During our Mobile Stop in Wilmington, North Carolina husband and wife JoAnn and Irving Fogler came and reminisced about their little bookstore, The Bookery.
JoAnn told what she calls “The Bible with the Wide Margins” story: A customer came to return a Bible for not having wide enough margins. JoAnn told him “I can see the margins are a little too small, you give me this back and I’ll send for it personally.” When he came back a week or two later JoAnn presented the Bible to him by opening the book slowly, letting the pages fan out in a grand way. She said, “See, these margins are wide, they are so wide the company said it is going to go into the Guinness Book of Records!” The customer was very pleased and every time he came by the bookstore he would remark, “This is a bookstore that really follows through.” JoAnn explains, sometimes it is not what you say but how you say it. He never realized that JoAnn had presented him with the same bible he had returned!
JoAnn goes on to tell the story of “The Fresh Books.” A customer protested over the price of a book saying it was too expensive, “I could go down to K-Mart and get it cheaper.” JoAnn replied “Let me tell you a secret about K-Mart’s books, please do not repeat this.” Meanwhile her partner in the bookstore was in the back room scratching her head. JoAnn continued, “K-Mart does not sell fresh books, their books have been around for years and we sell the freshest books in town!” He said, “Well you know, you have a point there, ” and he bought the book.
The Bookery gave JoAnn the chance to connect with people and make them feel good through “wider margins” or “fresh books.” She remembers her customers fondly, and after retiring from the bookstore she finds that more than anything she misses the touch of the people.