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

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

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.