March 11, 2012


 Local author and bookseller Ann Combs has written a lovely job description for her position at our bookstore. She is incredibly witty and charming and one of my favorite people to work with, especially on Sunday nights. If you are looking for a fabulous book recommendation from Ann, check out her favorite books on our website or come into the store and say hello! 
By Ann Combs
With a grateful tip of the hat to Phillip Done
I am a bookseller.

I say, “May I help you?” at least 47 times a day, and, “Yes, we have a rest room”…almost as often.
I know the meaning of “Street Date,” of “remainder” and of “Hard-to-Find.”
I know what’s on the best seller list, and what is a favorite with local book groups.
I am able, at a glance, to recognize the difference between someone who’s come in to actually buy a book and someone who’s only passing through the store.
I know that a best seller won’t come out in paperback for at least a year…much, much longer if it is selling well.
I can be sure that if the computer says we have only one copy of a certain book I won’t be able to find it anywhere.  Andrew, on the other hand, will go right to it.
I know that if a customer is in a hurry and needs to catch a ferry, the tape in the receipt machine will run out.
I can figure out the name of a book when a customer doesn’t remember either the title or the author.
I know how to find out the name of Oprah’s latest suggestion and can locate exactly which novel was discussed on NPR last Tuesday morning or maybe afternoon.

I am a bookseller.
I know that small children like to take the covers off of books and their mothers like to leaf through cookbooks and gardening manuals while this is going on.
I know a grandmother will blanch visibly when told her adorable six-year-old grandson would rather read, “Captain Underpants,” than, “Tom Swift.”
I know no parent will ever admit his or her child is just an average student. Instead I’m led to believe that Johnny or Susie is planning to whisk through ‘War and Peace’ over the Christmas break.
I know ten and eleven-year-old boys like to congregate in the Humor section, and regale each other with excerpts from the latest joke book.
I empathize with the parent making a hurried exit with a screaming child who can’t take home a toy from the children’s section.

I am a bookseller.
I know there will be a sudden surge of high school students desperate for a copy of Pride and Prejudice or Heart of Darkness the night before the assignment is due.
I know if there’s a long line of customers waiting for attention that the phone will ring, that if I trip over the waste basket in a rush to answer that phone, that the caller will want to know, “Are you open?”, and that if we’re out of dog biscuits that at least three regular customers and their hungry charges will stop by.
I know that if a tourist customer hails from Boston, it’s always safe to mention the Red Sox, if one is from Florida discussions of warmth and sunshine are in order, and if someone is too enthusiastic about living here and perhaps buying local property a detailed description of a typical November…perhaps even December and January, is in order.
I know an announcement that there are ten minutes left until closing time does not send customers hustling out the door. I know turning off the lights does.
I know if the doors are already locked the final customer will want us to gift-wrap the book he or she is buying and while we are at it, “could we mail it to my aunt in Sheboygan?”

I am a bookseller.
I read book reviews and am intrigued by the description of the Collyer brothers or the Shanghai sisters. 
I talk to my co-workers and am fascinated by idea of a poet working through his writer’s block or a boy in Africa who built a wind turbine so he could have electricity.
I listen to the customer who tells me about a novel featuring Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt at Yalta and I catch his enthusiasm when he says it was, “one of the best books I’ve ever read,”

I am a bookseller.
Look at my pay stub.  I am also a book buyer.

1 comment:

  1. Love it!!
    Love your store!
    I would like to be a bookseller too someday!