Technology Built a Bookstore

I don't have a cell phone. I don't use GPS. I don't own a Kindle. I don't need one. I can read a map. I prefer real books. I still enjoy the newspaper.

Technology changes everything. When, I got my first computer. I didn't feel I needed it. It wasn't required for work. I was self-employed as a personal trainer and a massage therapist.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter didn't exist. I didn't need my computer for networking or scheduling appointments. I mostly used it to email friends, and get news that wasn't covered in my daily newspaper.

In November of 2003, the wellness center where I was employed closed. I decided to move. It was close enough that I still had some of my massage clients, but I needed to supplement my income.

I had always enjoyed reading, and loved books. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday afternoon was to wander around book shops looking for a new book to read, or a cherished favorite. I decided to sell my used books on eBay.

I started small. Just the books I didn't plan on reading again. After all, a mystery is not a mystery once you've read it. I could part with a few, and it'd give me space on my book shelves again, and I needed to pay my rent.

I listed some books, arranged them where I could find them once I sold them, and bought some shipping supplies. I quickly sold several books, and wrapped them for the post. I learned the difference between first class, parcel post, and media mail.

I was off to a great start, but I needed more books. This was my favorite part. When I didn't have massage clients, I would comb thrift shops and yard sales to find books. I found new books to read and then I could turn around and sell them. Soon, I had more books than when I started.

I love books and so does my wife. I didn't know she was going to be my wife when I met her, but I knew she had to love books. She had recently moved back to our hometown, and was also selling books online.

We joined inventories and our love of books and took the leap to Main Street and opened our store, From My Shelf Books in 2006 with only 3,000 used books and dreams of filling the 800 square feet.

It's been just over ten years since I sold my first used book. Today, From My Shelf Books & Gifts has outgrown the original location and now has over 50,000 used and new books, and is bursting with puzzles, cards, games, book-related gifts, and general good cheer. Some bibliophiles fear that technology will kill the bookstore, but it helped build this one.

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