Sadly, the above is true. No, I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol, or even books. No, I’m addicted to a word game that I play incessantly on my iPhone, with up to 15 games going at the same time. The game, Words with Friends, is just like Scrabble, but you can play it with anyone, anywhere as long as they have a phone that can use apps. Okay, so I love this game, big deal.
Well, it turns out that lots of people — customers, sales reps, heads of trade associations, etc. — are also addicted. I was at a lovely NEIBA (New England Independent Booksellers Assocation) gathering last week and several folks saw me playing before the session started. It turns out they play, too. So, now I’ve added three new people to play against. It’s fun, and there’s no pressure, except from me, to play your word. You can take days if you’re out of town, and the game will still be there.
Customers are now challenging me, and it’s fun to interact with them in a very different way. Word games make sense for booksellers and book lovers to enjoy. Plus, two wonderful things have happened with the game.
The first thing is the chat feature. This allows you to send messages to your opponent. While I’ve yet to sink to trash-chatting, it’s been nice to chat about something other than the bookstore.
The second great thing is an extension of chatting. Now when I see these customers at the supermarket, they’re not asking me if their special order came in. Instead they’re asking me to play my word. For some of these customers, it’s the first time they’ve seen me in another capacity than bookseller, so it’s been wonderful.