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Need help/opinions.

My mother is working to open a small business, and she's working with names for said business. There's a number of names on the table, and without giving away too many details (I'll probably ask a follow-up question with more details), one of the names that's come up is "Black Sheep Books."

Assuming you found this name browsing a web list of coffee shops or bookshops, or in the yellow pages under those listings, what associations does this name bring to mind? If you learned that this business was near your neighborhood, what would you expect to find going there?

A lot of my friends have a highly-developed sense of irony or are of great wit, and at this particular moment I need to be serious here, because I actually am interested in this (particularly as it impacts my mother's future and therefore my sanity).

Please help me out with just a few words on this name--I know I'm not providing any real info, it's intentional. Even if it's "that name has no associations for me, and doesn't give me any idea of what I'd expect there." That's helpful, too.

If you know me personally and know the extended details, try and put that away and pretend I hadn't been talking about this earlier.

Thank you SO much for any opinions you can give--this actually is important to me.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
I'd assume a coffee house with naughty books.
May. 11th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
I'd assume it'd be offbeat books...something like those small bookstores you see near college campuses with large sections for GLBT stuff, conspiracy theories, astrology, etc. Stuff you're not likely to find in a mainstream bookstore, and taking pride in that fact.
May. 11th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
I would assume that a storefront called Black Sheep Books would be a non-Borders/Barnes and Nobles independent bookseller and that "Black Sheep" referred to being out of the corporate family of chain booksellers.

My second thought, based on my own personal hobbies and interests is that Black Sheep Books would be a really good name for a publisher of knitting/weaving/yarn-stuff manuals, somebody taking over the print rights to the books that Interwoven doesn't want to keep in print anymore.
May. 11th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
It does scream "independent bookstore." Possibly used bookstore with a large volume of cheap science fiction paperbacks.
May. 11th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
I'd think if the name had any significance, I'd expect unusual books of some kind, probably non-mainstream. But it's such a simple name that I could just as easily see it being the name of an independent book store with nothing unusual about it -- just that it's not Borders, Barnes & Noble, or any one of the other book store chains.
May. 11th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
Black Sheep Books would probably imply to me counter-culture and anti-authoritarian - like a head shop or, indeed, naughty bookstore.
May. 11th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
If it's a bookstore, great. If she's trying to make the name fit a particular type of bookstore - like French Cuisine or something - then the Black Sheep part is meaningless. The only extrapolation I'd be able to make about the first two words is they specialize in childrens' books. But that would be a stretch.

So many bookstores are failing today. I'm not sure bookstores or music stores are wise to open up today unless there's a particular niche that she knows isn't being filled in the immediate area. It would be wise to get a 5 yr old phonebook and call all the bookstores to see how many are still in business.

May. 11th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
True, true--it's a rough time for indy bookstores these days. She's had one for the last 10 years, though, so I'm pretty sure she knows how screwy that business is. I agree, though.
May. 11th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
May. 11th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link--honestly, I'm pretty sure it's impossible to find a name that hasn't been used, particularly if it's a relatively easy image or play on words.
May. 11th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
Given the fact that it's in Vermont, trademark shouldn't be an issue. I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of books they sell.
May. 11th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
OK, so I put myself in a mindset before I even got too far into your post. I wanted to pretend like I was walking down the street and glanced upon an ad for Black Sheep Books. The first images that came into my head were

1) A small independent book store
2) Possibly a pornography bookstore

Those were the first immediate thoughts.

Hope that helps and goooooooood luck!
May. 11th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
The only store I've ever been in called B;ack Sheep [whatever] was a yarn store. If I saw a phone book entry for Black Sheep Books, I woulod probably assume it was a quirky local bookstore with either offbeat childrens' books or offbeat everything books.
May. 11th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
Divorsing myself from what I know if the idea, the name brings to mind an underground / avante gard kinda' notion. Almost feels like a 24-hour-news stand.. lite..
May. 11th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)

I think that bookstore would sell works that its clientele may have been ostracized from the mainstream becuse of their interest in the store's subjet matter. The subject matter tends to have negative connotation, but I wouldn't come down confidentaly on "Black Sheep" selling pornography. Pagan, or anti-government maybe?
May. 11th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
Not knowing if it's a publisher or a store, it's really vague.

First, I'd assume it's a store (because having a publisher in the neighborhood is only handy for a small number of people). I'd assume it specialized in one of several things:
1) Journals bound with sheep leather
2) Books that have been banned in the past (everything from Harry Potter to Huck Finn)
3) Books that may not have been banned, but aren't popular inventory for traditional bookstores for various reasons.

Honestly, though, I would also theorize that it could be a publisher for potentially controversial material. A safe haven for Solomon Rushdie, if you will.
May. 11th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
"Ewe wool love our books"
May. 11th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
I would assume that it was an artsy/alternative "real" bookstore where the content wasn't dictated by the Southern Baptist Convention.
Casual feel, open and welcoming, a great place to hang out with friends and have tea and actually discuss the various books everyone is reading. Poetry readings on Thursday nights with a 'bring a dessert' potluck!

I'd go there!
May. 12th, 2007 05:23 am (UTC)
general location? the first thing that brings to my mind is the old bookstore in north austin called black bart books, cuz it kinda sounds the same.

second thought is a nice selection of children's classics, the ones where characters still got the shit beat out of them and died and all.
May. 12th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
It reminds me of a store one would find books that aren't that common. The black sheep being the odd books that you normally wouldn't find most anywhere else.
May. 14th, 2007 05:17 am (UTC)
A lot depends on the context - what font and colors are used in the advertising when writing the name itself, in addition to everything else that's written alongside it.

If I was just reading it in the phone book, with standard text and no other information, it would depend which heading I read it under. Asa coffee shop, it would seem like someplace that might have some interesting philosophy books, maybe some unpopular political and social theory treatises (Marx, etc). If I read it under "books", it might be the aforementioned place. Or it could be a rival to Forbidden Fruit. I'd do more research before taking my grandmother there.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )