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My review of “Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores”

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So gratifying to read, after my own stint as a bookseller at a local B&N store back in the 90s! I had lots of memorable encounters:

For instance, the fellow bookseller who recommended this new kid’s book to me as an adult, something that had just come out, all about a character named Harry Potter.

And the countless customers who came in asking, “Do you have that book that was just on the radio? I don’t know the author’s name or the book title, and I’m not sure what it was about, but I really liked the way he/she talked.”

And the sheer number of high schoolers who came in from the surrounding nouveau riche community the night before a paper was due, approached the cash register with a $150 stack’s worth of books on their topic (90s-era prices), and who did NOT return them the next day. Privilege, eh?

Or the coworker, a sweet bookish young woman everyone liked, who was suddenly dragged out of our store in handcuffs as we all stood in stunned shock. The last person you would ever suspect!

Apparently her boyfriend lured her into an international credit-card stealing ring, surreptitiously copying customers’ info. Management wouldn’t supply details about her arrest (afraid we’d learn how to steal?) even as we collectively grieved this incident for weeks, trying to figure out how she could possibly have done such a thing. She’d been so excited, telling us all how she was leaving for another country the following week with the love of her life! Yikes. We were all heartbroken that she’d ruined her life so young.

So yes, I loved this book, and booksellers everywhere! It’s both hilarious and gobsmacking.

NOTE: The cover of my expanded paperback version of the book is American (Bookstores) but the original was British (Bookshops). Anecdotes inside come from bookstores in the UK, US, and Canada.
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