Another Open Letter to Bookstores

So, in spite of my experience with the February 23rd release day, I made the trip out to the Borders on the other side of town as it is just down the road from the Sundance 608  Theater/Cafe. Once a month my writing group meets there. Partially I was looking to pick up Roadkill (I won copies of book 2 and 3 in the series, so now I just need to pick up book 4) and Broken. The Cal Series from Rob Thurman is pretty awesome and aside from any promoting of Broken that Shiloh Walker has been doing (which is a lot), I am making a point to read more paranormal romance and the like. So, off I went.

My first stop was to see if the west side store (larger two-story one) had copies of Battle of the Network Zombies. They did not. They did manage copies of Demon Possessed by Stacia Kane and Dead Matter by Anton Strout though. I stopped looking through Science Fiction after finding a copy of Roadkill by Rob Thurman. One of the last two. Which left me with Broken.

So the Romance section in that Borders is thirteen flavors of eff’d up. They are all grouped into one section and not by subsection (which is not a bad thing). But then you have to take into consideration if the book you are looking for is a mass market, trade paperback or one of those novella sized Harlequin books. I managed to find a copy of Fragile (the prequel to Broken) on the shelf, but no copies of Broken. This is of course after figuring out they were trade paperbacks.

I make my way to customer service and since nobody is there (making me think about the last visit to Borders east) I looked it up in their system. It was listed as “likely in store” in the system. So I walked up to the front. The woman at the register could not even find the book in the system. She told me, “I usually don’t work with the searches, so I am not sure how it works. If you would like, you could go see Mike over at customer service.” Really? Boolean searches elude you? Never used Google?

Mike was not at the Customer Service Center, so I leaned against it and waited. At this point I was late to dinner with James before the meeting, but I wanted to see how this one panned out. I was curious. My Spock-like scientific mind wanted to see what the endgame was. To their credit the gentleman did notice me after helping another customer find the book they were looking for.

So I imparted that the book I was looking for was listed as “likely in store” but I could not find it. I informed him that it released today so I was wondering if it was just not stocked yet. I gave him the name and author so he could look it up himself to confirm the status of it. His response was so much more awesome in person but I had to send a tweet about it from my droid at dinner.

“Uh, sir. You do realize this is a romance novel?”

“Um… yeah.”

The look on his face was like I just asked for his number and if he like flannel jammies and sushi. It was classic. For the record, he did find the stack of books on top of the shelf in a wire display, just none in the shelving alpha-numerically. He was busy fixing that situation as I went up to pay for my finds.

Overall, aside from a register person that seemed to have a lack of understanding of a basic job function (totally my opinion mind you), the store was better than my visit to the east side. The only thing that would have made it better would have been copies of Battle of the Network Zombies. I would give my visit to that store a B. It was a little tough to find help but most book stores are understaffed these days.

I was impressed more with this store to the point that I also purchased a copy of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for a local literacy charity. Just so I am clear on this as my last “open letter” was less than favorable, I am all for supporting the local stores. Even the big chain type stores like Barnes and Noble or Borders. Not to mention local charities – be it literacy campaigns or cancer support charities like Capital Candlelighters. Even if the workers at the store look at me strange when I buy a paranormal romance.

Shiloh Walker is running a contest around the release.

Rob Thurman is offering chapter one of book 6 if you pick up Roadkill this week as well.

Mark Henry on the other hand is offering snark and humiliation for picking up Roadkill. As is Mark’s way.

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4 thoughts on “Another Open Letter to Bookstores

  1. “The look on his face was like I just asked for his number and if he like flannel jammies and sushi.”

    That sentence is awesome! I love it!

    I’ve gotten my boyfriend to read/listen to romance.

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