Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bookstore Bingo: All Five Across!

Meghan Dietsche Goel -- August 24th, 2018

In the footsteps of my fellow ShelfTalker bloggers this week, I bring you: Bookstore Bingo, the BookPeople Edition! Some stories are my own, others have been collected from other BookPeople colleagues, but they all happened in our store (well, except for the extra credit square).

The most obvious result of my informal survey was that it’s not just Cynthia’s store. The bathroom is really where it’s at.

The Once Upon a Potty Routine:
Has anyone seen the bathroom? Where, oh where’s the bathroom? You must have a bathroom. May I show you to the bathroom? Why, of course we have a bathroom. You have to have a bathroom! Do you have a bathroom?

Why, yes, we do! Continue reading

Thursday’s Bingo Action

Kenny Brechner -- August 23rd, 2018

We’ve come to Thursday of this week’s ShelfTalker BINGO grid. Each day this week one of us ShelfTalkers has been setting down some heard-at-the-store standouts  (see Monday’s squaresTuesday’s squares, and Wednesday’s squares). Today’s theme is MOSTS, meaning Most exemplary customer declamations made at DDG Booksellers recently.

Before we get to recently, though, we’ll start with…

Most memorable quote of all time: (An 11 year old at the register) – “Book writers blow my mind. They just tap tap tap all day long so I can read what they wrote all night long.”

Most dramatic declaration. “She died!” ( A teen customer had just finished The Bird and the Blade and was shattered that the lead character dies at the end.)

Most judicious observation: “There are people, friends of mine, who I considered to be politically and ecologically conscious who I was shocked to learn had purchased bottled water from Amazon.”


Most untrue statement: “What do you mean it’s not available in paperback? Amazon is selling paperback copies for $11.99.” (that turned out to be an ebook-only title)

Most haunting exchange:

Customer: Where is your true haunting section?

Clare: We have several books over here in the Maine section.

Customer: Just these? ! I think you have a whole big section of them somewhere in the store.

Clare: I’ll check on that. (Goes to the computer and then checks in with me to learn that what we have in Maine is all there is.)

Clare: No I’m afraid these are the only ones we have.

Customer: Then can someone else help me?

Most TMI statement: “I had to stop at the gas station to check my tire pressure. that tpms button can really drive you crazy. Last week I got a nail on the outside of my right front tire. I got it fixed but I’m worried that it didn’t seal properly.”

Most unexpected customer demonstration: A 45 year old man on all fours to demonstrate a vehicular push toy to his wife.

Most lacking in detail. “Order all the rest of those maps in that series” (this was the opening of a telephone call with no precursor or indicator as to who the caller was)

Most striking compliment: She likes Princess Pulverizer almost as much as Princess in Black. (That is, a VERY great deal)

Most likely to make a bookseller blush: “I knew Spinning Silver was coming out, but I waited until I came to visit this summer to buy it from you.”

Most perplexing: How long will it take my son to solve this puzzle? (The puzzle was the Perplexus puzzle)

Another Round of Bookseller Bingo

Cynthia Compton -- August 22nd, 2018

My ShelfTalker colleagues are having lots of fun with our BINGO theme this week (see Monday’s post and Tuesday’s post), and it’s my turn to cover a few squares —errrrr—- I mean customers who regularly pop up in our little shop. Perhaps, you, too, will be able to use your big dabber pen (or dauber pen, depending on where you play) to cover these?

B Is for Bathroom

The most important room in our store, honestly, is our large, stroller-accessible bathroom. We have two commodes — one at regular height, and one mounted much lower on the wall, to accommodate our small guests. For our new customers, this always usually leads to the following:

“LOOK! They have a little potty! Oh, my gosh, you have the best bathroom! Kids, everyone, go to the bathroom while we’re here! No, Jonathan, just TRY. You had to go a minute ago. Yes, you did. You go right now, I mean it. O.K. fine, but I’m telling you, you should see this bathroom.”

Family stays in the store for the next 20 minutes or so, completes their purchase, waits for gift wrap, finds most of their sippy cups, shoes, and small plastic fast food giveaway toys that the kids were clutching as they arrived, and makes their way to the car. Car then pulls up to the sidewalk in front of our store, one rear door of the minivan slides open, and out pops… Jonathan, who races to the back of the store and straight into the bathroom.

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B-I-N-G-O! The Game of Things Booksellers Hear Daily

Elizabeth Bluemle -- August 20th, 2018

A couple of years ago, one of our customers brought us a homemade BINGO board. Instead of numbers, each square was filled with funny things she imagined we might encounter—with customers, co-workers, technology glitches, etc.—during the crazy holiday season. It was an inspired idea, and we did a little adding and tweaking to create the BINGO board we shared here in a 2016 PW ShelfTalker blog post.

Recently, bookseller Bob Lingle (recent new owner of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore in Lakewood, N.Y.) posed a kindred question in a private booksellers’ Facebook group. “I think it would be a fun activity to do a ‘Bookseller Bingo,’ he said, “for phrases you hear or questions you’re asked. Any thoughts on what the spaces could be?”

He named a few of his own, and thus began a conversation that drew in more than 50 booksellers with a couple hundred comments. It was gratifying and hilarious and relieving to know that other colleagues share our experiences of the many odd, funny, and sometimes annoying things people say to booksellers on a regular basis. I thought ShelfTalker readers might enjoy a peek into the back room, as it were, so I asked folks if I might share some of their responses. They said yes (hooray!). Readers, welcome to life behind our sometimes-cluttered counters. Continue reading

A Pen Pal at Red Balloon Bookshop

Meghan Dietsche Goel -- August 17th, 2018

Earlier this summer, we lost a longtime bookseller, but in the best possible way: to another indie bookstore! Cindy Kittok had worked at BookPeople for over 11 years, starting as a holiday cashier, transitioning to a full-time bookseller, and eventually heading up our troupe of enthusiastic Puppet Show Players, writing scripts based on books like Martina the Beautiful Cockroach for eager storytime crowds. About 3-4 years ago, she took on her most memorable role of all, joining fellow bookseller (and seasoned local actor) Michael Stewart as half of a live-action Elephant and Piggie storytime duo! As their storytime crowds grew bigger and bigger, they even started taking the show on the road to our bookfairs at local schools.

You can imagine that when Cindy told us she and her family were moving to Minneapolis, we were very sad to see her go. But when I heard she had connected with our friends at Red Balloon Bookshop, I was thrilled that she would be staying in the indie bookstore family. And knowing a little  bit about their store (although I’ve never been to Minnesota), I knew she would be joining a great team up there. I reached out recently to see how everything was going. Continue reading

Can Zafon’s Cemetery Series Be Read in Any Order?

Kenny Brechner -- August 16th, 2018

With the Labyrinth of the Spirits, Carlos Ruiz Zafon has completed his four-book Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The author, along with providing the fourth book, has also supplied a narrative edict. “Each individual installment in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series can be read in any order, enabling the reader to explore the labyrinth of stories along different paths which, when woven together,  lead into the heart of the narrative.”

From a bookseller’s point of view this is a sensational idea of course. Consider the following scenario taking place in the near future. A customer motions to a stack of The Labyrinth of Spirits.

Customer: So what can you tell me about this one?

Bookseller: It’s the sublime culmination to a truly outstanding series. Set in Barcelona from 1938 through the 1970s, these books deftly combine the world of bookselling, the long shadow of the Spanish Civil War, gothic literary interplay, wonderfully salty characters, sublime dialogue and verbal sparring, along with elaborate and satisfying exposition. Taken together or individually they represent a reading experience not to be missed.

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Ten Books for Ten Million Kids?

Elizabeth Bluemle -- August 14th, 2018

Recently, a young woman in her mid-20s came into the store looking for a picture book to give her one-year-nephew, one that contained a same-sex couple, ideally aunts or uncles, but barring those, same-sex parents. “I’m getting married to my fiancée in two weeks,” she said, “and I’d really like to give my nephew a book he can understand, with a family like ours.” I scratched my head, trying to think of possibilities.

Guess what? It’s a publishing DESERT for young children of same-sex parents and kids with LGBT relatives.

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Pirating on CreateSpace

Kenny Brechner -- August 9th, 2018

A customer stopped by the store a month ago. As we chatted at the counter he shared with me that he was an author. His name was Ira Mark Egdall. I looked up Ira’s book on ipage, Einstein Relatively SImple: Our Universe Revealed in Everyday Language. Here is a screenshot of the search results.

At first glance this may seem like an ordinary interaction with an author passing through town, sharing news of a book with a dubious pun in the title. That was not the case, though. It was actually unusual for a number of reasons. First of all, sandwiched between the paperback and hardcover editions of Ira’s book is a book with the identical title, but a different author, Cecil Eckar. Ira informed me that it was a pirated version of his own book. Secondly, what you would not know unless you too had met Ira, was that the cover of Eckar’s pirated book literally featured an author photo of Ira, the actual author of the book. The photo appears to have been taken from Egdall’s own website.
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The Art of Summer Reading

Cynthia Compton -- August 8th, 2018


By this time in August, our store’s walls, doors, and cabinet faces are covered with book reviews, pictures, and artwork produced by the participants in our summer reading program. We started on Memorial Day weekend, and will end officially on Labor Day, but as schools are back in session here this week and next, most of our summer reading friends will move their attention to classroom reading challenges and the intricacies of new locker combinations by this weekend. That’s probably a good thing, because we have covered every available square inch of the shop with their contributions, and we’re running out of both space and Scotch tape.

Our friend Pete makes dozens of appearances each year.

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