Wednesday, December 8

A rare and precious bookstore

Today Karla and I spent almost two hours in a charming bookstore in Fresno. Tucked in behind the main street businesses in a shopping center, this store is one of those places that are precious and getting so rare that they deserve preservation because they are so valuable, not to commerce, but to soul.

Several years ago, Hilary self-published a book, Never a Dull Moment. It was based on her daily writings that we required of her as a part of home schooling. Hilary had a rich resource of material for her book, what with the experiences she had at both our foothill ranch and the high Sierra ranch. Horses, dogs, precious agates in the river, memorable adventures every day—who could ask for more? We took the book to stores around Central California. One of the most enthusiastic recipients was Petunia’s Place, a children’s book store in Fresno. They invited Hilary to a book signing at the store. They promoted the signing and as a result she autographed and sold about seventy-five books that day, which was an incredibly validating experience for her.

Later a story about Hilary’s unusual life and her book was published in the Fresno Bee, two whole pages with photographs in full color in the Sunday edition. Mentions in an airline magazine and other publicity pretty much resulted in almost the entire first edition of 2,500 copies being sold out.

We had some more copies left. The printer of the book in Fresno was owned by a man I had worked with at another print shop. Our initial order was for 2,500 copies. He sneaked in a few hundred more. Today I took a bundle of ten books with us before we left for Fresno. At Petunia’s Place we followed Debbie, the wonderfully enthusiastic co-owner in her wheel chair as she recited the contents of almost every book in the entire store, picking out the exact ones we needed for our grandson, Benjamin. Her ebullient nature is worth the trip to the store. As she and Karla sang the songs in the books and as I returned the ones we weren’t buying to the proper places on the shelves she decided that Karla and she would go “on the road” and I would report to work at the store to keep things in order. We left with a very heavy box of gift-wrapped books for Ben.

Karla and I returned a few minutes later with my package of ten of Hilary’s books as a gift to Petunia’s Place. When I handed the books to Debbie, I told her that over a decade ago Petunia’s had given the most precious gift of recognition to our daughter. It took Debbie less than a minute to remember the book and the author-signing occasion. She was overwhelmed with emotion. She was so thankful that we were rewarding her support for young authors and especially local authors and even more especially youngsters whose parents were supportive of their efforts. Never a Dull Moment is once again for sale at Petunia’s Place, and we couldn’t be happier.


HHhorses said...

That is SO COOL! What a wonderful day! I wish I could have been there with Ben. I remember doing that book-signing. I was very nervous and self-conscious but no one seemed to care, and it turned out to be a great experience.

We can't wait to see what novels you got for Benjamin!

Agneta and David said...

How we all in our family enjoyed that book! Sold some too, with great pleasure and pride. Used Hilary as a shining example in regards to what you can do if you put your mind to it, when our grandchildren and others would complain about "there is nothing to do".
It is a pleasurable "read" regardless of age! Truly loved it. What a magical life ! Congratulations all over again, Nbo

Susan said...

That is a wonderful story. Remember there are still some copies of Hilary's book in Australian schools and on my bookshelf too :)