By Richard MacTough
Carroll and Carroll Booksellers is located on Main Street in downtown Stroudsburg. The store was founded over 20 years ago by Proprietors George and Lisa Carroll. Walking in the store shows that there is a huge collection of books of various genres.
Readers can find classic works of fiction and philosophy. Books are stacked on top of each other next to shelves, and the owner’s cat can be seen lingering around.
George Carroll describes using as much space for books as possible. Bigger businesses, such as Barnes and Noble, install coffee shops and toys for children. Carroll has been in the business of selling books since the Nixon presidency.
He thought about when they bought the space just over 20 years ago.
“We looked at stores that were for sale in Woodstock of New York and some in New Jersey. We ended up renting this space [the current store],” said Carroll. “I got into the book business because I studied subjects unsuitable to make a living.”
Carroll is a lifetime learner specializing in Greek philosophy.
“When I was in junior high school, I gone to my local library and the library didn’t have a set of Aristotle. That is where I got to in my reading. I realized in that moment if I wanted to read I was either going to have to move to a city or a university town with a really good library. Or I could go in the book business and so I did the latter,” said Carroll.
He always wanted to live in the world of books and not just necessarily sell them.
During his time in Allentown he worked in a smaller chain different than a store like Barnes and Noble. They were in the business of selling remainder books.
Remainder books are print copies that are no longer selling well. The remaining copies unsold are liquated by publishers for a smaller price.
He showed a book that came out just a week ago by Harold Bloom. Bloom is one of the most respected, well read and widely published critics in the English-speaking world.
“The publisher may have done 40,000 copies. We bought on terms that we pay a percentage of the publishers suggested price. If the book doesn’t sell I box it up and send it back. Barnes and Noble returns 50 percent of what come into the store,” said Carroll.
He described the business of books as a market in constant turmoil. Carroll explained the corporation doesn’t really care if consumers are not purchasing books.
Many of the chain stores have coffee shops and toys. Barnes and Noble has an algorithm deciding which books to stock on their shelves.
“Publishers hire authors to write books that are niche filled,” said Carroll. “They are not out there looking for Moby Dick.”
Diet books, for example, are popular niche items to sell after the holiday season. Some reasons are because people eat richer foods during that time and are now concerned with losing weight.
Carroll spoke about the importance of parents reading in front of their children. He has observed curiosity is not sparked as much as it used to be.
“The desire to be distracted and the need to be distracted is huge,” said Carroll.
Books are not being read as much because of the larger selections of distraction than ever before. Many play video games and watch movies.
The proprietor also acknowledged books are designed to be adaptable. They give information and experiences. He shared why individuals love reading.
“People love being able to stick a finger in a book, carry it to the room, pour a cup of coffee, come back and pop the book open,” said Carroll.
Email Richard at: