This week I came across this compilation of "Tales of Cranky Book Sellers". I'm sure we've all had our run-ins with eccentric dealers who, after all, probably started life as bibliophiles like us before running completely amok. -Editor
One must not forget the Birmingham dealer, who on being asked for a discount for books would tear them in half in front of the customer. What particularly irked him was the phrase 'What can you do on this?' A red mist would descend and he would reply 'I'll show you what I can do on this...' and tore up the book. One imagines that this was selective, possibly only books under #20. Not a wise business stratagem but probably quite satisfying...
I work at a moderately successful used bookstore in San Francisco, sort of serving as the public face. Let me tell you that the reputation people who work at small bookstores is generally true, and we are all a bunch of miserable smarty-pants bastards. Nothing gives me greater vindication than giving a customer a flat 'no' when they seek a barter, especially when I can see it coming a mile away.
I believe I related once before the story of the time I stopped in to see a used book dealer in Boston. His shop was a mess. As he was showing me a few numismatic books, a man wandered into the store and walked around looking at books. The dealer suddenly yelled at him. "You're standing in my office! Get out of my office!"To read the complete article, see: Tales of cranky book sellers (http://www.boingboing.net/2008/10/24/tales-of-cranky-book.html)
Perplexed, the man froze like a deer in the headlights. I was perplexed, too. With books piled hither and yon, it was impossible to see where the dealer's countertop began or ended. The customer had veered behind the counter while following a narrow pathway. He turned and walked out, surely muttering that it would be a cold day in hell before he'd spend a dime in that shop. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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