- working out how the price gun works for non-book items.
- dealing with more genre infractions (Samuel Delany's excellent Sci-fi masterpiece "Nova" fraternizing with the Booker Prize nominees in the general fiction was one dealt with summarily by me today)
- getting in a blue funk 'cos the Gaggia is dispensing coffee that we can't, in all honesty, sell because it tastes foul.
However, these are very minor grumbles. We are still having a great time in our honeymoon period. And despite some doubts posted in response to our last blog about the wisdom of "cooks and books" it is at least proving a novelty amongst a significant number of customers who seem to like the concept. We're monitoring it closely however.We experimented with late-night opening tonight (Thursday), to be rewarded with a sale of the Hairy Bikers Cookbook at 8.30pm (I would have been in the shop anyway, and the people who bought it were a delight to serve). As complete novice booksellers, one thing that is very disconcerting is the hole left after you sell a book. We have worked very hard over the last few days to use face-out boxes, shuffling up authors to have the shelves looking good, and then the books get sold, and you have to shuffle everyone up again. Then more books come in. I'm sure this Sisyphean challenge is well appreciated by other booksellers. I've come to see it as an opportunity for some of our lowlier books to have 'their chance' once others are sold. We now officially have "too many books". Two more bookshelves are going up, but we are now going to have to exercise extreme discipline to stop ordering large numbers of new books, and start intelligently selling what we have. We have also well and truly entered the sometimes strange world of "customer requests". I thought we'd share some with you in the hope of advice and recommendations from the blogosphere: 1. Customer listened to Sandy Tostvig on Radio 4, and there was a book "confession of..." but that's as far as she got. Anyone know what book was discussed? The website didn't yield anything. If you type "confessions of" into the Gardners system you get some very exotic possibilities. I'm sure Sandy wouldn't discuss *those* on radio 4... 2. Customer has requested help to find a book that has detailed instructions on how to prepare cuts of meat. Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall perhaps? 3. Customer has a 15 year old boy who is a reluctant reader. His teacher had suggested getting hold of a book containing short stories from classic authors that can be read in one sitting (a story, not the whole book). He's very into computer games. This last one is quite important. I was a reluctant reader at school (I used to read the first two chapters and then get my mates to tell me what happened) and the intervention of a few key people got me back into books. Anyway - Nicki and I will endeavour to sort the coffee machine out tomorrow. In the meantime, here's how the shop is looking after the book sorting (and our mona lisa curtain into the stock room which has suffered a lot in the last week and may have to go): P.S. BT royally screwed up the broadband installation today. They went to the wrong address on Stert Street. The engineer actually came round to apologise, but because the address didn't match his paperwork he couldn't do the line installation. Several calls to BT later, no-one seemed able to rectify the error. Smashing.