Bookselling is not what it used to be. Never was, really. For me, it was always what I was willing to make of it. It’s probably that way with most independent booksellers. I’ve known a few and the motivations are as diverse as the individuals themselves.
Maybe an explanation for that is in order. The world is full of unpleasant jobs that have to be done. Bookselling is not one of them—unless it’s made to be that way. Selling books as rectangular objects to be marketed with phony advertising or artificial words such as ‘magisterial,’ or ‘brilliant,’ or even the lowly ‘provocative,’ without regard to the real matters that the authors have spent years of their lives (or too few weeks perhaps) working on, is not a better occupation than selling cars or soap.