A wickedly witty field guide to bookstore customers by the curmudgeonly shop owner and author of Confessions of a Bookseller. Shaun Bythell knows them all—from the “Person Who Doesn’t Know What They Want (But Thinks It Might Have a Blue Cover)” to the “Parents Secretly after Free Childcare.” The business of books has never been funnier.
In a tradition that runs from R. M. Williamson’s Bits from an Old Bookshop in 1904 to Jen Campbell’s Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops in 2012 (with George Orwell’s 1936 Bookshop Memories in between), here is the latest and perhaps most complete attempt to classify people who shop in bookstores. It does take all kinds.
Employing something like Linnaean taxonomic groups, there’s the Expert (divided into subspecies from the Bore to the Helpful Person), the Young Family (ranging from the Exhausted to the Aspirational), Occultists (from Conspiracy Theorist to Craft Woman).
Then there’s the Loiterer (including the Erotica Browser and the Self-Published Author), the Bearded Pensioner (including the Lycra Clad), the The Not-So-Silent Traveler (the Whistler, Sniffer, Hummer, Farter, and Tutter), and the Family Historian (generally Canadians who come to Shaun’s shop in Wigtown, Scotland).
Two bonus sections include Staff and, finally, Perfect Customer—all add up to the funniest sell-and-tell in the house of books.
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“Narrator Peter Kenney picks up on the playful undercurrent running throughout this audiobook…Listeners will have fun because Kenney is having fun with the spot-on descriptions of buyers’ quirks…He captures Bythell’s persona as a lovable, judgmental bookselling busybody through a lively performance presented with the breathlessness of one friend confiding in another. Listeners will be laughing out loud throughout and recognize many of the species being described.”