Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell

Librarians do tell stories about the unusual questions we get from our patrons. "No, I want a photograph of a dinosaur, not a drawing. Why don't you have a photograph of a dinosaur?" "Do you have a copy of How to Kill a Mockingbird?" I wish I could remember the wrong title of the John Grisham book that had all of us stumped one time, but it's been too long. Booksellers get those same questions. And, the illustration on the cover of Jen Campbell's book, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores, could even be a reference desk. Librarians and booksellers won't be the only readers to enjoy this book, though. It's filled with funny questions, comments and conversations.

Mystery fans, this one is for you. "Customer: If I had a bookstore, I'd make the mystery section really hard to find." "Customer: Hi, my kid needs The Count of Monte Crisco for Honors English." And, every librarian has met the person who asks for books by the color. In this case the customer asked if the bookstore arranged books by color because they were looking for a blue book. A bookseller in Toronto had no answer to this man. "Looking at a giant map on the wall of the store): When did they move New Zealand way down by Australia? Wasn't it in Europe before?'

The book contains more than funny questions. Librarians, booksellers, in fact, anyone who works in retail might recognize some of the behavior of the customers. There's the parent who wants to leave their child at the bookstore for story time for a couple hours while they shop and get their nails done. The child care center down the road is too expensive. Ah, and then there are the customers who think all we do all day is read because we're surrounded by books. No, we don't want your child to climb our shelves.

Jen Campbell has captured the humor in the day-to-day dealings of booksellers and customers. And Greg McLeod's illustrations for this book are funny and pitch perfect. If you're a reader, I'm willing to bet you'll know someone who will appreciate the humor in Campbell's collection. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores is filled with conversations that will surprise and amuse anyone who spends a little time in bookstores, or a lot of time reading.

Jen Campbell's website is

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell. The Overlook Press. 2012. ISBN 9781468301281 (hardcover), 144p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought the book.


Carol N Wong said...

I have read about this book before and would love to read it. I have overhead some weird things in the bookstore that I go the most. Sometimes, my mouth hangs open.

Thank you for this post.

Beth Groundwater said...

I've gotten this question more than once when I've done a signing at a bookstore:
"Have I heard of you?"

I've learned to reply, "Yes, I'm sure you have!" ;)

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Carol. Any of us who hang around bookstores very much would have heard some of these comments. Astonishing, aren't they?

Lesa said...

Good for you, Beth! I love that answer.

Beth Hoffman said...

This sounds like a fun read!

Jane R said...

I have got to get my hands on this book. People say the darnedest things! Thanks for the info.