Before we got into the bookstore business four years ago, I had a vague notion about “strippable” books. I’d seen the blurb inside books that said, “If you received this book without a cover, it was reported unsold.” What that means is, book suppliers will give you credit for unsold paperback books that are classified “strippable” if you cut off the covers and return them. Do you know what it does to a book lover to cut off the covers of a book and destroy the book? It’s painful. But, it gets worse.
What if you order favorite classics from your childhood and they don’t sell? Gut-wrenching. (Wait. Are we still talking about books here? Absolutely.)
I consider the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis to be the pinnacle in Christian literature– for all ages–but especially for kids. Delightful characters, satisfying storylines, spiritual truths– not to mention whimsy and magic. What else could you ask for? Narnia is in a class by itself. Treasured in my childhood, appreciated at a deeper level as an adult.
Naturally, I ordered some for the bookstore and put them on the shelf. And they didn’t sell. Now, second-guessing bookstore customers is a tricky business. But, how could they pass up the Chronicles of Narnia? Somehow they did. Eventually, I had to cut off the covers and send them back for credit. Still, I couldn’t bear to throw them away. They sit in my office, naked and forlorn. (Maybe people who really love books shouldn’t get into the bookstore business.)
But, hope springs eternal. And we’re getting more traffic in the store. So, this Christmas season I’m trying again. I ordered Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre rendition of the Chronicles. And all seven books in one volume and a boxed set. To me, there’s very little that can top Narnia as a gift to a child or a sibling group. I just might buy them myself.
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