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Bookstore names for fun and profit.

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. Some employ book parts to make catchy names: DUSTY JACKETS, THE DUST JACKET, lower case UPPER CASE, THAT'S A WRAP, CHAMPIONSHIP PULP, PENN AND INK (is the owner a descendant of William Penn?), INKLINGS, COVER TO COVER, BETWEEN THE COVERS, BOOKS INKED, JUDGED BY ITS COVER.

Some names are mind-boggling: BIBLIOMANIACS, REASON ALONE, IN YOUR MIND'S EYE, SKULLDUGGERY. Some sound commercial, even mercenary: HAVE BOOKS--WILL SELL, BUY THE BOOK, THE BOOK BANK.

In many there is more than a hint of mystery, murder and intrigue. The word murder is in more bookstore names than you would suspect: BOOKED FOR MURDER, MURDER BY THE BOOK, MURDER IN PRINT, MURDER ON THE BEACH, MURDER A LA CARTE. Add to these names like THE USUAL SUSPECTS, DBOOKMAHN, and BOOK 'EM.

Some use numbers to give a hint of their size or intent: BOOKS-A-TWENTY, 246 BOOKS, SECOND LOOK BOOKS, SECOND HAND/FIRST HAND, BOOKS-4-CARS (sells owner manuals, etc.), BOOKS-2-GO, NOT TWO BOOKS (no two books in their inventory are alike?), 17POINT5 BOOKS (your guess is as good as mine).

Some names show a lot of emotion; I love SOW AND REAP/READ'EM AND WEEP. Here is also a whole genre of names designed to make you feel sorry for lost and straying books: ORPHANED BOOKS, DEFUNCT BOOKS, RESCUED PAGES, SAVED FROM CERTAIN DEATH USED CHILDREN'S BOOKS.

A literary-sounding name or two: BOOKMAN COMETH, READ IT AGAIN SAM, A WHALE OF A TALE. Some are just odd: ODD HOURS BOOKS, ODDDUCK BOOKS, DEEZBEEZ BOOKS.

Consider the possibilities for bookstores named for where they're housed. I am personally aware of THE BOOK BARN, THE BOOK GALLERY, THE BOOK ROOM, THE BOOK SHELF, THE BOOK CELLAR, WIT'S END, THE AUTHOR'S INN, THE LIGHT WITHIN, and BOOKS TO DECORATE A ROOM.

There must be dozens of names of stores that specialize in books about plants. Two are THE MAPLELEAF BOOK EXCHANGE and FLORA AND FAUNA. Some interesting names are suggested by the times people read: KNIGHT READING, FLY BY NIGHT, RAINY DAY READER, CHEQUERED PAST. Some have a heavenly ring: BOUND FOR GLORY CHRISTIAN BOOKS, CONSIDER THE LILIES, VIRTUOUS VOLUMES, THEOLOGICAL PURSUITS. And I saved this for last: HOLY OLD BOOK SHOP sells out-of-print Christian and inspirational books, and it's mine!

Our pool of information is growing at an enormous rate. The number of books will increase. The number of stores that sell books will grow. Am I suggesting that the present book frenzy will become even more frenzied? While you were reading this article, 962 new bookstores came into existence: BOOK SAILS AT THE MARITIME MUSEUM, BILL THE BOOKY, THE PRIMARY SOURCE, A DIFFERENT DRUMMER..

And finally--'TIL WE READ AGAIN!

BENNIE HOLLINGSWORTH

Pineville, Louisiana
COPYRIGHT 2006 Jeremiah Farrell
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Hollingsworth, Bennie
Publication:Word Ways
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
Words:923
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