Encounters in Publishing

Encounters in a Bookstore #628: Sandy by Liz Mathews

Chances are, by now you’ve heard of a weather event called Hurricane Sandy. As I write this a solid two weeks after the fact, some people are still without power. Some will be cleaning things up (life, home, town, etc) indefinitely. If you have a chance to help out in any small or large way, there are lots of folks out there who will appreciate it.

In the bookstore where I work, Sandy herself was not particularly destructive. We did close early that Sunday, and then remained closed both Monday and Tuesday, but there was no great loss of merchandise or property. Perhaps the power went out, but we weren’t there. Maybe the ceiling over the magazines leaked, but it always does. One manager did injure her leg getting the hurricane kit off its shelf in the receiving room—but she was seemingly healed up in fine form to reopen the store at 9am that following Wednesday.


Encounters in a Bookstore #399: Reasoning with the Youth by Liz Mathews

You may recall that the bookstore where I work occasionally offers coupons. Along with those, and a bargain section, and the occasional clearance deals, we also have apparently somewhat confusing B2G1 tables. That’s Buy-Two-Get-One, for the uncertain.

When it comes to our B2G1 tables, the primary hang-up seems to be that you can’t just buy two of anything in the store (books, typically), and get the third thing free, so long as one of those things has a B2G1 sticker on it. Rather, the deal only applies to the books (normally) grouped together on whatever specific table has been designated B2G1. This is the news I often have to deliver to shoppers, resulting in their disappointed faces and crushed dreams of getting two mass market paperbacks and a brand-new not-on-sale hardcover for the price of two mass markets.


Encounters in a Bookstore #600: Farewell Summer by Liz Mathews

At the bookstore where I work, the summer of 2012 has been the summer of farewells. Though it’s generally a happy thing when people move on from that place, these times around the goodbyes were more…apparent.

First there was Tim, who had not been with us long but decided that his lit agency internship-turned-job was going to be plenty to get by, part-time job be damned. Happily, Tim has no fear of meeting up with those of us still employed in selling of books. His new gig really isn’t so different, all things considered.


Encounters in a Bookstore #555: Reporting Myself

At the bookstore where I work, things are typically straightforward. But sometimes they are not.

On a recent Sunday morning I was having a chat with my coworker and friend, Katie. She is also my supervisor, in that she is responsible for things like fully processing returns and exchanges, and the rest of us cashiers have to ask her when we want to use the restroom or get a drink of water.


Encounters in a Bookstore #347: Job Requirements

In the past I’ve mentioned that the bookstore where I work is keen on acquiring email addresses. On a recent evening when business was slow, one of the managers took it upon himself to try and enforce company policy.

“You two both did the same things in your last transactions, which need correction.”

We two nodded. “First, you didn’t mention the discount when you asked if they were members. Then, neither of you asked for email addresses.”

The other scolded party, Steven, and I nodded again. Two customers were coming our way.


Encounters in a Bookstore #402: So Many Shades

You might have heard of a little book called Fifty Shades of Grey. And, if you’ve heard of that, you’ve maybe also heard of Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. If you are a woman in the United States of America, you might have read the trilogy already. If you are a man, you might also be considering reading these books, if only to understand what’s got the ladies so hot and bothered at the moment. Or maybe to make your lady a little bothered, too.

At the bookstore where I work, Fifty Shades of Grey, or the other two in the trilogy, plays a role in every other transaction that passes through any given cash register. At the information desk, if someone has failed to see the trilogy on one of numerous displays throughout the store, its whereabouts is one of the most popular customer questions. By the time you read this article, we will have sold at least 1500 copies of Grey.