Most book dealers have a story about how they found themselves in the book trade and I am no exception.\ I don’t think there are many small kids who aspire to grow up to be used book dealers, but I may be as close as they come.
From my earliest memories of childhood, I have been fascinated by commerce. I loved everything that had to do with just about any aspect of commerce. I can remember when I was 6, teaching my 2 year old brother how to count using play money as my media for teaching. Whenever friends came over to play I would often suggest playing “store.” Of course, I wanted to run the cash register: that was my favorite part. Add to this the fact that I was an early reader: I was already reading before I got to pre-school and when we arrived in Modesto mid-way through first grade I angered my teacher by reading the entire reading textbook (a year’s worth of curriculum) my first weekend in her class. Books and commerce, commerce and books – I guess my childhood was a foreshadowing of what was to come.
During college I truly became a voracious reader. In addition to the textbooks for my business classes (no surprise there), I was often reading as many as 10 books at once, just for fun. I never did find much interest in novels, but loved non-fiction, especially theology and church history. I also discovered the joy of used book stores. Every Thursday night the main street in downtown San Luis Obispo, California was closed off for a local Farmer’s Market. For most of my 4 years at Cal Poly Thursday nights meant the trek downtown for fresh veggie’s, ribs at McClintock’s, and an hour or so at Leon’s Book Store which was a favorite among Cal Poly students.
Just 2 weeks after graduation from Cal Poly, back in my hometown of Modesto, California, I received a phone call from the owners of Modesto’s premier used book store Yesterday’s Books. Since I had grown up with their children and had known them for over 10 years already, the invitation to work at the store was an easy one. In fact I was called at 10 in the morning, and started at 1 that afternoon. What started out as a six-week temporary position grew into a full-time position, one that I held for six years. During that time I started my seminary training, feeling a call into full time ministry. To help pay my seminary bills I started selling books mail-order and even signed up with a new Internet based dealer-to-dealer network called Interloc. My employers were aware of my moonlighting in the same industry and even gave it their blessing.
I left my employ with the Dorman’s at Yesterday’s Books in the spring of 1997, having joined a music-based missionary troupe based in California. For the next 6 years I spent my life on a bus traveling throughout the United States and 18 foreign countries, giving as many as 300 concerts a year. In 2002 I completed my third two-year tour of duty and knew it was time to come home, but not sure what I was to do when I returned.
What I knew is that I needed a non-traditional job because I wanted a flexible schedule that would leave the door open for ministry opportunities that would open up locally. Well, the Internet market for books had changed dramatically while I was on the road and it was easy to step back into what I knew well. Plus, I could run the business from my parent’s home while I re-established myself financially and explored the next chapter in my saga.
So that’s the current chapter in the life of this book dealer. I specialize in religion (surprise, surprise) hoping that a good inventory of Protestant and Catholic theology and history reference will enable me to be of service to busy pastors and seminarians. In addition to the Internet business, I exhibit at several book fairs each year as well as several home schooling conventions. And yes, the flexibility of a home-based on-line business has allowed time for local missionary opportunities. For the past three years I have worked as the assistant Christmas Kettle Co-coordinator for the Salvation Army in Modesto where I also serve as the Church Worship Leader.
Dan Glaeser operates Dan Glaeser Books in Modesto, CA and can be contacted at http://www.DanGlaeserBooks.com