Magazine article Word Ways

Bookstore Names for Fun and Profit

Magazine article Word Ways

Bookstore Names for Fun and Profit

Article excerpt

If the Internet has done anything, it has caused a proliferation of "bookish" activity---dusting off, re-reading, swapping, borrowing, buying and selling. I, for one, have gotten caught up in this melee. My general modus operandi is to do garage sales and pass the wonderful bargains I find on to other anxious Internet book freaks.

I have discovered a couple of things about books and the people who own and swap them:

* Everyone (well, almost everyone) has a book they have been saving in mothballs in a trunk somewhere. It is very old and must be worth a fortune. By "very old" they usually mean something from, say, 1917. What they don't know is that 23 thousand other people have the same book in mothballs in a trunk somewhere. They are in for some hurt when they discover that for a book to be valuable just became it is "very old" it must have been printed before 1215. Not many of them around!

* There are some really valuable books around, some old, some new. Because of this fact and the miracle of the Internet, people who knew next to nothing a couple of years ago (myself included) are now buying and selling with almost as much noise and clamor as the New York Stock Exchange. Needless to say, hundreds--no, thousands---of online bookstores have sprung up like summer weeds.

Books are kept in spare bedrooms, utility sheds and anywhere else there are two millimeters of extra space for books ready to be sent to bookjunkie@snafu.com.

Almost as much fun as buying and selling is discovering the names of bookstores that have been spawned by Internet book activity. The names of some of these stores carry the thought of word play to new heights. How about SECOND HAND PROSE, TITLE RECALL, BOOKED SOLID, TWICE SOLD TALES, NOVEL IDEAS? Clever, huh?

I've discovered that with some exceptions most of these can be categorized by the intent and interest of the owner.

Some are built on the idea of food. Consider THE BOOKETERIA, CEREBRAL DELI, BOOKS AND COFFEE, CAFFEINATED BOOKS, BOOKS AND BEANS, BOOK BASKET OF THE WORLD, AFFORDABLY RARE BOOKS, MEDIUM RARE BOOKS, BOOKS 4-1/DESSERTS 4-2. Undoubtedly some of these are actual brick-and-mortar stores. How else could they have caffeinated books? Obviously, you were meant to HAVE YOUR BOOK AND EAT IT TOO.

Some stores, I notice, have used colors in clever ways: THE RED LEAF, THE BLACK CROW, THE BLACK HORSE, ONCE IN A BLUE MOON BOOKS, BLUEBONNET BOOKS (in Texas). I've encountered several that have capitalized on the characteristics of certain animals in order to get the point across that they are into book searching: BOOK HOUND, THE BOOK HAWK. Others have another motive for naming their stores things like DOG EARED BOOKS, BOOK WORMS AND SILVER FISH, BOOK BUZZARD, THE EDUCATED FLEA, BOWWOW BOOKS. …

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