December 19, 2012

Erin's Bookends store now serves the world

As published in The Erin Advocate

The Book Ends store in Erin has thrown its doors open to readers throughout the world with the launch of its Online Bookstore.

People can still drop in and browse through the regular collections at 45 Main Street, but now there is a special section, with 1,200 books set aside for internet sales.

"It's been a wonderful experience – the world has opened up to Book Ends," said Coordinator Eleanor Kennedy at the launch event last week, praising the volunteers who have worked on the project for East Wellington Community Services (EWCS) over the last two and a half years.

The Erin store is now part of a network of independent booksellers through the website, which can be accessed directly or through a link at Based in Victoria, BC, provides access to thousands of booksellers and 140 million books.

The Erin section of the site has been active since March, but they did not hold their grand opening until they worked out some technical challenges and built up a collection of unique, out-of-print and collectable publications. There's now an inventory valued at $20,000, and the most expensive item ($300) is an early leather bound edition of Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man.

Most of the online books are in the $10 - $30 range. Shipping can add $9 or more to that, but local residents can save by going in to pick up their purchases. People can also browse in person by reading through the catalogue binder and make purchases at the store from either the regular shelves, or the glassed cabinets of online books.

"The world's a book, and it's open to you," said Kennedy. The volunteers received congratulations from Town Councillor John Brennan and Board President Allan Alls at Friday's reception.

The project was originally started by Enid Acton, with the help of Zina Darling. Gerry Wright later took up the major task of researching potential books for the online collection, and pricing them based on their condition and the existing market value at other on-line stores.

About 300 books have been sold so far, generating $2,500 in profit for the EWCS Food Bank, Seniors Programs and Children's Programs. They have made sales throughout North America and Europe, and even to Australia and Taiwan.

The site enables shoppers to browse the EWCS Book Ends collection by Author, Title, Keyword or ISBN Number. Each book has a detailed description, and they may eventually all have a photo of the cover.

The categories include Fiction, Travel, Cooking, Children's, Gardening, Coffee Table Books, Sports, Crafts, Poetry, Music, Humour, History, Health and Photography.

You can place an order at any time, but volunteers will only be at the store to process and ship them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.