The Bookseller

Here’s my response to Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt. According to Lexico, a bibliopole is a bookesller, a dealer in rare or used books, and we did have one a few towns away. If you’re interested, read the Fact at the end.

Still there


Still there, they say. Rows of shelves full floor to ceiling; more books stacked in the aisles of his store. Next of kin don’t want them. Bibliopole Ralph Crawford has passed on – but he couldn’t take them with him.

A rather eccentric older man with poor eyesight and thick-lens glasses, Ralph Crawford was a seller of old and rare books. He moved to a small town in this area from the Maritimes and became a local “character.” He bought an old bank building in Perdue, SK, to be his bookstore, with offices upstairs where he could live, then brought his stock in several semi-trailer loads, set up shelves, and established his store.
Ralph’s store smelled musty and looked somewhat like the illustration above, but he knew his stock and could find subjects and authors for you. He did a lot of mail-order business, I’m told. He lived here maybe fifteen years? I heard Ralph passed away a couple of years ago. His relatives all live on the East coast — so now what does the town do with all those musty old books? Last I heard the question remains unanswered and the books are still there, waiting for someone to air them out and read them.

10 thoughts on “The Bookseller

  1. Christine, I was fascinated by the word “bibliopole,” which is new to me. So of course I had to research it. SO interesting! As I’ve always said, words mean things. Of course, the meanings and pronunciations have changed over time, but it was fascinating to delve into that history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Maybe my footnote was stretching the prompt, but I thought readers mike be interested. As a book lover myself, it’s hard to think of all those books just sitting there, waiting for consignment to a bonfire — too musty to sell.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting, Christine.

    Usually, collector’s libraries and collections are sold en masse to the highest bidder (often other collectors), for literally pennies on the dollar. The character I wrote about sold most of his books (think 500K) about 10 years before his death so his family would not have to deal with it, nor with the 5 associated bookstores. One store remains in Archer City, Texas.

    Thanks for the interesting details. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an interesting situation for sure. Here in SK bookstores have fallen on hard times, likely because of Amazon and e-books in general, and a lot of used bookstores have shut down in the past twenty years. In an area with a greater population an auction like that might work, but I can’t see it happening here. Right now, I’m told, the stock is in limbo awaiting the settlement of his estate.

    Liked by 1 person

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