Heating With Books

books 010Now don’t judge me for what I’m about to tell you. Because every one of us who runs a bookstore has had to face this dilemma at one point or another, and if I do say so myself, Jack and I have found a creative and elegant solution.

Bookstores have unsellable books. It happens. 1970s manuals on why the Rapture will be within the next 10 years – reprinted in the 1980s and 1990s. At which point I assume the preacher died and went to his Heavenly Reward. (I’m not cynical, just have a wicked sense of humor and a healthy disrespect for fearmongering versus “This is God. Get to know God. It’s important.”)

Then there are the Arthur Hailey novels, the 1960s Fiction Book of the Month Club, and Thomas Costain.

Costain works the best for our purposes, because his paperbacks are nice and thick. Still, the book club editions stack well.

books 009Around the walls. We finally sat down and worked out a solution to “What are we gonna do about our heating bills” for this 1903 drafty monstrosity of a bookstore we live in. We needed to insulate better. What did we have to do it with?

Why hel-LO there, Danielle Steel! Steamy heated love scenes? Perfect for under the windows. We lined all the outer walls of our shop with romances, has-been how-tos, hardback fiction that’s been there, done that, and a few copies of  Time Life Big Books.

Thin, those, but nice and tall for the corners.

We got heat, ladies and gentlemen, and those books are getting the dignified retirement they deserve. If someone actually wanted to buy one, I’d have to explain that market value would be determined by the temperature outside, of course. Not that anyone will. These books are elegantly unsellable.books 008

And thick. And weighty. And perfect. We are WARM! Our heating bill is going down. And we culled our shelves. Life is going great in these sub-zero temperatures.

Jack and I live in a house lined with books. Go by, cold world!

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10 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, book repair, bookstore management, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, post-apocalypse fiction, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

10 responses to “Heating With Books

  1. Perfect! Why don’t you use those James Patterson books you talked about in your book? (Yes, I was rereading.)

  2. Tina H.

    I had a previous building owner tell me (upon complaining that the A/C wasn’t working) that all of the books were absorbing the cool air. That wasn’t true…the A/C had actually died. But I do think books keep the cold OUT of a building and absorb heat. Great idea.

  3. Woot! (I thought I was the only one who deliberately lined the north wall of one room with books.) And if you get enough insulation-type books to spare them, I collect Thomas Costain.

  4. Oh, my… when I saw your post title, I thought you were talking about burning books (We heat with wood and I pictured you throwing books into a boiler)!

  5. Sharon Bower

    You have my books! And are putting them to excellent use! Your last picture shows old volumes of the Code of Virginia and Michie’s Jurisprudence. The index volumes are replaced every year and are SUPPOSED to be thrown away, and by now I’m sure the other volumes are obsolete, as well! Depending on the year, if you look at front matter in the index volumes, you will see something along the lines of “Prepared by the Indexing staff at [LexisNexis/Lexis Law Publishing/The Michie Company] under the direction of [Sharon Wright/Bower or Jim Dandridge] and Jean Kindrick” That’s me! Jim has retired and Jean is still awesome. 🙂 Since most of the obsolete volumes wind up in the landfill, this is a far better use!

    • Well how cool is that! Yes, and they have an addition function – they are the exact height to keep that shelf from bowing as it reaches the center. That shelf has textbooks on it that are very heavy, so this is a good use!

  6. People sometimes use bales of straw for insulation. I have long figured it should be possible to do that with books.

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