Things Bookseller’s DO NOT Want to Hear
Booksellers are in the store to help you, but please remember that you are not the only one in the store. We also need to help others. Bookstores are generally understaffed and the amount of time we can spend on each customer is limited. We will do our best but please take a moment to think before you approach us. We also get asked the same questions, over and over, five days a week which chisels away on our nerves. Please read this and make your local Bookseller happy.
1. Hi, I’m looking for a book…
Well it might seem to be an appropriate greeting it is NOT, we already know that you are looking for a book because your are in a bookstore. I hear this phrase from at least 75% of customers. I urge instead, to cut back on time (yours and mine), to say “Hi, I’m looking for Ghost Story by Jim Butcher.” A faster exchange of words will help you get what you need faster.
2. Where is the nonfiction section?
This question kills me and it is generally spoken by someone interrupting another customer figuring that we will just wave them to the right direction. There are two general categories of books, Fiction and Non-Fiction… Untrue and True. From that they branch our to History, Gardening, Sports, Science Fiction, Mystery…well, you get the point. When you ask this, we have to ask (for example) “What are you looking for” and you might answer “A biography on Churchill”. You are looking for a biography, why not just ask “Where are the biographies?” Once again, this is a time saver for the both of us. If I was a mean bookseller (most days I am not) and you asked where the nonfiction was, I would just wave my hand all around the store then ignore you. Lucky for you, we Booksellers are a kind and gentle people (most of the time).
3.Are you sure it is not in the backroom?
If a bookseller tells you a book is not in stock, then it is not in stock. We profit nothing if we lie to you and we have no reason to, it is our job to find what you need. The backroom is not a mystical place where everything you need is hidden away. Mostly, a back room is overstock (more items than we can fit on the floor) of titles we already have. For example, you may see 20 copies of a James Patterson book on the book floor and you can bet there are 20 more BOXES of it outback. Half of the backroom space is for books being returned and yes, if it is due for a return we can see it on the computer screen and we will know to look in the backroom. Lastly, the backroom is where the books are received then put on the book floor roughly by 11am. And yes, we can see the receive date and time on our computer so we will know to go out back. The backroom is not a bookstore within a bookstore, it is storage and overstock.
4. Where is the second floor?
I work in a one floor bookstore. It is very simple to see if there is a second floor or not without asking… look up.
5. But, is it in paperback?
If a bookseller hands you a hardcover, it is because it is all we have available. We understand that books are expensive, and if you ask for a book, we will generally grab the cheapest version or at least bring back all options. Also, if it is a new book (featured on a table, endcap, or new release bays) it is not going to be in paperback. A book will be in hardcover format for at least 6 months or up to a year until it is released in paperback. But, it you want the hardcover, be sure to ask for that first before we run to get the book!
6. Oh, and I have another book I need you to find…
If you have a list of books you need, please let us know. We have no problem collecting those books for you but DO NOT say one book, have us walk back to the section and bring back to book, and then ask for another. It’s like a bandaid, rip it off quick. You can hand us the list (please remember to highlight the ones you want) and we can just work on autopilot. Having us walk back and forth takes us more time and it give the people behind you in line more time to plot your death.
7. Wow, I can’t believe your open during this storm! (blizzards/hurricanes)
We are open because people ignore storm warnings and severe weather conditions! The booksellers, I can assure you, DO NOT want to be in the store during a storm. The store stays open because it knows that there are people who will risk their lives and brave the elements. So if you decide to go into a bookstore during a hurricane or blizzard, say nothing about the weather.
8. Hey, the online price is cheaper…
Then buy it online, wait the 3-8 business days for the shipping, and stay out of the store! The reason why the physical store sells their books at list price is because it costs money to pay for the employees that work in the store! Warning: Every time you buy a book online, a bookseller dies!
Sincerely – The Bookseller