Monday, June 1, 2009

Do You Have a Book on Russia? That's Red?

Tip of the Day: Are you reluctant to share your good writing news because you're not sure how your writing friends will feel about it? Hey, good news energizes me! I've heard some great news from people I know lately and I love it. I think it might be time for a celebration party! Let your crit partners know how you like to celebrate.

This week at A2A, we're talking about books, books, and more books. We heart books. And specifically, we're thinking about buying books. That's, you know, our patriotic duty to boost the economy. Sure, that sounds good.

Do you know, I've had the worst luck with independent book stores. I'm like a curse on them. I move into a town and they close down. This has to be coincidence because I know I'm spending too much money on books. (Although my husband is more concerned with space issues at this point.)

I tend to buy my books at Barnes and Noble because I'm a former employee. That gives me a familiarity with the layout of the place, how the peons get underpaid, etc. Not that I'm complaining about working there. I loved it! The employee discount was the bomb and the work was fun, fun, fun. I shelved books and talked to customers about books and got paid for it. It just didn't pay well.

I worked at the Barnes and Noble in Charlottesville, VA where our most famous customer was Sissy Spacek. She used to come in with her kids all the time. Howie Long was usually around, although you could've said that about any place in Charlottesville. John Grisham, Dave Matthews ... you could star spot at the Charlottesville B&N.

I used to get totally fueled up on that yummy Starbucks coffee and dash around the store, deciding which titles to face front and answering customer questions. I didn't get too many stupid questions; it was mostly people ordering books we didn't have in stock. My favorite questions were the cover-type questions. I guess a lot of people remember what book covers look like after they forget the title and author. So people would often describe covers to me and we'd play "Guess the Book." I never guessed any of these correctly. It's a hard game. How do you answer "I'm looking for a book I read a few years ago on Russia, and I remember that the cover is red. Do you know what it is?" Here's the thing about books on Russia--ALL their covers are red. Just not read. Ha. (Sorry.)

Eventually I needed a real career to pay the mortgage, so I left my bookstore clerk job. I'd definitely do it again someday. Sigh. Why do all the fun jobs pay so poorly?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


DeenaML said...

I also have to admit that I really like the big B&Ns especially. I can't help it -- they are usually set up really nicely!

Summer said...

When I buy books I almost always buy from Borders.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I would love to work in a bookstore. Maybe someday...

Kate Fall said...

Borders around here seems to carry fewer books than B&N. But I'd love to get my hands on Borders' old "Snape: Friend or Foe?" promotional swag!

Emily Marshall said...

So cool you had celebrities into your bookstore!!!! And I wish the fun jobs paid more as well. What's the deal with that?