Top 10 Questions Booksellers Hate to Hear

I had a great time at Barnes & Noble this Saturday, and I met some new friends. I don’t mind book signings (besides for the vulnerability aspect as discussed in an earlier blog), but I hate one thing in particular: People always seem to think that I work at the bookstore, and they ask me questions I don’t know the answer to. Some of them even get annoyed. I’ve tried wearing name tags and not wearing name tags, displaying the “Book Signing with Author M. B. Weston” and not displaying the sign, but nothing works. I always get asked where the bathroom is, where the newspapers are, and where books are. (This does not help with the “vulnerability” problem…) Well, this weekend was no exception, and the “M. B. Weston/Author” name tag did nothing to sway the questioners. (Next time, I’m going tag-less.)

I discussed the issue with some of the folks who work at Barnes & Noble, and they began to laugh and told me all the funny questions people ask them all the time. So, over coffee, we put together a top 10 list of questions that booksellers hate to hear. Bear in mind that all of these are real questions that people actually ask a lot

  • “I’m looking for a book, but I don’t really remember what it is, and I can’t remember the author. The cover is…blue? No, wait…I think it’s red. I don’t remember what it’s about, but I know I saw it in…The Wall Street Journal? No, wait…I think it was The Today Show. No, wait…”
  • “You had a book in the “New Fiction Section” a few months ago. Where is it now? I think it was…on the top corner?”
  • (While walking out of the store with an unpaid-for book.) “When is this due back?” (And speaking of thinking a bookstore is a library, read on:)
  • (In a hushed tone.) “Excuse me, but could you tell those people over there to be quiet? I can’t concentrate on this book I’m reading.”
  • “Do you have that book that was on Oprah a few weeks ago? I can’t remember what it was called.”
  • “Can I return this? The coffee stains were there when I bought it. I swear.”
  • “Where is the “Non-Fiction” section?” (If you can’t figure out why this is funny, go look around a Barnes & Noble.)
  • “The music is too loud. Can you have them turn it down so I can concentrate?”
  • “Do you work here?” (This question is especially fun when asked to someone putting books away–or to an author signing books.)
  • “Where is the bathroom?”

(On this note, I must admit that I am guilty of one of the above. I asked one of the community relations managers this question on Saturday: “Hey, my dad is looking for a book that was listed in The Wall Street Journal. He can’t remember the author or the title, but he says there’s a helicopter on the cover…”)

Fantasy novelist M. B. Weston is the author of The Elysian Chronicles, a fantasy series about guardian angel warfare and treason, which is being adapted into a graphic novel series by Wandering Sage Publications, Inc., with Weston penning the script and KISS comic book artist, Adam Black, doing the art. Weston is also the host of The Final Cut in Movies, an internet radio talk show about science fiction and fantasy movies on Ad Astra Radio, which can also be heard as a podcast on M. B. Weston’s Podcasts site or on iTunes. Weston speaks to children, teens, and adults about writing and the process of getting published. For more information on M. B. Weston, visit Find out more about The Elysian Chronicles at


About M. B. Weston

M. B. Weston is an award-winning fantasy, pulp, young adult, steampunk, and paranormal author. Her attention to procedure and detail gives her works an authentic gritty, military feel that takes an adventure tale to the level of a true page-turner. Weston’s writing attracts both fantasy and non-fantasy readers, and her audience ranges from upper-elementary students to adults. A gifted orator, Weston has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous writing and science fiction/fantasy panels at conventions across the US, including DragonCon, BabelCon, NecronomiCon, and Alabama Phoenix Festival. She has served on panels with such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. F. Lewis, Todd McCaffrey, and Jonathan Maberry. Weston has spoken to thousands of students and adults about the craft of writing and has been invited as the keynote speaker at youth camps and at several schools throughout the US.
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