Note to Pubvolks: Please be this guy. (Bookseller Jonathan Tonge's thoughts on the economics of fun and passion)
Brought to my attention this morning via Shelf Awareness: yesterday's Athens Banner Herald features this article in which local businessmen, including Jonathan Tonge, owner of Dog Ear Books, discuss the ups and downs of the local economy. Tonge, who says he had "a pretty big year" in 2010, working 70-hour weeks with his small staff and playing bass with a popular Athens band, The Bearfoot Hookers, had this to say:
"In this day and age, you've got to look at a bookstore like it's in the service industry. I want to provide a complete experience for people, as opposed to just having books on shelves... It's about open-mic nights and book signings and it's about having fun. What stinks is that in the last couple of years, people have had the fun sucked right out of them."Tonge also offers this sage advice that applies to everyone in the book biz, starting with authors:
"If you don't care about what you're doing, why would anybody else care? You have to show your customers that this is something you're passionate about, which is what a small business is all about. If you can't convey that to your customers, and there are a lot of ways to do that, you're probably not going to succeed. If it's not obvious to people that this is something you care deeply about, they're not going to care deeply about your business. That's what I want to get across - this is more than just a dollars and cents thing."