The Power to Sell Books

Josie Leavitt - June 24, 2013

Yesterday was a slow Sunday at the bookstore. The warm and sunny weather had taken most of our customers to the lake, so it was quiet. This quiet, though, allowed me to really talk to everyone.
One young man came in and strode with purpose to the science fiction/fantasy section. He came back with George RR Martin’s book, A Dance with Dragons. He plopped the massive hardcover down and asked if it came in paperback. I told him, not until October. He looked so disappointed. I asked a few questions. Was he desperate for this book today? Why yes, yes he was. Honestly, a 22-year-old man who freely admits he’s desperate to read a 1152-page book is very endearing to me. I asked what his budget was. He said, “I was expecting $9, not $35.” Andrew, by now we were on a first name basis, started rapidly drumming his fingers on the counter, almost like he was counting pennies he had in a jar back at home.
I quickly looked at my inventory for the book and sales have slowed way down for it. I also really liked this kid. He seemed like an avid reader. In fact, one of the reasons he couldn’t just buy the book was he had already spent $20 on a book earlier in the day. I offered him a 20% discount, to get the book below $30. I could tell that was making a difference, but not enough. And he looked so sad to not be able to leave with the book, that I said, “Okay, how’s 25% off? For a total of $27.83.” His eyes lit up. I rang him up and he practically clutched the book to his chest as he left.
“I get paid tomorrow,” he said as he left. Anyone, especially, a young adult, who is allocating part of his paycheck to books is someone who should get a discount. And I was thrilled to help him out.

6 thoughts on “The Power to Sell Books

  1. Pamela Tallmadge

    Hooray for the flexible independent book seller who goes the extra mile. What a perfect demonstration of why we need independent bookstores-they are the heart of our communities!

  2. Theresa M. Moore

    That was a great way to allow the young man to read what he wanted to, and you sold one more book. I make a practice to only publish trade paperbacks, because the cost of publish one of those hard covers is quite onerous and they are priced outrageously. It used to be that I had to wait for a hard cover book to be published as a mass market paperback before I could read it. You may also have created a returning customer. a precious commodity these days.

  3. catherine james

    Wicked cool of you Josie. I bet he’ll never forget that act of kindness from a fellow book-lover. 🙂


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