Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores


MAN I miss working in a bookstore. Or at least, I miss working around books. Cause let’s be honest, working in retail kind of sucks and interacting with customers can be such a headache sometimes. But that’s what this book is about!

Basically, Jen Campbell works in a London bookstore and was amazed at the weird things that customers say and do, and she started posting quotes on her blog of said happenings*. Well, it caught on and then Neil Gaiman discovered it and started posting links to her blog, and eventually a publisher offered to publish a book of all the crazy nonsense customers spew. And voila! Here we are.

So this here is a collection of  “weird things customers say in bookstores”, some of which come directly from Jen’s experience and some from other people who sent their own quotes or experiences to her. I understand I have the American edition (I think the UK edition is Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, which makes me wonder yet again why publishers think Americans are idiots when it comes to book titles – we know that a “bookshop” is a “bookstore”) and it may or may not have different quotes than the UK edition, because they reached out to US booksellers in particular for quotes and stuff.

ANYWAYS, this book is SO PERFECT for you if you’ve ever worked with books (I imagine there are similar ridiculous occurences in libraries). I worked in a bookstore for a little over a year when I was 18, and it was the BEST. I definitely had a few similar situations as some in this book, but some are so completely bizarre I almost can’t believe they happened. I chuckled here and there and it was a quick read, since it’s basically a bunch of short quotes and tidbits. Here are some that were particularly amusing…

“Customer: My kids are just climbing your bookshelves. That’s ok, isn’t it? They won’t topple over, will they?– *sigh* What an annoying parent.

“Customer: Where are your fictional novels?– Oh you poor soul.

“Customer: Do you have a copy of Atonement? But not the film cover, please. Keira Knightley’s neck makes me want to punch things.– I totally understand, dude.

“Customer: I just don’t like my Kindle. I like real books. They are like cozy blankets to me. Cozy blankets, indeed.

So yeah, if you’re looking for a short book to make you laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy about books and bookstores, read this. I bought my own copy, to browse through at random and because I get all sentimental and whatnot about missing Waldenbooks.

Sarah Says: 4 stars


Jen Campbell’s blog is pretty fun, so I suggest you check it out. Also, she has another book coming out – More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and the release date is April 18th of this year, though that might just be in the UK, I’m not sure. Either way, I’ll probably buy it when it’s available.



  1. I’ll have to check out her blog! I don’t hear a lot of weird things in a library, but find it interesting when people have no idea how a library works, wondering if they can exchange their bought books for our books. That’s the only crazy thing I’ve heard!


  2. Jen posted your blog feature on her FB page for “Weird Things” — I totally agree with you about the publishers thinking Americans are idiots thing. I was very sad that there were to be two versions, and when I said so on one of Jen’s posts, she directed me to where I could buy the British version online through her bookshop 🙂 It was a bit more, obviously, with the overseas shipping, but it makes me unbelievably happy.

    It definitely is a quick read, but it’s a real coffeetable book, you know? I leave it sitting out and my friends have picked it up and looked through it. I’ve read excerpts to my young man over the telephone — which is difficult because I’m usually laughing so much I have to repeat it several times!

    I love the Weird Things project, but Jen’s also a really awesome poet and you should check out her poetry when you have a chance. IT IS AWESOME.


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