It's been a while since I set foot in an actual bookstore. I have been trying to exercise some restraint and not add to the already overflowing TBR shelves, plus abebooks.com and paperbackswap.com are so much more frugal and green than driving across town to buy something brand new. Still, there's no substitute for the heady immediacy of the impulse buy.
I headed to my local bookstore to indulge in the works of a local author I've recently met, and while I was there it suddenly dawned on me that there is a new Booker winner out and I might still have time to score a first edition. I'm not a fanatic about the first edition thing, but it's still a nice attribute for a book that will reside in my permanent collection.
So then I became the bookseller's problem customer. I knew it was the winner this year, I knew the author's name started with a B (Baker? Barker? Baxter?) and the title was The [Something] of a [Something].* Oh yeah, that certainly narrows it down, doesn't it? Ha! I decided to be up-front with the clerks about the paucity of my information and they were equally good-humored about the "mystery book" I was seeking.
After a quick Google search, one of the pros guided me to the front table, where they had many copies available. I told her about my quest to collect and read all the winners, and she actually helped me pick out a nice crisp copy. On the first one I picked up, the jacket was applied just a little off-center, but the bookseller helped me check the others to make sure I got one that was folded on just right. Then she started asking me which of the winners was good, and we ended up having a long conversation of recommending books to each other.
Try getting that kind of friendly service online!
*Actually: Barnes and The Sense of an Ending.