Tavistock Books underwent a lot of big changes this year! For those of you who don’t know, we moved our store from the California island of Alameda after 25+ years all the way to Reno, Nevada! Vic and his wife Ellen wished to live closer to family, so Tavistock Books was packed up and moved, and we’re dying to know how it is all going in such a different world!
Q: Hi Vic! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about the bookselling trade after your major year! How are you holding up after such a major shift?
It was a major change Ms P, one 6 months in the undertaking. I started prepping the Alameda store for the move in mid-November 2022, and the last load of books wasn’t delivered to 220 S. Rock Blvd until this past 6 May. For most of that 6 months, I worked 7 days a week. At the end of the move, I was one tired puppy, and I’ll be honest, it took me a couple weeks to regain my energy!
Q: How are you enjoying living in Reno, after a few months there?
I’ll really like Reno. Its nickname is the Biggest Little City in the World, which seems quite fitting actually. Its population is just under 300,000 so not so many folks that you feel the press, but enough to give it some gravitas, e.g., entertainers who perform at the casinos, some really great restaurants, a bit of social & cultural life, and not to mention, its world famous event – HOT AUGUST NIGHTS! Speaking of which, yours truly is taking his classic sports car [see below] out on Thursday night. 🙂
Q: How goes the unpacking of Tavistock Books?! Last we checked in with a couple pictures in our FS Lists, the bookcases were up and you were slowly but surely getting box by box settled. How is the new store/office looking?
Well, frankly, it’s going rather slowly… I know you & I previously had discussed a ‘grand opening’ on/about 1 July; obviously that date has come & gone, so perhaps 1 July 2024 is more realistic. I attribute this slow progress to two factors: one, I’ve gone into semi-retired mode, and am only working 3-4 hours a day. Second, as I unpack a book, I take the time to review its original record for accuracy, verify its listed condition, check pricing with respect to current market conditions & update/take images [as required]. The benefit to this approach is that, after 26 years, I’m actually performing a book-by-book inventory on my listed stock. Curiously enough, I’ve come across around a dozen or so items that had been marked in my database as “missing”. Now I’m recording a location for every book I unpack, so the “lost” or “missing” phenomena should no longer happen!
Q: What have you noticed is the biggest difference in bookselling when in Alameda vs. Reno? Do you miss anything about the open storefront?
I’ve not really noticed any difference. I say this, for my last number of years in Alameda, even though I had a storefront on a major Alameda mercantile street, I had gone to a business model that emphasized on-line sales vs courting public walk-in traffic. In fact, when COVID hit, I completely closed the Alameda store to the public, only seeing folks on a ‘by appointment’ basis. Since my Reno location is in a soft-industrial park, I’ve continued the ‘By Appointment’ approach here in Reno. The only ‘downside’ to this is the opportunity to ‘buy’ books… people walking by my Webster storefront, seeing my “We Buy Books” sign would bring things to me, that won’t happen here in Reno, at least by that mechanism. I’ll have to explore other opportunities to get my name out there in the Reno community for folks who wish to sell their collection, etc.
Q: How do you view Tavistock Books operating from here on out?! Hopefully you have lots of time to devote to your family!
As do I! So far, this relaxed approach is suiting me well, and even with my reduced hours, I’m still paying the bills. As I look toward the future, my Reno lease is only 3 years, so come 2025 I’ll need to decide what path to take…
But as Scarlett said, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”