Wandering around the scrap station every day, I dream of opening a second-hand bookstore that doesnt close down

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 Wandering around the scrap station every day, I dream of opening a second-hand bookstore that doesnt close down


Xiao Lian and I

According to the normal life track, I should be the same as my classmates, either on the three foot platform, or submit a resume to enter the workplace, or take the postgraduate entrance examination to further study. Teachers, bank employees, civil servants and doctors are considered to be formal and decent occupations according to their parents. Like me, Im not in the business of second-hand books.

The characters who mingle in the old book trade are often old, as if their appearance should be worthy of this old character. Xiao Lian and I are different kinds.

We are all born in 1995. I come from Hubei Province and she is from Shandong Province. We are all studying history in Northwest University for nationalities. She is an excellent student in her class. She can get a scholarship of 5000 yuan a year. Although I love reading a few books, its a pity that it has nothing to do with the exam, and her grades are always at the bottom. The true meaning of the love between Zhang lielang and me is that we love each other through the book.

We set up a stall in the school

Our love is not much, besides reading books is to search for books. When I was in college, I usually went over the wall to the bookstore of Lanzhou University next door to look for books, once a week. Later, the small bookstore near the school could not satisfy my addiction, so I began to fight across the river.

I remember one time I went to Chengdus famous maobian book store with Xiaolian. There was so much in it that I forgot the time just like Grandma Liu entered the Grand View Garden. It took me four hours to walk around. There is no sunshine in the storeroom of maobian book company. The climate in Chengdu is cold and humid in winter. I am a big and small guy with strong firepower. A girl named Xiaolian is shivering with cold.

Flea market of Northwest University for Nationalities

In the graduation season in June last year, we set up a bookstall in the flea market of Northwest University for Nationalities for more than a month. Every year during the graduation season, almost all colleges and universities across the country set off a wave of stalls. Senior students preparing to go about their own business will gather all kinds of things they have accumulated for four years and cant take them away to a place to sell them on the floor, ranging from nail clippers and locks to wardrobes and desks.

At the scene, I saw a mother from outside the school cut down a girls down jacket bought by more than 400 yuan to 10 yuan. I would laugh with tears beside me. The girl didnt feel quite right after she sold it. She had left for a long time. How can the little white rabbits in the ivory tower be the rivals of these old oil chips?

In the flea market, our stall was a different scene: a small square cloth full of books. Books are old books, but they are almost the same as the new ones. The reason is that Xiao Lian and I have beautified the books.

Old books after our beauty

I usually like to ponder over these renovations. For old books, the covers are covered with rubber, so they can be gently wiped with a wet cloth; if the paper covers are dirty, they should be wiped with a white eraser, and the edges of fine sandpaper should be carefully polished. They should be packaged and sealed with special breathable plastic bags. The old books can be straightened out by us to create the sense of sight of the new books, and they can bring the old in the new and repair the old as the old. Up to now, our bookstore still keeps this habit. Other things dont matter. For books, I keep a habit similar to cleanliness.

It turns out that we underestimated the students enthusiasm for books. The bookstall business was extremely hot, and our books sold out quickly. For this reason, we bought three or four hundred classic books of history and philosophy of this article on the second-hand website, and they were short sold in less than three days.

I cant wait to get books from the Internet. So we went to the second-hand bookstores in the county and the city and bought thousands of second-hand books at a low price. Before the end of the flea market, all of them were sold out!

In this way, we made the first pot of gold in life.

In the joy of success, I was born with a bold idea: open a second-hand bookstore belonging to us, the location is outside the school.

I set up a stall to sell books in the University flea market

This idea is not groundless. I am familiar with the second-hand book market of Xia Guanying (where the Northwest University for nationalities is located). There are four bookstores outside the Northwest University for Nationalities and Lanzhou University. Three are mainly engaged in second-hand teaching materials, miscellaneous extra-curricular books and a new book. After changing the old board a few years ago, it mainly sells Tibetan books at the original price.

In fact, there is no real second-hand bookstore in Xia Guanying, which owns two universities. Whats more, Lanzhou University is also a key university in Northwest China. There are 560000 students in the two universities. At that time, I felt that this bookstore should be opened by me and become a cultural landmark of Xiaguanying town.

During the tea talk after dinner, I shared this idea with Xiao Lian. After hearing about it, she resolutely gave up the opportunity to go home to work.

I feel guilty for her, and secretly determined: to break out of a way!

A second-hand bookstore in a small yard

With the idea of opening a bookstore, we began to shop outside the school. I dont know that firewood and rice are expensive if I am not in charge. The rent level of these front doors gives me a big blow: the prime location at the school gate often starts at 100000 yuan, and the transfer fee, which is more expensive than the rent, is even more daunting.

I remember that I didnt go home during the holiday, and I rented a B & B out of school, and the environment was OK. So we decided to step back and rent a space. The landlord Gao Shu, a native farmer, rented us a small room less than 20 square meters at the price of 400 yuan per month.

Before the flea market in our school was over, we began to search for all kinds of daily necessities, and bought the assembled wardrobe, rice cooker, hot water pot, chopping board, kitchen knife, water dispenser, toilet paper at a very low price We set up a simple home in the courtyard.

Uncle Gaos yard, the picture shows our rented room

The courtyard of Gaos family is similar to the courtyard in Beijing. The owner lives in the main hall, and the tenants live in other sides. There are also some on the second floor. In the middle of the yard, there is a jujube tree and an apricot tree. At the beginning of July, we had just lived in for a few weeks. The apricot was ripe, and the juice overflowed after a bite. It was sweet to the stomach. Uncle Gao gave us a lot of gifts. Xiaolian made jam, got up in the morning and finished washing, smeared it on the bread, and took a bite of it. It was said that we needed bookshelves. Uncle Gao lent us a large shelf with six floors in his house. He took care of it and put it into the room happily. It was our first bookshelf.

After many inquiries, we found a waste paper recycling center in the suburb of Lanzhou city. There were several peoples high waste paper books in the open field. We explained our intention to the boss. He agreed to cooperate. If there were any books, we would contact us, and the book would be charged by the catty.

Lanzhou paper products recycling center, many people in the book

In this way, a second-hand bookstore in the small yard opened! Although there is no listing, from time to time, alumni come to pick up a few books. They dont rush to walk. They sit down in the courtyard, have tea and chat, and from time to time, some jujube flowers slowly fall on the table. Its a pleasure.

Leisure days are always short. At that time, we had opened a bookstall on jiushu.com. Due to the small amount of books and the small number of orders, the money we earned was only enough to pay the rent. As for the support of people, it was impossible. Xiao Lians family has been urging her to go home to find a job and oppose us to start a business outside. Every time Xiaolian receives a call from her parents, her eyes will be red and my heart will be full of mixed feelings.

In order to support ourselves, we began to look for opportunities to make money. With the introduction of the students, Xiao Lian became a writer of online writing with his green and astringent writing skills, receiving various manuscripts, soft texts, advertising slogans, speeches, etc. She also found a part-time job in a restaurant off campus. From 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., she packed takeout, cut vegetables, made dumplings and cleaned the house. Her salary was 100 yuan per day. But she often took the food back to the yard, cooked some rice, and two people had a dish. I worked as an errand sophomore around the school, taking express delivery and printing materials on behalf of me. Each order ranged from 2 to 10 yuan. When I was more, I could earn 80 yuan, or 20 or 30 yuan less.

In this way, the courtyard life lasted for three months. Looking back on that summer, although we were poor, we all had a small dream and enjoyed pure happiness.

After leaving the courtyard, we moved into a shop less than 200 meters away from the back door of the school. Although it was not a prime location, the flow of people was considerable. At this point, our second-hand bookstore has a real business card.

The rent of 20000 has emptied all our savings. Decoration seems to be synonymous with luxury. But anyway, bookstores cant be without bookshelves. I personally went to the county to select steel, borrowed uncle Gaos electric welding machine and cutting machine, and my friend Tao and I started to make bookshelves.

At that time, our house every day sparks fly, smoke straight out, the sound of the machine shaking people eardrum pain. The bookshelf has been welded out. Due to the long-time use of welding, the protective measures are just a sunglasses bought for 3 yuan. Tao and my eyes were burned, and the pain was direct tears, and there were traces on their faces.

We went to the town to customize the boards, put them on the shelves, and several giant bookshelves were officially completed: 2 meters long, 2 meters high, half a meter wide on the side, painted with dark red paint, high-end atmosphere, and will never be wronged by any book. However, such a strong bookshelf also has a disadvantage: heavy. It also made us suffer a lot when we moved later.

In order to pay homage to Mr. Lu Xun, we named the bookstore ancient bookstore with southern accent and Northern tune. I usually go to search for books when I have time. Xiaolian sits in the bookstore. The bookstore has set up a group of book friends. Although there are not many books, they are the first choice for lovers of literature, history and philosophy. Many books were bought as soon as they were sent to wechat group. We also made a lot of friends.

Inside of the bookstore

Soon, the end of the year will come, the University holiday, we drag home luggage, the effort to squeeze on the bus to the railway station. The snow fell wantonly and the windows were covered with fog. The car stopped suddenly when it arrived at the transfer station. The driver turned back to everyone and said, after receiving the notice, the snow is too heavy, the road is frozen, and the road is closed in front of you. You can only turn back from the original road!

The journey home needs to be planned again. Xiao Lian and I returned the train ticket in no hurry.

In the snowy sky, we dressed in big cotton padded jacket, wrapped in scarves, stepped on big leather shoes, leisurely back to the bookstore, waiting for the weather to be fine tomorrow. There is a sentence in Dongpos Ci that this place with peace of mind is my hometown. It probably refers to us. I have Xiaolian, Xiaolian has me, we have a bookstore, and we will feel at ease here. This is our home!

As a native of Hubei, am I wrong?

On the 29th of the twelfth lunar month, a large family of children gather at their grandparents home for a reunion dinner. This is the annual practice. Everyone pushes a cup to change a cup. Its very lively.

During the dinner, his uncle, who worked in Enshi Public Security Bureau, received calls from the unit and urged him to return to his post. After answering a phone call, he solemnly said to everyone: recently, the virus that is very hot on the Internet is serious. Xianfeng is going to seal the city immediately. I want to go back to the state. Everyone will disperse after eating. Go home quickly!

After contacting Xiao Lian, I knew that Shandong was not serious, and finally got a trace of comfort.

When the epidemic was at its worst, some people in the town were put in emergency isolation, and people were terrified. Everyone did not dare to open the door, as if only a crack in the door would lead to the virus. Every day, village cadres drive patrol cars and shout loudspeakers. The roads in rural areas are blocked with earth and stone, and no one can get in and out freely.

The fern roots dug by my neighbors family from the mountain are ready to be made into Baba (a snack in my hometown)

Bamboo shoots, Chinese toon, fern and Houttuynia cordata, which are rare wild vegetables, have been almost destroyed. The villagers seem to have the consciousness of fighting a protracted war. They all carry rusty hoes into the fields to grow potatoes. At that time, the people in the village always insisted on self-reliance, just like our Tujia ancestor, Lin Jun, to open up the mountains and forests. As long as there were mountains and water, no one could beat us down.

Villagers go up the mountain to dig wild vegetables

The second-hand bookstore that I yearn for has just had its life, but now its future is uncertain and its vitality is dim. At the beginning of March, Shandong and Gansu were unsealed one after another. Xiaolian went back to Lanzhou alone and presided over the overall situation of the bookstore.

Due to the closure of the University, the business of physical bookstores was poor, so we discussed to transfer our main energy to online business before the University was unsealed. If Taoshu is the lifeblood of a second-hand bookstore, Shangxin is its soul.

After 14 days of self isolation, Xiao Lian set foot on the road to Taoshu. Trapped in my hometown in Hubei, I was worried that her weak body could not bear the pressure, but Xiaolians strength was beyond my imagination. She carried 30-40 kg of books back to the store bag by bag without complaining.

The books Xiaolian found in the recycle bin

Xiaolians hard work was not in vain. In April and may, the amount of online store orders actually exceeded our record of last year. Later, I realized that this was just an illusion under the background of logistics stagnation and many online stores had not returned to work at the same time. The impact of the epidemic on the operation of bookstores has not really emerged.

At the end of May, I was finally able to return to Lanzhou. At the entrance and exit of the railway station, there were special channels for taking temperature and registering passengers from Hubei Province. As a native of Hubei Province, I felt a little panic, but at the same time I understood that it was for the sake of everyones safety.

At the end of May, I finally returned to Lanzhou. The picture shows the sign of Horse Treading on flying swallow in front of Lanzhou railway station

After a bumpy journey, I finally returned to the bookstore, which had been separated for a long time. Compared with last year, Xias official camp has become dead and dreary, the streets are empty, there are few shops opened, and the whole town is lifeless.

When the business of online stores is going downhill, for individual stores like us, the huge destructive power of the epidemic is really reflected. The high rent and the lack of business force us to open a new road. The physical bookstore seems to have been sentenced to death.

In order to survive, we had to break our swords. Together, we would not renew the rent after the store expired in August, and retire online.

Empty streets outside bookstores during the outbreak

I remember that in February, the survey of more than 1000 domestic bookstores by shumeng, a national alliance of small and medium sized bookstores, showed that 90% of the bookstores chose to close down during the Spring Festival, and more than 99% of the bookstores did not have normal income. Some of the more vulnerable bookstores began to close down one after another. The epidemic situation was like a huge black cloud over the physical bookstores.

Some people say that even without this epidemic, physical bookstores are also facing a crisis in this rapidly operating network era. The epidemic is just a fuse. Lets face the road to change.

Concealing sensitive identity, I am a full-time book reader

After returning to Lanzhou for a period of time, I was ready to start full-time Taoshu, Xiaolian was managing online stores at home.

At first, I planned to take the bus to and from the bookstore and the waste collection center, but then something upset my plan.

One day, I was going to take a bus back to the bookstore with the book I found. The driver recognized my accent and asked to check my ID card. When he saw the word Hubei on my ID card, his face suddenly changed. He called the front desk and asked people to come over to take the temperature and check the green code. After checking that everything was normal, I couldnt take the bus because I didnt have a nucleic acid test report at that time. In the end, I had to spend dozens of yuan to taxi back to the bookstore.

Later, one thing changed my mind.

In the process of searching for books, I dont want to communicate with people as Hubei people any longer. I order the hottest dishes when I eat in restaurants. When people ask me, I say Im from Xiangxi, Hunan. Xiangxi borders on Enshi, the hometown, with the same wind and customs. No one can easily uncover this camouflage.

In the eyes of many people, book readers are very mysterious, either knowledgeable or spend a lot of money, which is actually just the daily life of book collectors and rich people. As a second-hand bookstore shopper, my life is hard and interesting. A sunshade hat, a pair of rubber gloves and a knife are all my belongings. I have to go in the hot summer and I cant shrink back in the cold winter.

Im searching for books at the scrap Station

The so-called Taoshu refers to the conscious selection of valuable books from the old paper pile in the waste station. Therefore, there is another name for book readers like me - garbage man. Waste collectors sell waste paper to waste stations, and book readers cut and empty snake skin bags one by one. This is the same as gambling stone. You never know what books are in the bag you cut open.

A book from the waste station tens of thousands of scraps of paper and dust is selected by book readers, taken back to the bookstore, carefully cleaned, put on the shelf, and then mailed to the hands of a book lovers, this is an old books past and present life, the fate of reincarnation. Our responsibility is to continue this cycle.

I found a batch of Chinese medicine books in the waste station

One afternoon in late July, I was squatting in the waste station as usual. A harvester was driving a tricycle, smoking black smoke, with a dozen sacks stacked on it. I help the boss unload the truck as usual - after unloading, this becomes my battlefield.

Bag after bag, the sound of knife cutting through the pocket was endless. I was excited to search. With the sound of Chi La, a pile of yellowing books wrapped in kraft paper rolled out of the gunny bag. Experience and intuition told me that these things were unusual, and my heart beat suddenly. If you look at them carefully, they are all old Chinese medicine books, including two thread bound books. With excitement, I cut open the other bags next to me. They were all Chinese medicine books. I was overjoyed and even took care of my actions.

Among all kinds of old books, TCM books are undoubtedly the most valuable. Traditional Chinese medicine is the essence of Chinese culture. Huangdi Neijing, acupuncture and moxibustion A and B classics are all recognized as excellent traditional culture, and TCM books in the 1950s and 1960s are among the best. All the books in front of me are wrapped in kraft paper. They look like new ones. In professional terms, they are called whole products. They feel as new as new. Besides being practical, they are of high collection value.

This is probably the biggest leakage Ive been searching for books for a year. Just as I was carefully sorting out these books, boss liang of the waste collection station came over. He saw the thread bound book at my hand. He was very surprised. He knew that the book was very valuable, so he joked that I could buy him a drink to take it away. I readily agreed.

A corner of Chinese medicine book after sorting out

At the dinner table, boss Liang said something impressive to me: no matter who he is, if he finds a good thing in my place, no matter how much it is, I will let him take it away. If I turn to what he wants, it is another matter. This is the way to do business. Although there is no treachery or business, no one can stand without trust. Honesty is more important than anything else. A lot of waste station owners see taoshuke turn to good things to sit on the price, this behavior is disgusting.

One cent notes in the book

As the volume of books increased, our online business began to improve. The lease term has not yet arrived, but more than 40 square meters of stores have been unable to hold the books, so moving is imminent. The university is still closed, so we found a remote location with low rent. There is almost no traffic, but the area is twice as large as before - which is the best choice for our present situation.

Affected by the epidemic, we moved to a remote new store

People who engage in old books often move. What does it mean to move a bookstore? Tons of books, shoulder to shoulder, the weight of knowledge bent the backbone of young people, a place lost its cultural landmark, fortunately, a new place rose the curl of book.

So far, our bookstores have turned online. This second-hand bookstore just opened around the university did not last this summer, but I believe that it, like thousands of physical bookstores, did not fall down, but just dormant and hidden.

The picture shows the inside of the bookstore

No winter can not be crossed, we are like a boxwood rooted in this piece of loess, quietly waiting for the arrival of the physical Bookstore spring. It is said that the Northwest University for Nationalities and Lanzhou University are going to be unsealed recently. Maybe the business will turn around as a result! As Shelley said in Ode to the west wind: if wintercomes, can spring be farbehind?

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