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Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops | Jen Campbell | Review

“A John Cleese Twitter question ['What is your pet peeve?'], first sparked the 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller's collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor. From 'Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?' to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast the next year's weather; and from 'I've forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter' to 'Excuse me... is this book edible?'" Source

Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops is a collection of ridiculous real life conversations between customers and booksellers which provides light entertainment and many laugh out loud moments. The book is a real eye-opener about working in a bookshop and the customer queries featured range from the slightly strange to the completely unbelievable and the just plain rude.

The book is set out in three sections the first is made up of stories from The Edinburgh Bookshop, the second Ripping Yarns in London and the final section covers various other bookshops from across the globe. Illustrations from the brothers McLeod are also interspersed between the weird and wonderful text which whilst not essential I thought was a nice touch that in some cases added a little extra humour to the quotes by bringing them to life in cartoon form.

It is a super quick and easy read with only 119 pages which took me around 45 minutes to get through. I wasn’t planning on reading it when I did, I picked it up to take a quick look and ended up reading the whole thing! As this is only a very brief review I have decided to include a few of the conversations and comments taken directly from the pages, hopefully they will tempt you to pick up this book for yourselves.

CUSTOMER: Do you have this children’s book I’ve heard about? It’s supposed to be very good. It’s called ‘Lionel Ritchie and the Wardrobe.’

CUSTOMER: Where do you keep your maps?
BOOKSELLER: Over here, what kind of map are you looking for? A county, the UK, Europe, a world map?
CUSTOMER: I want a map of the sun.

CUSTOMER: Do you have a copy of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason? I can’t see it on the shelf.
BOOKSELLER: I’m afraid we don’t, but I can order it for you, and it’ll be here in the next forty eight hours. We could even post it to you if you’d like?
CUSTOMER: I don’t trust the Royal Mail. Could you fax it instead?

CUSTOMER: Doesn’t it bother you, being surrounded by books all day? I think I’d be paranoid they were all going to jump off the shelves and kill me.

I think this coffee table book is an entertaining and at times laugh-out-loud read which would be a great addition to any collection. I've personally got my fingers crossed that Campbell will decide to turn this one-off into a series and release more books like it in the future. If you’re looking for stocking-fillers or a fun last minute gift it would make a great present for friends and family this Christmas. 5/5


  1. HAHAHA!! This sounds wonderful! I've just started working at a book store, and we do get some random questions!

    1. You definitely have to read it - especially because of your new job! x


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