Lord, Show Me How to Say No to This: 30 Thoughts Booksellers Have When In a Bookstore Not Their Own

This is a guest post from Tirzah Price. Tirzah is a YA writer and indie bookseller in Michigan. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and blogs at Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

I’m a bookseller at a fantastic indie, and my loyalties run deep. I am the biggest advocate for my bookstore, and I gleefully take full advantage of my employee discount. I’m proud of the hard work that goes into making my indie an exciting place to shop, but I must admit that it isn’t the only bookstore to claim my affections.

For some reason, people tend to believe that because I am so devoted to my place of worship, I mean work, I won’t shop at any other bookstore. This is far from the truth. I like to scan the book aisles at Target (out of curiosity), I hear the siren-call of used bookstores like any other book-loving human, and I even enjoy a good stroll through a Barnes and Noble. But other indies…they are irresistible. Every indie bookstore has its own personality, and each demands to be explored—whether it’s the indie in the nearest city where I shop for jeans, or one I stumble upon while on vacation. And once I am inside, respect must be paid. In the form of purchases.

The following is a list of thoughts I’ve had when encountering a bookstore in the wild:

  1.  Ooh, a bookstore! Their sign is so cute! Such a great name for bookstore, too. I have to go in.
  2.  Gosh, I hope my manager doesn’t find out I’m here.
  3.  Hey, their new release table looks a lot like ours! This is a good bookstore.
  4.  Why do they have so many copies of this title? Do they really think they’re going to sell this many? Should I text my co-worker and tell her to order more?
  5.  Remember, at home you get a 25% employee discount.
  6.  I’m just gonna take a quick sneaky picture of this display and maybe copy it later because it is ON POINT.
  7.  Oh, staff picks! I loved that book, too! Good job, Sarah! If I worked here, we’d totally be BBF—best bookish friends.
  8.  Who is this Jared and why is his pick of the month Moby-Dick?
  9.  Our graphic novel section is much better.
  10.  This YA section is bigger than mine, but mine has a better selection.
  11.  Oh, this book is totally on my wish list, and we don’t stock it at home. I’m just gonna hold it for a moment.
  12.  Your employee discount is 25%.
  13.  I’ve never heard of this book! Why haven’t I heard of this book? Should I have heard of this book?
  14.  This store has such cute stationery! Would it be weird if I asked who their supplier is?
  15.  Don’t mind me while I alphabetize and straighten this shelf…there, that’s better.
  16.  You shouldn’t buy this hardcover because at home your employee discount is 25%.
  1.  They have {insert famous author} booked for a signing next weekend?! How’d they manage that?
  2.  I would like to meet the nonfiction buyer and shake his or her hand.
  3.  This store is so pretty. Working here must be so fun. I wish I worked here.
  4.  I wish our cookbook selection were this nice.
  5.  What do you mean, you don’t have a classics section? What bookstore doesn’t have a classics section?
  6.  That’s okay, not everyone can be perfect. My bookstore is perfect. Rather, it will be once I go home and order more cookbooks.
  7.  Screw my employee discount, I am buying this in hardcover, full price, because I want to read it RIGHT NOW.
  8.  I definitely need to remember to put that book on the order list when I get home.
  9.  Signing up for the store’s newsletter and frequent buyer program isn’t a betrayal. I am definitely coming back one day. And I might drive six hours for an event. If it’s a good one.
  10.  Ohmigod I don’t get a 25% employee discount.
  11.  Ooh, the bags here are so cute!
  12.  I love bookstores.
  13.  I can’t wait to get home and back to work.
  14.  My manager must never hear about this.