Can’t trust anyone, then

Not only does it seem that we can’t trust reviewers not to bore us or give too much away, but they want a little extra money for their trouble. (I can tell you that my halo feels really heavy today.) From the same source as the $25 payment for reviews I gather that we can’t expect ‘staff picks’ labels in bookshops to be genuine, either.

Or maybe we can. Replies coming in suggested it works both ways. Some say that of course we can’t think that individual staff members read and recommend books in shops, and others say that in their experience it’s all genuine.

I’m rarely in the big chain shops, but had some time in a Borders not too long ago. Forget why, but I spent time waiting for whatever, by looking over the teen books section, and seeing what they recommended. Good enough selection, but disappointed by the very predictable ‘recommendations.’ So maybe they were head office recommendations. Or maybe it was just staff not reading anything terribly exciting or different.

I’m not saying they mustn’t read, like or recommend Harry Potter or Twilight, but it’s just that little bit too obvious. I’d love it if they read some more unknown titles and told shoppers about them, enticing people away from the commonest purchases.

What little experience I have from the local indie bookshop is that the shop likes to steer ‘shelf talkers,’ both as to which books should have them and what they should say and how. I used to feel this defeated the purpose of using customers, and in particular child readers, recommending something they had loved. ‘You can only love and recommend what we want.’

Do you find they assist you picking books to buy? Would you like to put up a shelf talker where you shop?

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