Books off the Old Block

For a long time, the kids had no idea what Robbi and I do for a living. They know we’re “working” because we shut the door to the studio and tell them to amuse themselves in the living room. But for all they know “working” means eating pretzels and watching Netflix. Alden learned Robbi was an illustrator from one of the kids at her school. Once Kato found out that I am a writer, he naturally assumed that I was responsible for the words in all the books in the world.

These complicated concepts seem to have finally distilled into a collective understanding that Robbi and I make books together (some small subset of all the books in the world) and that we sell them in an attempt to make money.

Once all these dimensions clicked into one pleasing package, the kids realized that they had a golden opportunity to walk in our footsteps—and to reap the (imagined) riches that might result.

And so they took out their markers and made a banner.

Making Signage

They took out their scissors and folded single sheets of paper to make small books. (As explained in the tutorial in the back of recent Bobbledy title I Looked Out the Window And).

Making books

They took out their pens and wrote stories, to which they added drawings.

Writing Books

Instantly recognizing the shortcomings of their parents’ far-too-focused-on-books-alone strategy, they conned their mother into ordering a big bag of lollipops online, that their store might offer sweet treats to complement the reading process.

Candy aisle

They dumped the staples from our staple bin and placed their various titles just so.

Price tags

They convinced their father to lug their art table down to the corner of Queen Street and High. They set up shop. They beamed enthusiastically at the passers by.

Sales team

And almost instantly, commerce happened.

Teaching

People stopped to buy finished books and blank books or to have a hands-on tutorial on how to make their own book.

Book workshops

There were ample opportunities for real-time math lessons as they were forced to make change.

Customer service

The list of available books contained such winning titles as: That’s Not Cool, Sometimes Dogs Eat Macaroni and Cheese, and Kitty Cat the Acrobat.

Everything we need

About twenty minutes after the shop had opened for business, the inventory was depleted. Kato gladhanded customers while Robbi and Alden raced inside to make more books.

It was a rather successful first day. I’m pretty sure the kids made more than Robbi and I did at our first day selling our wares at a book show.

But then again, we didn’t have the benefit of setting up next to Chestertown’s most popular bakery. Nor are we nearly as blessed with those elusive intangibles that help drive sales—youthful enthusiasm, earnest wonder, and…lollipops.

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6 Comments

  1. Tom Martin

    I heard they sold out their inventory!! Lizzie bought one and they were gone when I went to get my own copy….signed of course.

    Reply
  2. If a reprint of That’s Not Cool ever comes out, I’d gladly buy one. The title is just too good.

    Reply
  3. Signed first editions of “That’s Not Cool” are going for six figures on Ebay.

    Reply
  4. I will post the books for sale as downloadable make-your-own books. You will not regret it, Tilly. Apparently, according to Alden, wearing high heels (aka hie heels) is NOT COOL. I suspect you might agree.

    Reply
  5. Carol Schroeder

    Only a block from my home….how did I miss this? Sweet story.

    Reply

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