Thursday, April 16, 2015
Selling Our Books
It's not quite like selling our grandchildren, but the emotional toll of selling our library is a stiff one.
We've been collecting for a long time--for most of our forty-five+-year marriage, as a matter of fact. We attended book-signings, haunted antiquarian bookshops and fairs, surfed the Internet relentlessly. Our house, in later years, looked like a reader's version of a cat-person's dwelling. Books piled everywhere. (Only the multiple meows were missing.) As you've probably noticed in your own lives, our clutter becomes invisible to us after a while. But I will confess that I once actually tripped over a pile of books and nearly got a closer look at Dante's Inferno.
But as my health and energy have declined, we've realized that it's time to bid farewell to our codex family. We formed DJ DOODLEBUG BOOKS, LLC this year, sorted our titles, deciding which we would list for sale immediately (and which we cannot bear to part with yet), bought a lot of new shelving to accommodate things, designed a business card (see above!)--and much more.
I will say immediately that Joyce is doing the lioness' share of the work. She has listed everything on Advanced Book Exchange (here's a link to our site on that Exchange), has learned the language needed to describe a collectible book, has been encasing each sale item in a protective cover, etc. I have pretty much just lain in the shade like an old male lion who knows that things are now in better hands.
We are not selling everything. We have given some away--have donated some to the local library. We are saving some--at least at this point--for our son and his family. We've even tossed a few that had become so damaged by Time and his foul allies that they were not really any good at all--even for reading copies.
We toyed with the idea of contacting one of the Big Book Dealers (like Powell's in Portland, Ore.) and disposing of the whole kit and caboodle* at once--but decided that would be financially foolish (at least for the nonce). We could end up doing that, later on. But for now, we'd like to list them online, to have other collectors find them, get excited, pull out the plastic ...
But the whole enterprise is painful. When you stop acquiring and commence disposing, well, it's a recognition of mortality, isn't it? Of imminent mortality. I can't kid myself. I'm 70. I have cancer that is only on Pause.
And so ... we're selling our dearest possessions, the books we have read and loved for decades. Of course it's not as egregious as losing loved ones, but still ...
*Where did this expression come from? My Dictionary of American Slang informs me that kit is just what you think it is--a set or collection of things--and boodle is an entire lot; it also originally meant counterfeit or bribe money. Oddly, the ca- prefix for caboodle perhaps came from an original blending of kit and boodle. All goes back to the late 19th century.