The setting: a busy afternoon in a busy chain bookstore, not long after Black Wednesday.
The players: a busy but still cheerful bookseller and a large bespectacled man browsing in the Science Fiction section.
Busy but still cheerful bookseller: Hey! Can I help you find anything?
Large bespectacled man (glancing up somewhat dismissively from the book he's perusing): No. Thanks.
BBSCB (walking briskly on past): Okay--give me a yell if you change your mind.
LBM (allowing BBSCB to put some distance between them before speaking): Can you tell me how the decision is made where a book is shelved? There's a large difference between Horror (which is a terrible misnomer; it should be called "Gothic") and Science Fiction, and there doesn't seem to be any reasoning behind what's put where.
BBSCB (attempting to remain upbeat and cheerful): That certainly may be so. We find more and more that there's overlap between the genres. For example, take paranormal romance and urban fantasy; both of these categories could easily be shelved in two or more genres. Generally, our buyers use a combination of basic logic and publisher preference when deciding where to shelve a book. Don't worry, though, we can always help you find what you're looking for.
LBM (dismissively): I seriously doubt it. And it's just stupid to shelve most of those titles in Horror--which really should be called "Gothic."
BBSCB (cranking up the cheerful meter as she peels away): I guess we're just stupid, then. Have a great day!
Boy is the busy but still cheerful bookseller tired these days...and there are still three weeks to go before Christmas.
1 month ago