Kelly McMasters; Reader, writer, independent bookstore owner
KMcM: This is my first crack at small business, at a physical business. So there have been some surprises about those things that go into it, like quarterly taxes and sweeping the floor and that kind of stuff, which is fine. But what’s been really interesting are the reactions of people. Some walk in and it’s like they’ve fallen into a secret garden. They say, “I didn’t know you were here. I can’t believe you’re here. I mean, what are you doing here?” (Laughter) So they start to look [around], and then they’ll say, “Oh, I read this,” or “Oh, I’ve been wanting to read that.” There’s just that excitement, which of course is how I feel every day.
And then there are the people who walk in and you can sort of tell that they don’t feel they belong here and they’re trying to be polite, but then their eye will catch something that interests them, and that’s sort of my favorite moment. Then there are people who just poke their head in the door and say “books,” and then they run away. (Laughter)
I’d say another thing is that the idea of this store from the start was the celebration of paper, and that goes to our woodblock prints as well as to the printed book. A lot of the books, particularly the ones on the table, are not art books necessarily, but they’re kinds of books that you wouldn’t get the same experience if you read them on an e-reader. Not to say that I’m anti e-reader, because I’m certainly not. It certainly has its place, but I can’t imagine reading poetry on my Kindle, or….
TRR: Do you have a Kindle?
KMcM: I do, although I have to say it’s probably lost its charge 16 months ago and I haven’t…
TRR: So you sort of have a Kindle.
KMcM: (Laughter) Yes.
TRR: But curling up on a cold snowy afternoon with a Kindle just isn’t the same.
KMcM: No, going back to your original question, perhaps the best part about curling up and reading is falling asleep with the book on your chest. (Laughter)