Consider this business model: You pay nothing for the products you sell. You pay nothing for labor. You give people a good place to take their unwanted stuff. Everything you sell makes someone happy. And every dollar you make enlightens people of all ages in your local community and beyond. 

Twice-Told Tales overseen by the Friends of Curtis Library has operated under that business model since its opening in 2015 on Pleasant Street. The store replaced the previous three-day annual book sale held in late June at the Brunswick Junior High School. 

Most good things come to an end, but this “good thing” just opened on Maine Street on the old site of Bamforth Marine. According to their release, “The new one-level location offers easier customer access, a more convenient drop-off location for donations, and a more visible downtown presence across from the Town Mall.” 

Katy Kline, one of the extraordinary volunteers devoted to running Twice-Told Tales, gave me a tour of the new store. Subject areas include Fiction, Science Fiction, Mystery and Thrillers, classics, Poetry, and a large Children’s section. Among non-fiction titles can be found books on Maine, Biography,, Memoir, True Stories, History, Science, Nature, Hobbies, Crafts and Cooking, Maritime, and Travel. CDs DVSs and audiobooks are also available. They even added a new section in this new location called “Odd Balls” for books with no other logical placement. 

You might wonder what happens when a donor donates a bag of books. How are they sorted, classified and priced? And are any books considered unsaleable for some reason, or beyond redemption, given the condition? 

Some books that might not be right for the store because of an oversupply or for some other reason might be given to Goodwill or Little Free Libraries. Books that are in bad condition might be recycled. As Katy says, “We just hate to toss a book out.” 

As to pricing: All hardbacks are $5, and all paperbacks are $4; for children’s books hardbacks are $1 and paperbacks are 50 cents. 

What if someone brings in a very valuable book? Good question with a good answer. Jim Warner, another amazing volunteer who oversees the Online Sales section and also designed the layout for the new location, uses a special app to scan likely candidates for online sales. If the estimated on-line auction value is $20 or more, then the book is put up for sale on line. “It’s like Christmas when a potentially valuable book comes in,” says Jim. 

A copy of a first edition of “Gone with the Wind” sold on-line for $900, even though it wasn’t in great condition. A signed copy of Barack Obama’s first book, “The Audacity of Hope” sold for $415. Online books, which have been sold to buyers around the world, account for about one-third of the revenue of Twice-Told Tales. 

If someone comes in looking for a particular book that is not in the store, then a volunteer takes the person’s name and number and notifies them when the book does come in. Now that’s service! 

When asked why she contributes so much of her time and talent to Twice-Told Tales, Katy Kline said, “It’s hard to find something to really believe in these days, something that does good things for the community. Katy, herself, has always been a vociferous reader. ‘I grew up in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the library had a policy where you could only take out seven books a week. I would finish all my books in two days, so they finally let me take out more than seven books.” 

Katy notes the tremendous support that Twice-Told Tales has received during the move in addition to the volunteers who have worked full-time for the last month or so doing all the things that need to be done to prepare for the opening. Lowes Home Improvement, for example, donated the new carpets and installed them at no charge. Members of the Bowdoin College Squash team spent four hours on Common Good Day, helping move backroom shelving and boxed books to the new location. 

Twice-Told Tales new location will provide even greater value to the Brunswick community, especially to people who love books. And every bit of profit goes to support and expand the programs of Curtis Memorial Library. It’s an everybody-wins proposition. Stop in and take a look around! 

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

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