End of Year Advice

Josie Leavitt - December 13, 2010

As a counter point to a post from last week, Holiday Wish List, I’m adding my two cents for ways to make the end of the year go smoothly for booksellers and customers. .
– While most bookstores give their staff some kind of bonus (I hope), don’t forget to give your UPS/Fed-ex and mail carrier a little something at the end of the year, too. Without them we’d really have a hard time getting our books on the shelves. I usually give a gift card to the store as most of the delivery guys have children in their lives and it’s a nice way of making them customers and not just be the guys with the boxes.
– Self-published authors or new reps for sidelines should not come to any store in December and expect anyone to be able to talk to them about their book or product. This is our busiest time of the year and while you might think it would be a great time to sell your book, you should have thought about approaching your local store in October or November when staff would have been much more receptive.
– If the sales staff seems really rushed, it’s not you, it’s that the store is crowded and we’re trying to check in with all our customers. So be patient with us and try not to lose your sense of humor about total chaos.
– If you’d like to get your stack of  books wrapped, please be patient and plan other errands if you can, so you can come back and pick up your wrapped packages. Smaller stores need all their staff to help customers, N we don’t have dedicated wrappers, so that kind of flexibility is hugely valuable to us.
– If you know you’re in a hurry and know what books you’re looking for, try to call ahead and we’ll have your books ready and waiting for you.
– Just because you’ve been hearing about a certain “hot” book doesn’t mean your local store will automatically have it. Let’s just be honest, how many small independents can actually get their hands on The Autobiography of Mark Twain, when Amazon is out of stock on it?
– We’ve been giving our customers these yummy candies when they come to the counter. They’re from the Shelburne Country Store down the street from us, and they’re called Sugar Plums and they are a small dollop of heaven. It’s amazing how a small unexpected treat can really brighten a beleaguered shopper’s day.
– Lastly, Christmas should be about loving your friends and family. Gift-giving shouldn’t be so stressful that it’s not fun anymore. Let your friendly independent booksellers help put some of the joy back in shopping by hand-selecting books for everyone on your list.

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