Name: Kim Soman Deatherage

Occupation: Owner of Novel Ideas Books and Gifts

Age: 53

City of residence: Decatur, by way of Wisconsin

What is your favorite thing about owning a bookstore?

My people. I have interesting people who come in looking for different things. We are much more than just a used book store. We have new books, used books and bargain books, and we have everything else. Having a shop like this is kind of like being a bartender for book lovers. Sometimes people are looking for information, sometimes they’re looking for direction, sometimes they’re looking for fun. Helping them have that “a-ha” moment is what we try to do.

What’s the most interesting thing that a customer has tried to find at Novel Ideas?

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There’s so many things! Interesting is a relative statement because some requests are “What’s the rarest book you have?”, but it can also be “I collect pop-up books. What do you have?." It doesn’t have to be expensive to be interesting. Sometimes interesting is a 7-year-old boy who goes “You need to have the ‘Haunted Library’ book series in here,” and so we have them. That’s something that I can pass on to other people. We’re always gathering information to help and solve problems.

What kind of books do you like to read?

I like older books — things that have a sense of character that the modern books will never have. Sometimes that’s an illustrated book, sometimes it’s one with a really cool binding, sometimes it’s the content.

Is it important that people try their best to preserve older books?

Yes. It's like we're the guardians of these books, rather than owners. They give us a perspective of history. They give us a different perspective on how new things are. That's the kind of thing that influences who we are and how we think. It's just so cool! When older books survive, it gives us an appreciation that we're here for just a moment, and the books go on. 

What’s your favorite quotation from an author?

Mark Twain once said, “Those who don’t read good books have no advantage over those who can’t.” I even have that on a poster.

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jcook@herald-review.com | (217) 421-7980


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