Weird Things You Do at the Bookstore If You Work in Publishing
Since I started working in publishing, the way I interact with books has changed. Before, when I went to a bookstore, I just saw a lot of awesome books. Now, when I go to the bookstore, I still see awesome books, but I also notice and comment on dozens of things about each book’s appearance, location in the store, and frontmatter and backmatter, to the frustration of anyone who’s browsing nearby.
Here’s a small sample of what happens when a publishing person like me goes to the bookstore:
1. Touch every book you see and make comments about the cover effects.
“Ooooh, I like the soft touch/dome emboss/french flaps on this cover!”
2. Talk about how you’ve already read a book that just came out today (to the annoyance of your friends.)
“Oh, it’s good, I read the ARE six months ago.”
3. Give random book recommendations to strangers.
“I see that you’re looking in the general direction of this book I like. READ IT IT IS GOOD.”
4. Immediately flip to the acknowledgments to see who worked on the book (you can usually find the editor and other staff’s name in there).
“Oh, I know them!”
5. Proudly show your friends books that you worked on and have been thanked in.
“Look! There’s my name in a book!”
6. Notice and comment on which imprint published the book.
“See the imprint? Their logos printed on the spine. Here’s the one I work for!”
7. Do a happy dance when one of the books you’ve worked on is on display in a prominent place in the store.
“I did something to make this book happen, you guys! AND NOW EVERYONE WILL READ IT TOO YAY.”
8. Make grumpy comments about the book’s “package.” (Meaning the book’s cover art, title type treatment, etc.)
“They repackaged the paperback? But I liked the hardcover better! WHAT IS THIS.”
9. Hug a book you love and talk about reading it on submission when it was just a lowly Word document.
“I love this book so much and I’ve been obsessed with it book for more than a year and now the whole world can share my obsession!”
10. Buy a few too many books.
“I know I have so many books already, but I have room for a dozen more in my small NYC apartment!”
Readers and writers, what thoughts go through your head when you walk through a bookstore? Do you ever think about the behind-the-scenes aspects of publishing when you go book shopping? Do you have any weird book browsing habits?