Things Not to Say/Do to Your Bookseller

I’ve been a bookseller for about a year now at two different bookstores (a chain and an indie) and there’s so many things I’ve heard that I wish I didn’t. As a bookseller, you learn a lot about your customers based on what they read and the endless conversations you have with them about these books. After a year of bookselling, there’s just some things that I want to advise you NOT to say to your bookseller.

  • “Are you sure you don’t have it? It says in stock right there.”

This was something that happened to me SO often at Barnes & Noble. The customer service desks faced out towards customers and this caused a lot of issues with customers thinking they know what they’re reading. Yes, while the computer says it’s in stock, that’s only at a warehouse. If I tell you we don’t have the book and we can order it, just order it and believe me.

  • “Don’t you have a cheaper version like a paperback of this new release in store?”

This was ALWAYS for new releases. Please understand that most of the time, publishers don’t release paperbacks until about a year after the release. This time frame mostly depends on how well the book is doing. If a book is flying off the shelves in a hardcover (For example: Where the Crawdads Sing), it’s less likely they’re going to release a paperback anytime soon. This is simply because they’re making more money off these hardcovers. So, if you don’t want to pay for the hard cover, you’re going to have to wait a year or so.

  • Please stop leaving your iced plastic cups on the bookshelves. You’re ruining our shelves and books.

Most bookstores with Starbucks or coffee shops attached know what I’m talking about. There were so many different occasions I’d find an iced drink leaking all over the shelf because someone decided just to leave it there. There’s trash cans, people. Also, maybe get a more environmentally friendly cup that you won’t leave everywhere? It’s just annoying when there’s rings on our bookshelves because of other people not having manners. I get it, sometimes you forget your drink and it’s an accident, but DAMN. This happened to often for everyone to be that forgetful.

  • You don’t have to whisper.

As an indie bookseller in a small store, it’s just awkward if you whisper. It’s not a library so you don’t need to be quiet. I can promise you I’m probably not even listening because I’m too busy reading my own book. It’s okay to talk to your friends or family while you’re book shopping!

  • While I do have an expansive knowledge on books, I don’t know that book that was mentioned on the news this morning or a magazine.

I wish that I knew these books that are promoted on TV or in the paper. But, unfortunately, I don’t have time to watch the morning news. I’m usually at work when that’s airing. I’m not mad if you ask about these books but it sucks when I’m not able to find them online when you’re looking for them. I really do want you to find this book! Try to take a photo of the news article or the TV screen whenever they’re promoting the book. I’ll definitely be able to find it then.

  • Print books aren’t dying and neither are the bookstores.

I hate it when people tell me this and remind me of their trusty e-reader they love so much. Don’t get me wrong, e-books are great. But, if you’re standing in the indie bookstore I work at, why would you tell me this? I’m aware of the popularization of e-books but it’s important to know print isn’t dying. If it was, we wouldn’t be a bookstore full of physical books. It is important to know that bookstores aren’t as busy as they were before but there’s new indie bookstores opening everywhere in America. In fact, there’s more newer indie bookstores than ever. That’s why it’s so important for you to shop at your indie bookstore. If you want to be able to linger around a bookstore for hours sipping on your hot coffee, you gotta at least get some books there!

  • “The last time I read a book was for high school reading. It sucked.”

I’m glad you’re bragging about being illiterate, Brad. Why are you even here?

  • “Do I HAVE to start with book one in the series?”

I can’t believe people really start in the middle of some series. Yes, I’m pretty sure if you want to understand most series: you should start with book one. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some series that you don’t really need to start at the beginning. But, if you ask me if you need to read the first book in Throne of Glass or A Darker Shade of Magic, I’m going to tell you: Yes. Definitely.

  • Please stop taking photos of our books to buy them somewhere else.

Man, I really hated seeing this because I knew most people do this to pick up the book somewhere else (Amazon, probably). Google exists for a reason! Don’t waste my time asking me to help you find a book if you’re not going to buy it here. I’m not an Amazon bookseller. I’m an indie bookseller! I could be helping someone who genuinely wants to read and buy the book they need help finding.

  • “The book you recommended me sucked.”

This hasn’t happened to me personally but it did happen to one of my old co-workers. I love giving recommendations to people but listen, I’m going to be bias. I’m going to recommend my favorite books to you if you ask, “What’s the best book you’ve ever read?” That question doesn’t let me help you find YOUR favorite book, it just lets me show you mine. If you’re going to ask for recommendations, please give us more on what you’re into. What was your last favorite book? What’s your favorite TV show? It helps us way more!

  • “Why would I read the book when I can watch the movie?”

I don’t know, why are you in a bookstore when you can just go buy some DVDs or something? Also, the book is ALWAYS better.

  • Don’t flip over or move a book that you don’t agree with or that you just don’t like.

I used to do this when I was a KID simply because it’s childish. It’s annoying when you turn over Donald Trump’s books or move them to an entirely different section. This causes customers to be mad at US for not being able to find the book you moved. I don’t like his books either but I’m also aware of the extra work that causes for booksellers. Not to mention, we don’t get paid enough to walk around the store looking for books customers moved. Also, even though I get bored, I don’t want to turn over a bunch of political books because a customer decided to be petty. It’s annoying so please don’t.

  • Don’t argue with booksellers if we say the book is in the back and we can’t get to it right now.

My first ever horrible experience at Barnes & Noble was with a dad who INSISTED on getting this book for his daughter. It was some obscure paperback that even I hadn’t heard of. This was during the holidays so we were so busy and the back was FULL of boxes. I couldn’t just go rip through all the 50+ boxes for this random paperback. He went to several booksellers about this saying, “Isn’t the title on the box?” like no, it’s not. If it was, I could’ve gotten it for you. Anyways, the manager had to rip through all the books to find it because this person couldn’t wait for the receiver to unbox it. RIP. Most of the time, the book is in the back and we can get it for you but you just have to be patient!

  • “I’m just going to buy it on Amazon. It’s cheaper!”

Why would you ever tell a bookseller that? Let alone, an indie bookseller? It literally hurts hearing people come in here and just say they’re going to buy it online. We can order any book you want, we offer discounts for teachers, our bestsellers are 25% off and we work much harder to help you than Amazon will. I know that books are cheaper on Amazon but don’t you want a bookstore near you to rely on? Don’t you want to have weekends where you linger around a little indie bookstore and end up finding your favorite book? I get it, some people will STILL shop on Amazon. But, there’s no reason to tell your bookseller that. I don’t think you’d walk into Wendy’s and say, “I’m just going to get food at McDonalds. BYEEE” like ??? I don’t get it. Have some manners, please.

 

To find an indie bookstore near you, check out this link.

 

I love being a bookseller but there’s just some things that make me giggle or that I had to get off my chest. If you’re a bookseller, HOLD ON TIGHT. You can do this! If you have more to add to list, comment! I’d love to see how others feel as well lol.

 

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How To Read Classics/Recommending

                               A GUIDE INTO CLASSICS!

So many people in the world are extremely intimidated by classics and for so many different reasons. Classics can be scary due to the difficult vocabulary, their length, the essential meaning, age, or even from when they were forced to read them in high school. Too many great novels are ruined this way but that shouldn’t stop you! Sometimes it’s better to read a novel at an older age. You’re able to focus the novel with extended amount of time to read it and truly understand it’s purpose. That’s why I’m here today to explain a simple guide into reading classic novels. I’m going to start off with some basic guidelines,

  1. Don’t let high school assignments ruin you! I know several people who have let reading classics in high school ruin classics for them all together. I’m sure you were forced to read How to Kill a Mockingbird or 1984, right? Shakespeare, as well! Try re-reading any of those novels now and see how you like them, but only if you really enjoyed the writing style and theme. These novels are not as bad as you think they are, especially without having to analyze them and do pages of work on them.
  2. Those high-school classics you were required to read aren’t the only classics in the literary world. There is hundreds of fantastic classics up for grabs, you just have to do your research! I’ll be listing several classic books and authors near the end of this post.
  3. Don’t force yourself to read a book just because it’s a classic. If you’re willing to read a classic, make sure it’s a classic that has a plot and topic that peeks your personal interest. I’ve made the mistake of reading a classic for the sake of it being one, and I dreaded it. Read for your personal interest! I’ll put the main topics after some of the titles I mention below.
  4. Don’t let high vocabulary scare you away, or the language! For example, Shakespeare can be quite confusing to some but there are ways around it! No Fear Shakespeare is a perfect example, you can find them online and in-store! While reading a classic with higher vocabulary than what you usually prefer, look them up! Write these words down and look them up as you go. You won’t regret learning so many new words, trust me.
  5. Make sure you start off short and with something basic. You don’t have to, but it’d be easier to get into and enjoy if you do so. Near the end of this post, I’ll be putting separate lists of the lengths of each novel!
  6. Fear not, you’re allowed to watch the movies first. Many classics have movie adaptations and sometimes, it helps to understand a novel better! They may not be exactly the same or at the highest quality, but it really helped me enjoy reading the novel more. Once again, I’ll make a list of a few I know of.
  7. Surprisingly, sometimes a time era can throw you off. I know I prefer certain time periods when I’m reading books more than others. Find a time era that interests you the most!  

MORE BELOW


                                              THE CLASSICS

Novels under 300 pages:

*These aren’t the only classics I recommend, check these authors*

POPULAR CLASSIC AUTHORS:

  • Charles Dickens
  • Ayn Rand
  • Harper Lee
  • The Bronte Sisters
  • Jane Austen
  • George Orwell
  • Mark Twain
  • H.G. Wells
  • Oscar Wilde
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Sylvia Plath
  • J.D. Salinger
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Ray Bradbury
  • William Golding
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Shakespeare (how could I not mention?)
  • John Steinbeck
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Elie Wiesel
  • Homer
  • Shirley Jackson
  • S.E. Hinton

&

SO MANY MORE!

Here are classics listed by genre for those just starting to read them! (where I found this list)

FICTION  
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Adam Bede by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Silas Marner by George Eliot
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift ~ A satirical work
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Action/Adventure
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Children’s
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Comedy
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Most Of P.G. Wodehouse by P.G. Wodehouse

Crime/Mystery
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels & 56 Short Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Fantasy
The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White
The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Historical
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Horror/Gothic
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Psychological/Philosophical
The Plague by Albert Camus
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

Romance
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
Emma by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen ~ Forbidden romance
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ~ Forbidden romance
The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
A Town Like Alice Nevil Shute

Science Fiction
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ~ A comic novel
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury ~ Dystopian
Lord of the Flies by William Golding ~ Dystopian
1984 by George Orwell ~ Dystopian
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand ~ Dystopian
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: WITH The Mysterious Island AND Journey to the Centre of the Earth AND Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Short Stories
Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe

Poetry
The Complete Poems by William Blake
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Complete Poems by Banjo Patterson
Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Plays
The Plays of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose
The Complete Works by William Shakespeare
Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde ~ Includes the novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, poems, and essays

NON-FICTION
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell ~ A comic autobiography
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
The Fall by Albert Camus
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Here are some good links I’ve found online about classics:

https://www.goodreads.com/genres/classic-authors

http://www.uticapubliclibrary.org/resources/literature-and-film-guides/classic-bestsellers-by-women-authors/ (Woman authors!! Yay!!)

http://www.abebooks.com/books/features/50-classic-books.shtml

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/800527-classics-for-beginners-to-read-list (I have this list above, but here’s the link for credit!)

http://classiclit.about.com/od/foryourreading/ht/aa_difficultboo.htm

Classics made into movies:

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls050165969/