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3 Responses to "Book News for Tuesday, January 30, 2007"
February 1, 2007 at 04:14 PM
You are right on about the knowledge an independent book seller has vs. a website.. Take for example a recent a question was posed on our system: I am looking for a book that I read years ago about a woman that was in a coma and woke up. I thought the title was I'm in here. have you heard of it? Posted 2007-01-30. Answer: Wake me up when it's over by Mary Kay Blakely currently out of stock at powells.com or Coma life: Touch me. Talk to me. I'm here. by Richard Darling. Thanks for reading! ______ We get a lot of questions like this, and often we can figure out what our customer wants before we have to resort to our own email system. Unfortunately this isn't to interactive (general customer friendly yet). However there is a web friendly on line service called "Book Stumpers" that a little independent book store, Logan Berry Books, came up with. The book sumpers search for old children's books based on your half-remembered description. I believe there is a small fee for this service.
January 30, 2007 at 05:25 PM
As a Powell's employee, I get these questions all the time. They don't know the author or title, or maybe just a word in the title or description of what it's about. After years of working here and years of reading, my book knowledge is amazing and I will happen to know what the book is. A customer once called about an old railroad book, only knowing what the cover looked like, I sent the description to "Help Us Help the Customer" which we use at Powell's and an employee found the right one! Portland is one of the biggest book reading towns, especially on the bus which I recognize countless titles just by a peek at the cover. This is my dream job.
January 30, 2007 at 03:34 PM
RE: computer searches can't top human brains for descrambling the garbled bits of info customers have It is this quality, this knowing of books, titles, and connections, that make me bring my business to independent book-sellers and not to those large chains, where the employees know nothing about books and must use (worthless) online searches to figure out a book's title, author, or location in the store. Every year I get gift cards to mega-chain bookstores and am forced to go in and use them, so I must ask where to find a book whose EXACT title and author I know, from a clerk (certainly not bookseller) to whom I must spell simple words, (last week: "mercies," for Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies) while I mutter to myself, A real bookseller would know the book's genre, and therefore, location without having to look it up. Grrrr!
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