Every once in a while, we’ll get a call from someone wanting books by the foot. We once got a call from a guy who bought a big house with a library and needed 160 feet of books to fill it up — and give the illusion that he is a reader. A couple of weeks ago, a designer called. She’s furnishing a house in Vail and wanted 10 feet of books about alpine subjects in blue covers. Sometimes, someone will bring a swatch of wallpaper into the store and look for books that match it.
We’ll pretty much sell anyone anything they want, but selling books by the foot isn’t a bookseller’s happiest chore, because you know that the people buying them are more interested in decoration than education. They want books, but not for the purposes books are intended.
I liken our position to the owner of a pet store who has someone come in and ask for 10 puppies so he can feed his lion. It’s not what puppies (or books) are made for.