Fall is always a painfully hectic time of year for we booksellers—the time when I find myself feeling the most run-down, the most frazzled, and the most in need of a vacation, though there’s generally none in sight until January! Perhaps that’s why I was so grateful to read some of my colleagues’ comments today on what booksellers love about bookselling. Their remarks appear in the current issue of "Bookselling This Week."
Here are the quotes that resonated with me the most:
"I love to see people’s faces when they talk about their favorite book."
"I love my sales reps."
"I love that part of my job is to charm people so that they really like coming here."
"I love that talking incessantly—one of my traits—is actually a job skill."
"I love being one of the places in town people know they can come for good conversation."
"I love being able to introduce people to authors that may not be new, but are new to the customer."
"I love the look of surprise when someone says ‘You wouldn’t happen to have X, would you?’ and I have it! My favorite was when a snotty Boston woman (obviously thinking a Montana bookstore wouldn’t have anything higher-brow than Spider-Man) asked if I had heard of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and I asked whether she’d prefer the Fitzgerald translation or the Heath-Stubbs translation—I stock both. The look on her face was priceless."
"I love the compliments we get on our selection. I suppose most folks expect a small bookstore in a small town to just stock bestsellers and some local stuff—they don’t realize how indie stores show our personalities and how many hours we spend analyzing, reading, researching, exploring, and comparing notes with other booksellers to carefully hand-craft the stock in our stores."
"Probably the most unexpected thing I love about bookselling is BOOKSELLERS! The way booksellers so openly share every good idea—as well as great book recommendations!—is a joy. Booksellers as a whole are the most generous spirits and the finest citizens and friends I can imagine."
"I absolutely love when someone comes back in to thank me for a recommendation."
"A teenage girl was in the other day, buying books with her sister, and commented on how much she loves the smell of books. She said, ‘When I’m old and crippled, I’m going to come in here and just sit and breathe.’ I wanted to run around the counter and give her a giant hug!"
What do YOU love about YOUR job (as a bookseller, a publisher, a librarian, a writer, a reader…)? Give us all warm fuzzies—share your thoughts in the comments field! Booksellers, please also post your remarks on the ABA Bookseller-to-Bookseller forum thread where the above comments originally appeared.