Excuse me, ma’am—?
The lady behind the information kiosk at the Barnes and Noble here in Charleston lifted an eyebrow. Just one.
“Need help finding something?” she asked.
“Do you have a book called Wool?”
(They didn’t. I’d already checked. I was just being that author who wants to see if it’s something they stock.)
“Hugh Howey,” she said. Immediately. With no hint of recognition, or I would have said: “Hey” in response. “Are you looking for the Omnibus?” she asked.
She said this like she’d had this exchange a few times. There was some eye-rolling going on. “Yes,” I said. “That would be nice.”
Clickety-clack on the keyboard, even though I knew the book wasn’t in stock. She was seeing about ordering it.
“I can order you a copy,” she said.
“Eh . . . no thanks. But I appreciate you looking it up.”
And so ended an exchange that went much differently than such exchanges in the past have gone. I’ve done this in a few stores, just to see if they can get my book in, and this was the first time someone knew of the book. And this is a Barnes and Noble, where they rarely stock books based on customer demand (they’ll tell a customer they’re better off ordering it from Amazon. I’ve had this response a few times).
Anyway, it was a pretty cool moment for me. It means customers are asking about the book. It also means these stores are missing out on sales!
A step in the right direction. Maybe more soon?