by Portia Turner
1. Know something about the book.
We booksellers are pretty good at researching and finding book titles and authors if we have some information to go off of. The following are NOT useful.
· It has a blue cover.
o You might hear booksellers make fun of this statement. That’s because the majority of books published have blue covers. I don’t know why but that’s just how it goes. That’s not to say that we can’t find a book based on the cover. Try to remember what image was on the cover. We can make magic happen if we have an idea of what the cover looks like rather than just what color it is.
· I saw it in your window 6 months ago.
o Fun fact: we don’t remember what was in the window last week. New books are constantly coming out and people buy the books out of the windows so the displays are always changing. LIFE HACK: If you see a book you like in the window (or on a table, for that matter), take a picture of it. We can easily look up a book from a picture.
· I don’t remember anything about it but I heard about it on NPR.
o As much as you might think that knowing that it was discussed on NPR might be helpful, it’s not. NPR has tons of programming and most of the guests are authors who have published books. We are able to look it up if you know what show you were listening to, what they were discussing, or even what day and time of day the broadcast happened.
· My friend bought this book here a while ago. I don’t remember anything about it but she got it here. Do you have it?
o No. Just no.
2. Don’t be a dick.
Pretty self-explanatory. We are here to help you and, contrary to what you might believe, we actually like helping you. We love talking about books and we want you to find something that you will love. Sometimes that means we ask a lot of questions so that we can get an idea of what you need. We're not doing this just to bug you.
3. Please be patient.
We will actually be able to help you faster if you are patient. I know. It seems counterintuitive but it’s actually true.
4. And, most importantly, don’t tell us that you are going to go buy it on Amazon.
We make our livelihoods selling books. And so it really hurts us when you tell us that you are going to take our book advice (even if you just read our recommendation on a card, which we took time writing) and then let us know that you are taking advantage of us. I know that they are cheap. Just don't announce it to me. Just quietly leave. We can’t control what you do in your own home. Just, please, don’t break our hearts while you are in the store.
Now, I don’t want any of this to scare you away from asking for help or coming into bookstores. We actually love talking to people about books! A conversation with customers can make our entire day. These are just pieces of advice that will make your shopping experience better.