Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – Book Review

Here is my Goodreads review:

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I own a signed copy of this book bought via the lovely Jen Campbell herself.

I’d been following Jen on Twitter for a while so had seen a few of her examples of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops as well as having read her 100 Poems challenge book.

This neat hardback/dust jacketed collection is presented in three sections. Tales from the Edinburgh Bookshop (where Jen used to work), Tales from Ripping Yarns (where Jen currently works so be sensible visiting people) and Weird Things Customers Say in Other Bookshops (examples sent to Jen from booksellers from around the world). The book is also littered with entertaining illustrations by Greg from the Brothers McLeod (oddly I’d met his brother at a Scriptwriting festival a couple of weeks before receiving my copy – small world).

My reactions whilst reading were mainly either laughing out loud or groaning. It really does make you worry about people (and their general levels of attention and brain engagement). I really liked the examples where the ‘booksellers’ added in a witty reply but I thought on the whole they were very very restrained and professional (well done – I’d like to see what you wanted to say in reply though ;o)).

My top ‘Weird Thing’ was the customer who wondered why they didn’t invent computers faster just to make writers’ lives easier. Bless.

This is what I’d call a Coffee Table book – one to leave out for friends to read whilst you are making them a hot drink or pouring out the wine and then for you to share your favourites and groan and giggle together.

View all my reviews


I would recommend the need for a nice physical copy which you could buy from Amazon (sponsored link) if you fancy a chuckle.

Posted on May 2, 2012, in Book Reviews, Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! Being a bookseller myself I can promise the comments are completely genuine (I shared many of my own experiences in a blog about this book only a few days ago) You really do worry about some people…

    • Hi Hannah. Thanks for commenting and following. I am sadly not doubting the comments. What’s your oddest one then?

      • The weirdest one was probably when I was asked for the sequel to The Diary of Anne Frank (which I think features in the book!) I also had a customer who said, “I’m looking for this book. I don’t know who wrote it or what it is about but it’s blue” Nothing can prepare you for these situations! I wish I was as witty as some of the booksellers in the book!

      • Ah yes the Anne Frank one! ‘What a shame she was such a good writer!’

        I personally try and give people a little more to go on that a cover colour when describing a book ;0)

      • Haha it does help if you can give us a bit of a clue…we try our best but unfortunately there are limits!

  2. I love your idea of leaving the book on the table for friends to read. Sounds good.

  3. I was waiting in line at the bookstore yesterday and they had this on a stand near the counter. I flicked through it for a bit and had to try hard not to burst out laughing! It was quite funny. I’m not sure I’d buy it for myself but I think it’d make a fun present for a few people I know. 🙂

  4. I read Hannah’s post about this book (before she read it) and I am looking forward to her thoughts, I think there will be some fun posts by many booksellers on this one, I can only imagine the one liners. You’d almost want to keep a notebook handy to write them down.

    • I think I heard there was an American version planned that was calling for submissions.
      It’s always useful to keep a pen and paper (or smartphone) handy I feel.

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