is in the sales, and we've go those. The more attention I spend on new books, the more we sell. We're selling eight times the amount of books as my original goal.  I started off rather haphazard about it but the response was so positive that I expanded and then I expanded again.

All of this while retaining our reputation as a comic book store among the locals. For which I'm thankful. But we've been doing a good job on comics for 37 years now, and adding new books hasn't hurt that effort at all, in fact, it may have helped.

But the books sell only to those who wander into the store.

Why don't I advertise the fact? Because once you gain a certain reputation it is almost impossible to reverse. The Bulletin article is an example of that. No one though to mention us to the reporter. Probably because no one knows, even other bookstores.

The only proof of selling books in my store is that books sell in my store.

I doubt this will ever change, but as long as Pegasus Books is downtown with the thriving tourist trade it may not matter.

I will say that we carry only fiction. What we've got is choice. Classics, and cult books, and quirky books, and just books that seem interesting.

I kind of kick myself for being scared off of books for so many years. Books are so much easier to order and sell than comics are. Comics are considerably more complex and risky. I held off trying books for most of our existence because of the Book Barn. I didn't want to hurt our longterm neighbors. But once I started off with a small selection, I was astounded by how easy they went out the door. 

If I put a copy of Dune, or the Alchemist, or The Princess Bride, or hundreds of other titles out on the bookshelves--they'll go.

I've gotten accounts with both Baker & Taylor and Ingrams, the two largest distributors, and I now make regular orders--but I still haven't been focused on them as much as I could. I'm thinking about rearranging the store to make room for more new books. My guess it that they could be half our sales with a little more effort.

Ah, well. We don't have the "bookstore" aura, but maybe we don't need it.

All we got are books.