Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two bookshop conversations (a tiny glimpse into the world of a bookseller.)

Grey haired, tall, loud, brusque man "Where do you keep your essays?"
Me "What were you looking for?"
"You know, not made up stuff."
"Hmmm. What subject? History? Politics? Literary criticism? Biography...?"
"It's for my son. He's 15 and doesn't like made up stuff. I want essays."
"Well, on the 4th floor we have xyz, on 3rd we have xyz, on second we have xyz..."
"Oh just forget it."

Mid 30's woman examining Sony reader ~ "You know what would be good?"
Me ~ "Nope."
"If they invented something that could say the words of the story aloud."
"Erm, like a talking book?"
"We-e-ell, we do sell cd's of books. They are just here." Gestures towards audio books.
"No. NO. With pictures too. For children."
"Oh, right. How old? We sell books with cd's for children on the next floor up."
"No. Not books, The pictures are too flat. Moving pictures, and a story."
I think, hmmm, call me crazy, but doesn't that sound like a television?


Anonymous said...

These made me chuckle, Sara. Thanks for sharing.


Zo Hashim said...


Haha you end up meeting a lot of people like that, though it works in the other direction too. I was trying to buy some Graphic Novels for my little brother a few months ago and an enthuastic salesman tried to sell me everything he could find on the shelf!

Nice blog, I enjoy your work:)


Anonymous said...

Ah, brings back fond memories of my Waterstone's days. Like the woman who asked who wrote the Tony Benn Diaries, and the man who wanted us to contact the publisher of a paperback kids book (that had only ever been paperback) and request that they did a hardback version *especially for him*.

Group 8 said...

As a former bookseller, I empathise. We had a man looking for books on chickens. Not ones you eat, ones you rear. He had been to every bookshop in the city with the same request. We had heard from our fellow booksellers all about him. We were thrilled when he came in! He didn't really want the book; when we offered to order one, he lost interest. Mild chicken fetish, anyone?!

Unknown said...

Cheers, Martin.

Zo, how kind of you, much appreciated :) And yup, they are everywhere!

kirsty, did you not get the hb for your customer? Tsk, shoddy service ;)

wrw - oh crikey! That's odd.

Douglas Bruton said...

Confession: I have always wanted to work in a bookshop... my son does... I am so jealous.

Thanks for these wee glimpses into the life of the bookseller... I enjoyed this.


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