“What gives indies leverage? Customer service. Community. When it comes to a physical store, I go there because I want a certain level of interaction. I want human contact. I want tactile… I want to be seduced by a cover with a striking image, and, honestly, I think booksellers have a better idea of what attracts readers than publishers (especially those publishers who don’t leave New York very often). Extra points if there’s a clever shelf talker. I am a sucker for a good shelf talker.”
‘s Kassia Krozser in her post, “Bookstores Now, More than Ever.”
I’m on a panel of people from which a pair of lawyers will today select the jury they want for their trial. I hope I will not be held in contempt for telling you, before the trial is over, that the presiding judge is the most intelligent, hilarious and sweet man I’ve ever had the pleasure of addressing as Your Honor. The man spent a great deal of time explaining, in plain English, just why it is that we must all be presumed innocent and did a better job than any professor I’ve known of explaining the meanings of “reasonable” and “doubt” and “reasonable doubt.” I think I may have fallen in love a little. What made him more lovable was that he had something meaningful to say about each prospective juror’s occupation and life choices. “Two daughters? Aww. I have two boys. I wish I had a daughter. There’s nothing like ’em.” “Financial analyst? Oh, how about that bladi blah with the bladi bluh….” “Independent bookstore? How about that Border’s, eh?” You know what he said next? He said, “every bookstore that closes is one bookstore too many and one less bookstore is a tragedy as far as I’m concerned.”
So, yeah, we have shelf talkers. And our staff spends a good deal of time composing the most thoughtful few lines of recommendation and summary possible… so that you can walk around and find, literally, the perfect book for you. And you can turn around and ask us, “When you say on this shelf talker, “this book is brilliant,” what exactly do you mean by that?” And we will define for you our definition of brilliant and spend another 10 minutes telling you how the book changed us and why we loved it and then we’ll ask you about your favorite books, the last book you read that you loved and from that we’ll glean whether or not this particular “brilliant” book is likely to be brilliant in your estimation. If not, we’ll know just what else will. Where else can you find that other than an ice cream shop?