By Chris DeLisle, Contributing Writer 

Jim Logan, proprietor of Twice Sold Tales reading one of the thousands of books in his downtown Farmington store. (Photo by Chris DeLisle)

Jim Logan, proprietor of Twice Sold Tales reading one of the thousands of books in his downtown Farmington store. (Photo by Chris DeLisle)

Located on Main Street for nearly 25 years, Twice Sold Tales has been offering thousands of recycled books and stories at an incredible low price to students at UMF.

Jim Logan, the proprietor of the store, is a native of Norman, Oklahoma. Norman, which Logan notes is the home of the University of Oklahoma, played a major influence on as him as he was growing up. Logan expresses that he always had a fascination for history, eventually graduating from his hometown school with a degree in that very field.  

Upon graduation, Logan attended the University of Indiana Graduate School for one year before being drafted into the Army. Upon the conclusion of his service in our armed forces, Logan moved to Washington D.C., where he worked for a Congress member from Oklahoma for the next eight years.

After the Congressman retired, Logan, “gravitated North East,” and wound up coming to Maine on a camping trip with his wife nearly 40 years ago. Never losing the love for the limitless adventures Maine has to offer, Logan and his wife eventually moved to Portland. However, after a while the couple was pulled further North into the alluring Maine wilderness.

Soon, after bidding farewell to his teaching career, Logan found himself in need of something to do. The idea to open the book store stemmed from his developing habit of, “haunting an awful lot of used-book stores.” And, in November of 1993, Twice Sold Tales opened its doors for the first time.

Logan credits his major in history for the suitability to this line of work, stating that as a history buff he is, “exposed to nearly everything.”

Being “exposed to nearly everything” has led to the accumulation of an estimated 30,000 books. This collection includes every genre imaginable, ranging from; mystery to science fiction, history to religion, and even Logan’s personal favorite, books connected to Maine.

Over the past few years online shopping and the invention of new, “e-reader” technology has had a drastic effect on the used-book business. Logan states, “in 2006, I probably did about $25,000 a year in used book sales,” admitting, “if I do $500 a year now, I’m lucky.”

New devices, such as the Kindle, are greatly eliminating the need to own a physical book. Readers can now have access to hundreds of downloadable ebooks right in the palm of their hand. Logan, an avid hiker, points out the incredible amount of advantages that an e-reader can have to someone like him.

Today, more and more people are continuing to attempt to pawn off their old book collections. Logan often experiences customers performing this action, stating that “they no longer have a need for books.”  

Online book sellers, such as Amazon, also create an incredible state of competition. Cheaper prices and the incredible ease of online shopping have lured many away from the used-book industry. Now, it’s not about competition for used-bookstores, it’s about survival.

These factors continue to compile into a very cloudy future for the used-book industry. When Twice Sold Tales first opened in 1993, Logan says that Brunswick, the home of Bowdoin College, “had around 7-10 used-book stores,” Logan continues, “now, they have exactly zero.”

As you walk between the towering aisles of endless adventure and history, beneath the soaring industrial ceilings and under the constant supervision of paintings lining the walls, you realize that this is a fading experience. Bookstores like our very own, where the persistent roar of time ticking forward and the echo of your footsteps dominate the room, will continue to close their doors for good throughout the country. Yes, the used-book industry is dying. The experience of selecting a book off an old dusty shelf, holding it in your hand, purchasing it, and then walking out with it, will soon become American Lore. Before this happens, you may want to ask yourself, “Do I want to experience this feeling before it becomes a distant memory?”