A man came over to the shop today, to drop off many books that he or his relative had over the years.
Some of them seemed relatively new, while others were filled with scraps and possibly mould. I put those books into the cellar, the books silently waited in the queue to be categorized then priced. I could not do the pricing and categorizing straight away, as my colleague was yet to be back from lunch and the other colleague who helped had to leave early.
It was an hour later when I next came down to the cellar, I poured out the books in big, small, square and all kinds of size then placing them into all kinds of categories. Some were new as if they had never been touched, some were so worn out to a point that I was forced to put them in the bin. As I poured the books out and put each into different boxes, I saw books with the same author “Burgess, Burgess, Burgess…”.
As the process finished, I realized there were ten books had the name of Anthony Burgess. Earthly Powers, Byrne, The PianoPlayer…whoever had these books must be a huge fan of Burgess. I began to imagine the person, was he or she a huge fan of Anthony Burgess? Was he or she a personal friend of Burgess?
The next shocking thing was all these books were first edition, one of them even had the signature of the author! I screamed so loudly I scared myself, I took out the phone right away to capture the signature before I began the process of pricing. Pricing was the hardest of all sales and retail of books, as the whole process all depended on the condition of the book and the prices from other places such as Amazon, the latter were so different from one another it was impossible to be certain on price range. I did what I could for the pricing, let’s just hope my boss would be ok with it. I began to flip the pages before I put them on the box, before I saw many pages of writing at the back pages of the book. From reviews of the novel itself to scribbles over affairs and feelings, I tried to imagine what had happened to her or him, but of course it was impossible to know since I knew no details of the owner.
And so it went, I let go of the books by placing them onto the boxes, switched the lights and computers off and gone back up to the shop floor.