“Is That the Bookstore?”

crazy bookstoreMaybe it’s that blood moon. Maybe it’s the pollen count making us all high on Sudafed. Or maybe I just happened to catch the best moments, but this week has produced some absolute classics in “funniest things ever said in a bookstore.” Here are three of my recent favorites:

*phone rings*

“Hello, is that the bookstore? I am downsizing and have a truckload of books for you.”
“Oh, lovely…” Oh, sh———
“These are all that’s left. I’ve burned about as many as are still here, but I can’t burn fast enough. Would you come and get these?”


*door opens, two women enter*
First woman: “We heard you could tell us how to market a book.”

Me: “Pardon?”
First woman: “We wrote a book. It’s a mystery, set ’round here. We’ve sold a lot to our family and friends, people that know us, but we want to sell it to more people.”

Second woman (to first): “Maybe she could sell it in here.”

First woman (looking around, shakes head): “Nah. Too many books in here, it’d get lost. (to me) Can you give us any ideas on how to sell it?”


*phone rings*

“Is that the bookstore that has the book about it?”

Me (bracing for impact): “Yes?”

Person: “I’ve written a book. Would you sell it?”

Me: “Sure! We like to promote books by local authors, but we can’t do any specific special promo because we don’t have the space. We have a shelf first thing when you come into the store, and we will put it there with the others. If you want to put a sign up on top of the shelf or hang it from the ceiling, we do that for the first six months your book is out.”

Person: “Well, my book is only available on Amazon. Could you put up a sign telling people to buy it there?”

Y’all come on down. We’re here, bricks, mortar, books, sense of humor and all.



A Bookstore in Wisconsin/Minnesota Needs Our Help

We all know that independent bookstores are riding a dangerous wave in today’s economy: some dance; some drown.

There’s a nice bookshop in Hudson, Wisconsin, called┬áChapter2Books. It’s at 422 Second Street, on the bank of the St. Croix River, at the border with Minnesota. And all 842 square feet of it is struggling.

Sue and her husband Brian set up shop in Summer 2011, after Brian lost his job managing a credit union because of a merger with a larger firm. They launched their little bookstore with high hopes and higher rents.

chapter 2 booksAnd now, as Sue puts it, the economy is kicking their butts.

Sue understands that people think Amazon is cheaper, but, as she says,”Cheap is not cheap. Cheap books=no indies=no story hour for the babies at the shop=no support for local authors=no writing groups=no forum for national authors to come to town=no special, hand picked books, just bestsellers you can find anywhere=noone to personally make a connection with your reluctant reader=no indie store participating in chamber and town events, etc. etc. etc. Is that download on Amazon really worth it?”

“I’ve realized in the last few weeks that I have become a curator of books,” Sue said. “It actually is an important function to help people, whether they’re looking for a gift book or expanding what their kids are reading.”

For his part, Brian opened the doors to local authors: self published, house published, prospective writers and all. Not only did they set up a writing group, but when self-published authors came to do book talks, if the turnout was low, Brian slipped a $20 here or there from his own dwindling wallet and went to merchants up and down the street, suggesting they stop in, listen a few minutes, and buy the book.

That kind of human touch doesn’t come from cyber-deals.

sue and brian“This bookshop was our prayer to the universe,” Sue said. “Brian spent 30 years in banking, and then we got to do this. We advise customers and listen to their needs and all the things you talk about in your book, Wendy, and yet, now….I’m mad, I’m sad, I’m frustrated, I’m devastated, I’m heartbroken, I’m terrified.”

Can we afford to lose another small town store–a BOOKstore–folks? Do we really want another one to bite the dust?

Perhaps we can help. Could you repost this information – whole blog, condensed piece, whatever you can. Here are some basics: The shop is open from 10-5. Mon-Wed and Saturday, 10-7 Thurs and Fri, and 11-5 Sundays. Their website is http://www.chapter2books.com/. Thanks for doing what you can. Sue and Brian support their community. They could use some nice email (Brian@chapter2books.com; Sue@chapter2books.com), Tweets @chapter2books, and LIKEs on Facebook to boost morale–and spread the word that they’re standing, ready, to serve booklovers along the St. Croix River. Thanks!