Lonely? BookPeople of Moscow may have the cure – with their “Blind Date with a Book” program, you could go to bed with a new book any night of the week.
“So you go up, and the books are wrapped so you can”t see what they are,” University of Idaho freshman Miles Ward said. “They have some descriptive words on the wrapping and only after you buy it do you find out what the book is.”
Ward was initially attracted to the program because he wanted something to read, but felt overwhelmed by the number of titles there were to choose from.
“I thought that getting a blind date with a book would be nice because it would give me a random book to read,” he said.
His first date was with Juliana Barbassa”s “Dancing With the Devil in the City of God,” a book about what the city of Rio de Janeiro faces as it prepares for the 2016 Olympics.
Ward said it was a great book and it spurred him to go on another blind date.
Jesica DeHart, the assistant manager of BookPeople, said book stores often get advanced reader copies (ARCs) of books from publishers to see if they want to carry the book or not. She made it clear that ARCs are not the finished copy of the book – there is still some editing to be done, and there might be occasional spelling mistakes or similar errors.
“Once we”re done previewing them, we put little hints on them,” DeHart said. “It gives you a chance to read a book months and months before it comes out.”
However, book stores are not allowed to sell these copies after they”ve finished previewing them.
“We used to donate them to the jail or the homeless shelter,” DeHart said, “While that”s a great thing to do, it didn”t really give us a chance to interact with the buyers of the books.”
While publishers do not allow book stores to sell them, they do allow them to receive donations for the books.
This allows the readers to get them for a fraction of the shelf price – usually for a suggested $3 donation.
BookPeople puts on many of the book fairs that occur throughout Moscow and Pullman, as well as some of the smaller surrounding towns.
DeHart said because the cost of the books is 100 percent donation-based, the money never goes through the register at all – instead, it all goes toward BookPeople”s book fair fund.
“We always find that when we do these book fairs, there are a handful of children whose parents, grandparents, or caregivers, were not able to buy them a book,” said DeHart, “These children would show up with 78 cents to buy a books, and we were reaching into our own pockets and making up the difference.”
She said that this wasn”t a very sustainable business model. Ultimately, they realized instead they should set up some sort of fund to provide for these children.
The long term solution was Blind Date with a Book. It funds $10 gift cards for children pre-identified by the schools as needing the aid.
“We leave the book fair knowing that ideally, every single student at that school got a book,” DeHart said.