ROCKLAND—For serious bibliophiles, it was like being a kid in a candy store. For Dooryard Books owner George Parks, who was giving away all of the books, ephemera, and materials his used bookstore has carried the last 23 years, the moment might have been a bit more somber.
A Facebook post on June 23 announced that Parks was offering the giveaway to anyone who walked in. The post got 1.5K shares in 24 hours.
“I’m 88,” he said. “It’s time to retire.”
Other bookshop owners might have gone the way of a reduced price sale, but Parks had another idea in mind.
“I’m giving them away to people who love books,” he said. “I’m happy. If I had to put them in the dumpster, I wouldn’t be happy.”
By June 25, many of the titles were already hauled away by people carrying boxes and bags. Parks said the first to go were town histories. Among other titles in his collection included classics, history, nautical, art, antique and fiction. He also had used books going back to the 1830s. Additionally below the shop, the basement area contained more paperback novels that people could browse.
Parks said he became a bibliophile in high school himself and said his favorite genre was fiction and world history. “History of the wars is something I’ve always been interested in,” he said.
Despite all books being free, Parks had a donation basket out, which was filled with money.
“I just need to cover my expenses to shut down the shop and pay someone to help me,” he said, adding he expected to close for good sometime at the end of July.
All of the bookshelves were for sale; by June 25, most of them had been already sold.
A man was overheard telling Parks, “This is like Christmas for me; it’s wonderful.”
For a book lover, the free giveaway was a mixed bag of emotions. To see all of those books being carried out meant they were getting a second life, but a melancholy feeling settled in, seeing all of the empty shelves, knowing yet another bookshop was closing for good.
Dooryard Books at 438 Main Street in Rockland will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop doesn’t have a website or a Facebook page, so the hours may be unpredictable. See info on Yelp.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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