OVERHEARD IN A BOOKSHOP: “Did Beatrix Potter ever write any books about dinosaurs?”

Every bookseller has stories about some of the weird and wonderful comments they have overheard in their bookshop whilst on the shop floor, not to mention a whole host of quirky customer queries. To celebrate Independent Booksellers Week, independent booksellers from across the UK have been invited to share some of their favourites…

Simply Books, Bramhill, Greater Manchester

Elderly chap came in on Saturday and asked whether we had one of Delia Smith’s books called Cooking for Sluts… didn’t bat an eyelid when I said the book I thought he was looking for was called How to Cheat at Cooking.

Grove Bookshop, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Customer: I’m looking for a book, all I know is that it’s by a Scottish archaeologist who is on television

Bookshop Owner: Might it be this one, The History of Scotland, by Neil Oliver?

Customer: Oh, no, this was a much taller gentleman.

Forest Bookshop, Coleford, Gloucestershire

Customer: Do you have the latest book by Jackie Collins?

Ian (bookseller): Well there’s Lethal Seduction , her latest in paperback.

Customer: I’ve read that.

Ian: Or, ‘Goddess of Vengeance’ which is in hardback only.

Customer: No, I won’t bother with that one, the hardbacks are all dearer, for some reason…

The Mainstreet Trading Company, St Boswells

Customer: I’d like a Where’s Wally book please.

Bookshop owner: Our system says we have one in stock, but I, ah, can’t find it!

Falmouth Bookseller, Falmouth, Cornwall

Customer: Have you got Lion al Ritchie’s Wardrobe?

(Same customer): Also, do you have the AA book of Milne?

Ripping Yarns, London

Customer (to their friend): God, the Famous Five titles really were crap, weren’t they? Five Go Camping…Five Go Off in a Caravan…If it were Five Go Down to a Crack House it might be more exciting.

Customer: Do you have a copy of Jane Eyre?

Bookseller: Actually, I just sold that this morning, sorry!

Customer : Oh. Have you read it?

Bookseller: Yep, it’s one of my favourite books.

Customer: Oh great (sits down), could you tell me all about it? I have an essay to write on it by tomorrow.

Customer: Do you have any books on star signs?

Bookseller: Yes, our esoteric section is over here.

Customer: Good. It’s just I really need to check mine – I have an overwhelming feeling that something
bad is going to happen.

Customer: Do you have a book that lists aphrodisiacs? I’ve got a date on Friday

Devizes Books, Devizes, Wiltshire

Bookseller: Do you need a bag for your books?

Customer: No, it’s OK, I have a cardigan.

Buy the Book, Oakham, Leicestershire

Bookseller: Good afternoon, Buy The Book in Oakham, how may I help?

Gentleman: Can I book a double room please.

Bookseller: (after brief, confused pause): I’m sorry sir, I think you have the wrong number – we are a

Gentleman: (undeterred): OK, can I have a twin then?

– ENDS –

For further information please contact: Tracey Jennings, Midas Public Relations, email: [email protected], tel: 020 7361 7860




  • Independent Booksellers Week (IBW), now in its fifth year, is a celebration of independent bookshops nationwide, and the important part that ‘indies’ play in their communities and the excellent, personal service they provide for customers.
  • Hundreds of events and promotions will be taking place at independent bookshops around the country. Local bookshops who take part in IBW are supported by the BA with the preparation of toolkit packs, including information on how to engage with the local community and media, and point-of-sale materials.
  • Brand new for 2011 is National Reading Group Day, which takes place on Saturday 25th June, a new initiative spearheaded by BA President, Jane Streeter, which will allow booksellers to focus on the Reading Group phenomenon, organise their own Reading Group Day, or partner with other organisations, such as local libraries, to create a lively reading group initiative.


  • The Booksellers Association (BA) of the United Kingdom and Ireland Limited [“BA”], representing over 95% of the specialist booksellers in the UK and Ireland, is committed to providing the widest possible range of services to its membership, the value of which far outweigh the cost of being a member.
  • The BA is an inclusive association, representing bookshop chains, general and specialist independents, institutional suppliers, wholesalers, and supermarkets who sell books.
  • The Association is very active in representing booksellers’ interests to publishers, the UK Government and the European Commission. But the BA particularly focuses on providing services to help its members increase sales and reduce costs, e.g. Electronic Gift Cards, which help facilitate the gifting of books in a modern, easy and attractive way (only BA members can sell and exchange Book Tokens).
  • The BA also organises the annual Book Industry Conference, the conference for academic booksellers and publishers, and is a sponsor of The London Book Fair.