How Not to Sell Books

Someone on the Feathermoon forums has decided to prove how cool he/she is, proudly proclaiming how he/she slams customers coming in to buy books in the Twilight series.  I’ve stared at the thread off and on, debating whether or not to get into a forum snarkfest a day and a half before I go away for a week.  However, it’s not worth the headache to me, especially since I’d bet the people who read my post would miss the point and think I was defending the books, not the customers.

Anyone who knows me can tell you I’m not a fan of the Twilight series.  I’ve been subjecting people to sparkly vampire diatribes since before the first book was even officially released.

However, I have to say as a bookseller, if Shiika were my employee, I’d fire him/her.

Here, read the asshattery:

I liked taking the time to secretly open boxes of the third novel and gloss over anything that looked remotely important. When friends who I called in on those late night releases of books three and four traveled around town with spoilers I hand picked myself, announcing to crowds of those fans, I was ecstatic!


Spending weeks weeks before the release of the final novel, telling people that Edward kills Bella in the final chapter, and hearing their gasps and wails of disbelief and anger was unendurably exciting. When co-workers threatened me with physical violence if I kept spreading my perfectly rational and well founded hatred of these books, I was at my height!

and in another response

I make it a point to call the books ‘Sparkly Emo Vampire Saga’ to the customer’s faces. And not smile.

His* coworkers condone this?  I’m betting they’re not managers or supervisors, because I don’t know how anyone would allow that childish behavior to continue without some kind of warning.

Calling in your friends to spoil books for the customers, making fun of people when they come in asking for it?  I dunno, I guess that… makes you cool?  Better than they are?  Oh, no, wait.  It just makes you a jerk.

You don’t have to like the books your customers read.  You should, as a bookseller, respect that there are people who read things that aren’t to your taste.  Save your snide comments until they’re gone, and keep ’em to the break room, please, so you’re not making other customers feel uncomfortable (or worried that you’ll be making fun of them after they leave, even if they’re not purchasing Twilight books.)

Don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of books out there that are targets of my derision.  I’ve snarked my way through sixteen years of bookselling.  But never once have I directed that snark at a customer.  If I ever overheard employees at a bookstore mocking customers aloud, I’d leave.  But not until I’d given the manager an earful.  And if it turned out the manager was participating, I’d just go further up the chain.  It’s unacceptable behavior.  Bookselling is a customer service position.  It’s not an “only be nice to the people buying books you like” position.

I’m kind of wondering why Shiika there works in a bookstore, if he doesn’t get that.  Though I suppose I should recognize that there are some people who don’t work in bookstores because they love books, but simply because hey, it’s a paycheck.

*the avatar is a female, but I’m going to stop the his/her bit for now and invoke the There Are No Girls on the Internet rule for ease of posting.

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3 Responses to How Not to Sell Books

  1. Torteya says:

    Wait, you debate whether or not to engage in snarkwars?
    I am so disappointed in you, young lady.

  2. Von says:

    Great post. That person is an asshole.

  3. Itanya Blade says:

    Shiika is definately male and, in this case, definately an asshole.

    I’ve worked retail and I have sold plenty of crappy video games. I was never such a prick.

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