Friday, February 24, 2006

Who's that Book Chick?

That scream you heard from somewhere on the West Coast Tuesday around 1:20 pm? The one that sounded like a cross between a squeal and an "Ohmigawd" gasp?

That was me.

We got in the ARC for the new Christopher Moore novel and I may have also wept (I was alone in the backroom so this went undocumented and cannot be fact-checked). I would like to claim that my absence over the last few days is Chris's doing (because dear sweet lord I have the new Christopher Moore book!), but the truth is I've barely gotten past page one. Not Chris's fault at all. My own hectic life getting ready for a visit from the inhabitants of the Mother Ship at the store. Making everything perfect, and submitting to the Planogram (shudder) as much as we could make ourselves, which admittedly was only on a very surface level.

Luckily, our minor rebellious points were viewed as brilliant, and I may be in love with the new inhabitant of the Mother Ship because the new inhabitant (from now on known as NI) gets it. My bookstore does not have the same clientele as the bookstore five miles from me, even if we share part of the same customer base. My people come into my store looking for A and they might go into the other store to look for B (for example, I know that there are a lot of customers who only buy their "fun" novels on the weekends, hence the higher sales of Romance, Mystery and SciFi/Fantasy in most suburban vs. urban stores). I accept that, even if I occasionally try to get them to change their mind.

NI (heee, Ni! Sorry, sleep deprived) realizes that providing good customer service is not just the interaction between bookseller and customer, but also the interaction between customer and book (an interaction that is usually longer than the time spent with the bookseller). Customers don't always ask for help or want to be stalked, but they do want to pick up books, read the back, look at the cover, etc. So part of good customer service in this area is providing the product--up front and accessible--that your busy customer expects to find. In other words, goodbye planograms, nit-picky details, and the same freakin' book in five different places, and hello to official condoning of the behavior we've already been practicing: give the customer what they want. Order it in from an outside source if necessary. Get it on those front tables. Make up your own endcaps.


Finally, official word that we can run our bookstore as the best of both worlds, book selection of an independent with the customer service standards and branding of a corporation. Oh, the possibilities.

Of course, I've apparently "value beauty and pleasure but recognize their dangers, as well."

The picture of dorian gray

Oscar Wilde: The Portrait of Dorian Gray. You are a horror novel from the world of dandies, rich pretty boys, art and aesthetics, and intellectual debates between ethical people and decadent pleasure-seekers. You value beauty and pleasure but realize their dangers, as well.

Which literature classic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Snagged from BookGirl's Nightstand.


The Queen-a Athena said...

A new Christopher Moore? Oh joy! Oh rapture! Squeal away!!

lady t said...

First off,congrats to you on no longer being hassled by The Man:) Next,I've known the joy of having an ARC from one of your favorite writers right in your hot little hands,so shout to the high heavens all you want.

Thanks for the link to the classics quiz-I took it and got Lord of The Rings(which is funny considering that The Hobbit is the only Tolkien book I've ever finished).

jmc said...

Yay! A new Christopher Moore!

And I, too, am Oscar Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray, which is a little scary.

christine fletcher said...

Never having been in retail, I had to look up planogram: "A diagram that shows how and where specific retail products should be placed on retail shelves or displays in order to increase customer purchases."

Shudder, indeed. So how wonderful that you get to throw it away, and keep doing what you're doing. Imagine: a corporation that recognizes individual store needs and rewards innovation! Can it be? Apparently so. Congratulations!

Thanks for the quiz link. What a lovely procrastination tool (I got an unexpected day off work, and am supposed to be writing!) I'm Virginia Woolf: Orlando.

I'm now off to look up Christopher Moore, as I'm uninitiated...

Kate R said...

hello again. That's all.

Eileen said...

Are ARC's the best part of being BSC? I have dreams where these show up at my house.

Question for you- how do you like "drop bys" to be handled. Do you prefer the author to call first? Anything they do that either a) wins you over b) makes you mock them openly once they leave?

Bookseller Chick said...

queen-a athena, it is glorious!

Lady T, I don't really know how I feel about being Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, but there is truly nothing like getting an ARC of my favorite book. I'm soooo happy that no one else snagged it.

JMC, should we be worried about our definition as horror novels? I mean, I have some ex-boyfriends that might agree, but...

Christine, not knowing what a planogram is something you should be proud of, no one should know the horror of the planogram. I'm glad that you enjoyed the quiz, it's a fun little time waster, but Christopher Moore is an even more enjoyable one. I am in love with that man. He's the king of writing the everyday-guy. The one who might not get the babe, but who has the great sense of humor. I recommend (highly) Lamb, Fluke, or really any of his other books. He's fantabulous, so go. buy. now.

Hello, Miss Kate (or Mrs. Kate actually). How's life and all such life related writings? Looks like you're drowning in socks.

Eileen, the books are the best part of the job, whether it's the free ARCs or just opening a box full of new titles and being the first to see them. So far I haven't had any ARCs show up at my house (I don't give out my address for them to be sent to me, and I'm sure Christopher Moore doesn't even know I exist, so my only chance was for the ARC to come to the store). I'll answer your second question as its own column if that's okay.

Ms. Librarian said...

I just found out I'm George Orwell's "1984" ... hmmm....