With my not inconsiderable past, I sometimes have to do a search to see what I might already have said about topic X. This time I found an almost forgotten moan about bookshops and lifts and being hard up. And earthquakes.

Not admitting to being a little bit poor had completely slipped my mind. Possibly because I no longer mind mentioning that the amount of money I have could have anything to do with whether or not I buy, or where I do it.

In fact, that’s what does make the indie bookshop a hard deal. They really do know what you’d like, and they have it in stock. Except you need to escape the expectation to buy as politely as possible.

Or there’s the opposite. The word ‘handselling’ supposedly has such a nice ring to it. For me it’s mostly the opposite. Whereas even the empty-walleted witch would like to hear about a new, perfect book, even if I then have to dodge the issue of [not] buying, there is one thing I really don’t like.

And that’s having hinted at me that there is going to be a book out soon; one that will be the next Harry Potter or sell as much as Harry Potter, or something like that. But they can’t (=won’t) tell me about it.

To me that is playground tactics. ‘I know something and I’m not telling!’ What they do know is that the publisher’s rep recommended the book, and maybe they have read a proof. What they should do is tell you about it. If I get excited about it, I can wait a few weeks. It’s generally not a secret, either that the book is on its way or what it is about.

Spread the word and there could be many loyal customers queueing to buy when the day comes.

I did the opposite. I was so disgusted by the secrecy and the smugness of the so-called ‘handselling’ that I never read it. I believe the book did really well, so it’s not as if my reluctance prevented its success. I merely felt the need to take a stand against such tactics.

And whatever you think of Amazon vs Waterstones vs independent, I am unlikely to get this playground behaviour from the first two.


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