Almost every week that I've worked at the Blue Marble (8 years now), I've had a customer come in and tell me that "it's their dream to own/work at a bookstore someday." I smile and nod.
They go on to say, "It must be great being surrounded by all these books and getting the chance to read them whenever you want." I smile and nod, again.
Why do I do just this? Because telling the truth would not convince them otherwise. They really believe this is the life a bookstore owner/employee -- especially the small, indie kind.
But the truth is, in 8 years I've read one book inside the walls of this store. That's right. One. And it wasn't even a full book, just the last three chapters of a EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS (and then I had to try to pull myself together in case customer came in).
Most bookstore people don't read in store. (Nor do librarians.)
I do read. At home. The pile of books on my dining room table, my nightstand, and in my car can attest to that. And while I end up loving so many of those books, I rarely look at those ever-growing piles with affection. They are constant reminders of how much work I have to do.
Some books stay on my pile for a long time. For instance, I finally got around to Life of Pi. It got moved up because my son was reading for his AP English class and wanted to talk about it. When a book is read is really dependent on why I need to read it: One of my favorite authors. A friend's book. The author is visiting the store. I just won a major award.
It's all part of the job. And it's a valuable part of what I do. When a customer comes in and asks, "I've been hearing about this book, have you read it or do you know anything about it?", I can smile and nod.