Things Not to Do in a Bookstore

Josie Leavitt -- September 30th, 2013

Every once in a while I like to make a list of things customers might want to think twice about doing when they come to a bookstore. This list is not intended to make anyone feel bad, but rather is a helpful guide to ensure the best shopping experience possible.

– If your children are hungry, tired or sick and you’re not in a position to buy them a book, maybe the library is a better place to go. I totally understand that families can’t always buy books when they come to the store, but bringing in a passel of kids before lunch and asking them to browse for what they might like for Christmas just seems a little mean.

– Don’t apologize for not knowing the title of what you’re looking for. Something happens the minute people enter a bookstore: they forget almost immediately what they’ve come in for. We’re used to puzzling out what you’re looking. In fact we like the challenge. It’s our job and we’re happy to do it.

– Please respect the no food in the bookstore rule. We aren’t being capricious, we’re trying to protect books from sticky fingers, so that every book remains gift-worthy. We’re happy to let you enjoy your snack on the deck and then welcome you into the store. Our store is next to a bakery and a candy shop, so this can be challenging.

– If you’re in a massive hurry, please don’t take that out on us. We all do the best we can to speed you along, but sometimes staffers are busy with other customers. Calling ahead is hugely helpful. If we have time we can get your book – usually it’s a present for a party that starts NOW – wrapped and ready to be picked up fairly effortlessly. A tiny bit of planning can make shopping fun and easy.

– Please don’t feel sheepish about reading a book to your kids. We love that. And we’re not listening, too much. Nothing makes me happier than hearing a lively story read aloud and a small child laughing and interacting with her parents and the book.

– Don’t whisper. We’re not a library. It’s totally fine to have lively conversations about books when you’re here.

– Don’t talk on your cell phone in the store, especially when we’re ringing you up. It’s rude.

– Don’t assume we can’t get your book. We can’t have every book in stock and sometimes we’re just out of the “hot” book. Most indies get books in every day and we’re happy to do our best for you.

– Don’t be shy about telling us about a book that you love. We value your opinion and enjoy hearing about books you enjoy. I’m not a big history reader, so I rely on my customers’ savvy to help me with that section. We welcome your input.

– Lastly, don’t be a stranger to the bricks and mortar store. Some of you might have lovely relationships with your e-readers, but all indies need your help. So, buy a few books from us as well. While you might not miss yet, you would if we were closed, so help us stay in business by buying e-books from us and getting the occasional physical book from us. A shift of a few book purchases from Amazon or other online retailers can help us more than you know. We won’t make you feel bad, I promise, we’ll just be happy to see you again.



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