Alice Bentley (alicebentley) wrote,
Alice Bentley

An Update

I'm still in Minneapolis, helping out at DreamHaven Books, and looking forward to joining the MNStF Pool Party sometime tomorrow afternoon/evening.

I haven't really talked about DreamHaven here, and I really should. The place is amazing. Huge. Almost overwhelmingly well-stocked, as the many different areas of interest can lead to confusion.

And it's (as far as I can tell in the three weeks I've been here) almost completely ignored by the local customer base. Greg had said long ago that if it wasn't for the mail order part of the shop he couldn't make a go of it, but I didn't really get a feel for that until I was here for a while. No kidding, there will be several-hour spans where NO ONE walks in the door. And the number of people who come in, browse through the shelves for 20 to 40 minutes, and then wander back out again, far outnumber the ones who gather up a pile of books to buy.

This despite having a pretty good location AND a parking lot (the mythical beast I could never even hope for in Chicago). On two bus lines, and about half a mile from light rail.

I know a lot of the factors that depress sales - lack of money,cheaper prices on some titles elsewhere, lack of space, switching to ebooks, other new hobbies, and even more squishy issues like disliking an employee who hasn't worked there in 10 years. But I bet a whole bunch of people are going to be all shocked and surprised if Greg reaches the point where having an open storefront is more work and expense than it's worth.

Meanwhile, if you live near Minneapolis, you just gotta see this place! I cannot beLIEve the range of books in the used section, nor the prices (cheap!) on a lot of it. I'm not as surprised that the new books section has incredible range - that "only" takes money and knowledge of the field. But used books generally tend towards huge tilting piles of the dregs that the library couldn't sell, and this is exactly the opposite of that.

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