From the Floor: A Bookselling Video Vignette

Elizabeth Bluemle -- February 7th, 2011

Wouldn’t it be great if we could share our bookselling experiences in video form? Show handselling techniques, craft a snappy booktalk, or just vent about difficult customers? Well, guess what? (And guess which type I started with?)

You’ve probably seen one or two of the little movies people have made on the Xtranormal website (slogan: if you can type, you can make movies). I was inspired by a hilarious one about a wannabe-novelist speaking to a seasoned, rational writer. (In fact, re-watching it now, I see that I stole a joke. Apologies! Watch mine first.)

Frontline booksellers, this one’s for you! Everyone else — this happens, more often than you’d like to think. (ETA: Not sure why only half the screen is showing up, but if you click on the tiny black arrow instead of on the image, you’ll be taken right to the movie (it really should be called a movini, it’s so short).

21 thoughts on “From the Floor: A Bookselling Video Vignette

  1. Jennifer DeWitt

    All too true! I can’t count the number of times I’ve experienced this same scenerio over the years. I can one up you, though. I had a “lady” walk into my bookstore about 20 years ago, past at least 15 feet of shelving with hundreds of titles just to ask where our 9″ skillets were. Really? The rage she went into when she found out that we only carried books in a bookstore was unbelievable! Ahhh, the stories for our grandchildren….

  2. Elizabeth Bluemle Post author

    Holy cow! This is weird — today’s Shelf Awareness mentions a video series that the Harvard Bookstore is doing. And the video it links to is about two customers looking for a book they saw someone reading: a blue one. This must be a universal bookselling experience!!

    1. Elizabeth Bluemle

      Sue, I don’t know. The blog tool holds some posts back and lets others through. All but two of the comments on this post have been held back. I have to go in and manually approve them. It’s a mystery. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Barbara

    Elizabeth, I laughed out loud over this. My writers’ group is sending it around
    at the moment. Did you say you had more in the frying pan? Can’t wait.

    If you ever lack for ideas, which I doubt will happen, there’s the one of the wannabee writer (picture a dentist, drilling) asking a published writer (picture the victim in the chair) to read his children’s story and help him get it published.

  4. retail veteran

    I used to work at a large soon to be bankrupt book and music emporium. Not only would we get the customers who wanted the “red book that was on the front table sometime last month” but we’d have the customers sing songs they were looking for: “it goes ooooh baaabay… they’re playing it on the radio all the time why don’t you know it!” If we actually figured out the song they were looking for inevitably they’d be upset that they couldn’t buy it as a single.

    1. Elizabeth Bluemle Post author

      Aww, I don’t mean YOU! Really, none of our regular customers treat us this way. We all go into stores not remembering key aspects of what it was we went in for, but most of us do not then take it out on the poor sales clerk behind the counter. That’s what I’m lampooning, not the forgetfulness. As a woman in her 40s, I have no room to mock that!

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