We booksellers LOVE the holiday season, especially in these early days of the rush, when our stores are brimming with customers and no one is seriously stressed out yet. We love these days because people want the beautiful books, the hardcovers and art books and decadent thick tomes with gilt-edged pages and fancy cookbooks (hello, Nopi) and other delicious gift-worthy gorgeous heavy satiny-in-the-hand BOOKS.
Yesterday, a customer came to the counter with a large and luscious stack that included the new illustrated Harry Potter, The Marvels, Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, Mio, My Son, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (two copies, and my favorite version), The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, Counting Lions, Thing Explainer, A Tale of Highly Peculiar Magic, Carry On, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and Listen, Slowly.
“You’ve got some lovely books here,” I said, stowing them carefully in the canvas tote the customer had earned with her purchase.
“I was gift-failing until I came here,” she said, using a phrase I’d never heard before but instantly adopted. “I went to three or four places and came up with nothing. I love shopping here.”
Music to a bookseller’s ears. I’m sure every indie bookstore hears this kind of comment throughout the season. I know we do, and are so grateful to hear it. Nothing makes us happier than to provide a clean, bright, cheerful, calm, one-stop-shopping oasis—chock-full of worthy books—in the storm of holiday craziness, depressing warehouse stores, and disconnected (if convenient) online buying. Our Cider Monday was lovely, and the sense of community, high.
As the days pass and we run into the inevitable stressors of delayed holiday shipments, damaged product, unexpected stock shortages, and a few dropped balls, we’ll be doing our best to stay cheerful and keep our bookstore filled with gifts both unexpected and sought-after.
After all, we don’t want anyone to gift-fail.