Yesterday, I bought a book by Clive Linklater entitled Reflections from a Bookshop Window and I opened it randomly to a page that made me laugh:
"The most surprising thing of all about secondhand bookselling is that anyone should want to do it in the first place. What sort of parents are they that encourage their offspring with the suggestion -
'Have you ever considered becoming a secondhand bookdealer when you grow up?'
Where are the schools that have secondhand bookselling on the list of careers that they recommend to their pupils?
Why become a bookdealer, when there is such a shortage of property speculators, television interviewers, media tycoons, prime ministers? (All of which are well paid, and none of which require any particular talents or qualifications.)
Why become a bookdealer, when, if the same techniques were employed selling secondhand cars, the rewards would be a thousand times greater?
And yet people do become bookdealers. For every bookdealer that plunges lemming-like into the sea, there are always two or three young lemmings jostling to take his place on the cliff edge.
Possibly they are motivated by the same sense of calling which persuades a monk to take a vow of poverty."