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At the store, four years. In the used book business in NY, almost 10 years. Although we're primarily a second-hand bookstore, the steep rise in tourist traffic over the past three years has prompted us to carry more NY-based books of all sorts—novels, photography, history. Brooklyn, grafitti art, architecture and the subway are hot topics. We sell a lot of post cards.
If you sell it, who's the prototypical Fifty Shades of Grey buyer in your store? Notably different from the rest of your average demographic?
Women, all sorts. Since we've started stocking the series I've only sold two books to a man, and it was the same man.
The relationship of cats to bookstores: discuss.
A cliche. People who ask if we have a store cat tend to be the same people who exclaim loudly as they come in that the store smells like books.
What books make you immediately skeptical of the buyer?
Conspiracy theories. Heartwarming true stories about pets, psychics or pet psychics. 80s diet books. 90s travel guides. Books so decrepit they should clearly have been tossed—moldy, smelly, pages loose, covers torn. Books packed in such a way as to guarantee maximum damage in transit to the store.
What books make you immediately crush-out on the buyer?
A collection that shows passionate and/or varied interests (tree houses, snowshoeing, traffic engineering, cupping, whatever), or a loyal adherence to and deep knowledge of a particular genre/movement (pulps, mysteries, sci-fi, Oulipo, 19th-century travel guides).
What's the bookstore clerk equivalent of spitting in the food of a difficult customer?
Breezy, impersonal politeness.