8 Types of People You’ll See at the Bookstore

girlbookstoreThere are so many reasons I love walking into bookstores. It’s quiet, the books smell good, you can get lost and not even care, and the people who work there leave you alone until you ask for help. It’s also a pretty great place for people-watching. Here are 8 kinds of people you’ll see at the bookstore:

The Person Who Gives You Unwanted Advice About the Book You’re Thinking About Buying: “Oh you’re thinking of buying that? I read that last year. It’s okay. My friend read it too and she hated it, but I think it’s just a book that most women wouldn’t like. You should read the other three novels the author wrote first, or that one isn’t going to make any sense. There’s like this really abrupt plot twist where you’re actively rooting for Joanne and then out of nowhere you’re like “I hate Joanne.” So anyway, I wouldn’t read it until you read the first three.” HEY, THANKS.

The Person Who Came in Just to Use the Bathroom: These people walk up the escalator instead of standing and waiting until it reaches the top. They’re also really annoyed when they enter the store, and really calm when they leave.

The Person Who is Clearly Just Passing Time: These people make a slow loop in every section, taking a long time to look at all the pictures in the coffee-table books. Then maybe they’ll see if there are any funny birthday cards at the cash register, before standing in front of the Moleskine display debating whether buying a three-pack of notebooks is too ambitious.

The Guy Who Hangs Out in the Magazine Section so He Can Hit On Girls: Seriously, it’s happened on two separate occasions. I’m telling management next time.

The Person Looking for Last-Minute Gifts: “Does he like puzzles? Would it be weird if I was like, here’s a puzzle of Rivendell for you to do? Does he even like Lord of the Rings? Should I get the Lord of the Rings trilogy for him to read first? Does that make me look like the nerd? No, I’ll get him a cookbook. Does he even cook? Doesn’t matter, now he’ll start.”

Kids Reading Books in the Aisles: Cute. Forever cute.

Person Asleep in an Arm Chair: Could also be in the Time Passer category.

People Who Rush to the Table with the Latest Harry Potter Book and Look Super Relieved When They See There Are Still Copies Left: Man, those were the days, huh? Such a rush.

What kind of person do you always see at the bookstore?

  • http://www.morbidanatomy.com/ ReasonableRita

    Or, people who like to read.

    • Wheeee!


    • buntyboy

      True that

    • Patrick Curley

      Most of those people are found at the library, not B&N. People who truly read in large volumes typically get their books for free from their local library, they read quickly and are making a more economical decision.

  • Mohi1

    Why is it only good-looking intellectual girls hang out in the library above ?

  • Seth Horn

    I’m the kind that comes in to pass time. I go to a section that I’m interested in at the moment, find a book, make sure that it’s the first in the series and start reading. If I find it interesting, I keep reading, if not I look for another one. By the time I leave, I either have a new book in hand or I have the intention of buying a new book the next time I come in.

  • Art Brooks

    Then there is the book club, the chess club, the tutors, the stitch and
    bitch society and the people who are just there for the free Wifi…not
    to mention the people who are reading the first few chapters of a book
    while they decide if they want it or not and those who sit and read ENTIRE books.

  • Jen Kwiatek

    The Snacker – sits in the cafe section with a stack of books and magazines, leafing through all while nibbling a stuffed pretzel and sipping a latte or a smoothie.

    The Study Group – huddled into a knot with their books, laptops and notebooks, looking like they’ve been there for hours already, perhaps days.

  • Wheeee!

    I go because I find that bookstores are a sort of haven for me. The smell of new books and coffee just really soothes my soul. I peruse and look for a new book series to get into. But I mostly just see young, hormone addled Marines pretending to read Fifty Shades of Grey to pick up chicks or using the free WiFi.

  • bookwoman

    Ah, I used to love the quiet of walking into a bookstore too. But now you are assaulted by very loud music, in my view not conducive to book browsing in the BN stores.

    • http://Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com/ Floyd Johnson

      Sadly, our BN is quieter than our local library. Go figure …

    • thejournalceo

      I agree. I used to love the tranquil soft music and comfortable lounge chairs at B&N.

      Now the music makes me cringe. I always bring headphones on any B&N trip now. Yuck.

  • Esther Newman

    I miss the Georgetown B&N!! :(

  • http://Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com/ Floyd Johnson

    Or the guy (i.e. me) who comes in to use the Wi-Fi for eight hours. He sits at the same table and in the same chair all day long. His wife may join him during her 15 minute breaks and the 30 minute lunch breaks – well, she does work in the book store,

  • Amanda

    What a ridiculous and pretentious list.

    I go because I love books.

    I wander aisles not to pass time, but because I like seeing different
    books, I love more than one subject. I flip through tabletop books to
    see if they’re worth a buy or not.

    The “latest” Harry Potter book came out in 2007. So, you’re not going to see people rushing for it nowadays.

    That person giving you advice is being polite and sharing their thoughts. It’s book lover bonding. I love discussing books with others.

    No one goes into a book store and is like “Oh noes! Someone might think
    I’m a nerd!” I never felt like a “nerd” for buying books or going into
    bookstores. I feel awesome.

    You sound like the stereotypical dumb blonde whose views are all negative and shallow.

    • Ashley N. Ratcliff

      So you haven’t seen any of these people?? I don’t think she’s saying those people are the sole clientele of B&N. I definitely have seen almost all of these! :)

    • Elizabeth

      This post is meant to be funny, and as someone who works at a bookstore, I completely agree with the list.

      It’s not meant to hurt your feelings.

    • TheEvilBlight

      What’s distressing is that people only seem to buy books based on group mentality of the time. Fifty Shades and Twilight got picked up en masse,then dropped en masse. They used to be ubiquitous until they fell out of fashion…poor bookstores can’t run with fingers crossed hoping for the latest fad book to drive massive amounts of sales to underwrite Jane Austen, CS Lewis and Jules Verne (and that said, the truly good classics are probably free on Gutenberg anyways…)

  • andythewys

    The Osmosian- A person who just KNOWS being around so many wonderful books (and those who love them) has to infuse the soul with peace and contentment.

  • Anna M. Preziosi

    With a list like that you wonder why your stores aren’t doing well? How about all the serious book lovers who can spend hours going thru the aisles and end up leaving with 4-5 books, all of different genres?

    • TheEvilBlight

      Sure, but a bookstore chain can’t sustain business without enough bibliophiles, who may also split their time and money between independent chains and used bookstores.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GreedLin?feature=mhum Stephen Bove

    You forgot the people that go there to actually get a book, know what lane it is in and goes there to get it. Or the people who look at clearance.

  • Lauren Donovan Ollila

    I go because the books and coffee aroma
    can lower my stress level immediately, and I can get lost for a couple of hours.

  • Ashley N. Ratcliff

    PEOPLE WHO JUST GOT PAID (obvious by how many books, journals, and superfluous pen sets).

    People discovering new fiction/nonfiction. Some of my new favorites were suggested by staff, and they didn’t steer me wrong!

  • Ginny’s Miles

    I agree with ReasonableRita…. you totally left out the “bookophile”… those of us who enter the store to be surrounded by the smell and feel of books…. we buy something every time or as often as we can because we want to keep brick and mortar book stores open. We have enough piles of books in our own homes so that when the zombie apocalypse occurs, we don’t have to venture out. We are there to read, to be surrounded by books, and other book lovers.

    • thejournalceo

      I love being immersed in shelves and shelves of books too! Yes, I also have e-readers, but I’ll always go to real in-person bookstores.

    • Phyl

      AGREED, well said.

    • TheEvilBlight

      Old books smell good. Paperbacks, I’m not so sure.

  • Denise Brooks

    I am the person who is practically broken out in hives with excitement over the look, the smell, the feel, and the abundance of books. I also give unwanted advice…everywhere, not just in the bookstore. I rarely dis a book, but I am a Book Evangelist for the books I love! See from afar…run for your life! hahahahah

  • Mimi

    I’m the one looking for books that I can put on hold at the library for free!

    • Tanya Dennings

      I do that & check my fav used on-line book store for them. :)

  • Rebecca Parrish Duer

    Sorry, you’re forgetting a MAJOR one: the person who LOVES to read and wants to buy every book in the store and contemplates working at B&N just to get their daily dose of new book smell! I DO NOT fit into any of the above categories, but I would fit into this one!

  • Maraphina

    How am I not on the list?? I genuinely love books. I don’t buy e-books because I love the feel of a paper book in my hands….. and the batteries don’t die. The last time I went to B&N, I was looking for one book and left three hours later with seven. My living room looks like storage for library overflow. This list has been weighed, measure, and left wanting.

  • Eve

    I have been all these people at one time or another (okay, not they guy hitting on chicks in the magazine section), but the reason I came into the BOOK STORE to do them is because I love books. It is a place I feel at home. It is a place I would want to spend some extra time, a place I’m likely to see people who are interested in things I like, many of whom actually do appreciate a little feedback on a book, including whether skipping books earlier in a series effects one’s enjoyment (couldn’t really tell how sarcastic that HEY THANKS was), and a place I don’t feel guilty running into to use the john, because some other time I’ll go in to actually buy something.

  • momof2

    Oh, B&N, you were so wonderful … books, books, books! Chairs and tables scattered about, making it so comfy to spend time enjoying the bookish atmosphere. But then small changes crept in.
    You took away virtually all the chairs (and tables), so now I have to make sure I have my walker with me or else I will be in too much pain before I can make a proper circuit of the store. Seriously, I doubt I am the only person who finds it harder to shop there without a place to make an occassional rest stop.
    Also, dear B&N, you took out aisles and aisles of books and replaced them with toys! Why, oh why would you do that?! This makes it so much more difficult to take my preschool aged grandchildren to the bookstore. I am holding firmly to my rule of “no toys at the bookstore,” but man, it isn’t easy. And a stop at the bookstore has always been a big treat, for the babies as well as me. I want it to remain a treat, but please, put the toys away, restock the shelves with books, and keep the focus on the magic of books.

    • ci0616

      I can’t say that I’ve noticed the lack of chairs; there’s always seats in the coffee shop. As far as the toys go, that’s pretty easily explainable. People aren’t buying books like they used to. That’s why so many other bookstores, like Borders, along with a ton of local bookstores, have gone out of business. But booksellers have found that selling toys is actually pretty profitable. But I admire your “no toys” rule. Buy those kids some books! They’ll thank you later.

    • meekyn

      I think this must depend on location. There are a lot of seats in the cafe section of our store, as well as a reading area near it. Also, except for clearance tables, all the toys are pretty much back in the kids’ section of the store. There are puzzles and board games toward the music area, but not really toys per se.

    • thejournalceo

      I completely agree!

      No chairs ruins the point of going to a bookstore. If I wanted to run in a store and buy some book, I would go to Walmart. If I wanted to by a book site unseen, I would order from Amazon. What has lured me to Barnes and Noble for over 10 years is (was) the fact that there were comfortable fabric chairs to sit on throughout the store so I could shop.

      I like toys and board games, but my local Barnes and Noble has WAY too many of each. It’s a BOOKSTORE, not a toy store for pete’s sake. Some board games and a smaller Nook display would be fine. My store has way too many display tables and increasingly few shelves of actual BOOKS. I might as well be in Walmart. Yuck. B&N, get some kids BOOKS and give us our lounge areas back.

      Like the poster above said, the magic of bookstores is the BOOKS! Not the toys, gadgets, games, and other stuff.

  • Beth Arp

    Go for my Sunday coffee and Oatmeal cookie and read everything and anything I can! Hubby goes with me, a nice relaxing Sunday morning for sure.

  • Elizabeth

    The person who takes forty magazines, riffles through all of them, and then leaves them in a precarious pile to picked up.

    The person who takes all the cookbooks on healthy eating and copies the recipes while eating a peanut butter cookie and sipping on a Salted Caramel Mocha (extra caramel, please).

  • Rachel Harris

    I don’t mind the kids reading in the aisles. It’s the teenagers blocking the aisles while sitting on the floor. Makes me wanna screaming “fire” and then clock them in the head with my purse as I run by.

  • nikki

    or those, like myself… who walking quickly to find a few books and leave because they’d rather be at home reading than dealing with people in public.

  • jessica21

    I’m not going to lie I’m a lot like the first :/ but a lot like the last to, that and I take forever going down each aisle at least a dozen times to make sure I didn’t miss books..im pretty bad. lol

  • Robert L Hutchison

    I usually don’t give advise to people unless asked…I’ve used B&N just to use bathroom…I’ve used B&N to just pass time…I don’t hang around the magazine section to hit on girls…Guilty about last second gifts…It’s OK for children to read in aisles unless they block traffic…I’ve fell asleep while reading in B&N…I can either take or leave Harry Potter books…I just wish I was Bill Gates or Warren Buffet so I could buy all the books I want, but even they might not have enough money for that!

  • Avleigh

    Or maybe just people who like to read. And the quiet. And mind their own business.

  • Christie

    well the BN I work at has a small group of local conspiracy theorists/bored old men who meet up weekly and share notes, news and read various books about unsolved mysteries and bizarre historical events.. They always want to talk with me about the latest thing they’re hung up on. They make me feel like they’re trying to recruit me for their super secret club. Not a bad thing I guess, just different strokes..

  • Figment Imagination

    My not so local B&N has no chairs for me to read in. But why isn’t there a listing for person who came in to buy some books… granted that picture makes me cry T_T girl who put on glasses just to ‘look smart’ while running into the book store for the coffee. i don’t see too many people around because I go early to avoid them.

  • billcostley

    Last night I dreamt that I walked into my local Barnes & Noble bookstore just as the local bus pulled up with my name as its destination, announcing my name. (There isn’t a bus stop there now, but there ought to be.)

    Later…I thot of how B&N (who I worked for ~10 yrs in Wellesley & Boston MA) could turn that into an easy local-author PR program in which local authors would be highlighted the moment they stepped into the local store by a visible/audible display that says “[Author Name] IS in the store!” Concept: Like us, they too buy books at the local B&N. (By pre-arrangement, of course.) Make their presence easy for them & buzzy for locals who will surely talk about it after. (Trip it off by zipcoded RFID.)

  • thejournalceo

    It’s a shame there are no comfortable chairs inside Barnes and Noble anymore.

    I used to go there, casually browse through books, get coffee, then decide which books to buy while sitting comfortably.

    Or, I would invite friends to meet up at Barnes and Noble. We would sit in the comfortable chairs inside the store, talk, look at books and board games, and usually make a few unexpected purchases.

    Why would I invite friends to Barnes and Noble now? Right, I don’t. There’s nowhere to sit comfortably and lounge for a while. If we wanted coffee, we would go to Starbucks, not to a cafe inside a bookstore.

    Now I rarely go to Barnes and Noble because there’s no where comfortable to sit to make an afternoon of it.

    I used to go to Barnes and Noble a few times a week, purchasing at least a few books or odds and ends each time. Now I go maybe twice a year or less. There’s nowhere to sit anymore, and I have no reason to walk inside a bookstore just to stand there and walk out 10 minutes later.

    If I’m going to a bookstore, I want to actually SIT down and browse through the books I’m thinking of buying to see if I like them. And, I want to sit comfortably– NOT in a noisy, crowded cafe all the way across the store.

    If I didn’t want to casually browse through books sitting down, I would just buy books online.

    The cafe is too far away from books, too noisy, and too crowded.

    You can’t exactly pick up a handful of books, walk across the store to the cafe, and easily look through books to see which you want to buy. That’s incredibly inconvenient and uncomfortable. Plus, the cafe is noisy and crowded and you don’t want to spill coffee on books you haven’t purchased yet. And if I can’t easily sit and peruse books, why would I go to a bookstore?

    It’s not customer friendly to not have comfortable seating in a bookstore.

    I like to pick up a few books off of the shelves, SIT DOWN (!!!!), and casually browse through the books to see which is the book I need. I buy books for class and other topics. It’s uncomfortable and awkward to stand there and try to balance the books I’ve selected on my arms while I try to see if I’ve picked up a book I need or not.

    I realize that Barnes and Noble isn’t a library of course, but it shouldn’t try to turn itself into Walmart either where customers hurriedly walk in then out of the store. All of toys, board games, etc. in such excess in the store make it a jumbled mess, not a bookstore. Yes, I’ve studied at Barnes and Noble before, but at least I bought either books or an impulse purchase each time. Even if I hadn’t, plenty of walk in/out customers don’t buy stuff each time either.

    Customers go to bookstores for the ATMOSPHERE. And, the atmosphere of bookstores is casually lounging in a comfortable chair, picking some books, drinking coffee, then making your selecting and purchasing the books.

    Give us back the BOOKstore. Yes, I’m capitalizing the “book” in bookstore.

    Barnes and Noble BOOKsellers seems to have forgotten what a bookstore is lately.

    The ambiance.

    The tranquil music.

    The comfortable seating.

    The BOOKS.

    You know, the things that actually make us want to go to a bookstore in the first place. If we wanted toys, coffee, or to hurry in and pick up a book and immediately leave, we would go to Walmart. If we wanted to buy books without browsing through them, we would shop on Amazon.

    What brings us back to Barnes and Noble over and over again, even in 2013, is the ambiance of a bookstore.

    It’s the tranquil, comfortable setting that we can spend an hour perusing books unrushed in a relatively quiet peaceful atmosphere before we make a purchase.

    I do think that Barnes and Noble should emphasize the free “one hour in store e-book” reading that you can have on your Nook each day. Where you would sit I have no idea, but at least you’re drawing in repeat customers to the store to give them a perk for their e-reader purchase… and you’re reminding them that paper books still exist.

    You might be surprised at just how many people still like books. I have e-readers, but it’s the tranquil comfortable setting (and comfortable seating, not chairs in a noisy crowded cafe all the way across the store) that a bookstore should be that makes me go there over and over.

    B&N, give us our chairs back. Readers like to sit and read before purchasing books. You would be surprised at how “getting into the mood” this way can cause impulse purchases in store.

  • Phyl

    Or people who still love the classics!

  • TheEvilBlight

    As a child of the 80’s and 90’s I may be the last generation to use books. Not long after our generation digital technology advanced enough to allow electronic screens to capture the minds of youth with more than 8-bit color and greater than 320×200 resolution.

    Is it game over for the book? Not sure. Did the TV and radio kill the book? No, but they put a dent in it. And now TV, radio, smartphones and the like will fight it out amongst themselves…with the smartphone likely to cannibalize the TV as much as TV cannibalized the radio.

  • Sandra Evans

    The Manga eaters are my favs. I do think this is supposed to be funny. Thses are the other categories the book lovers see during their Friday night date at B&N.

  • Jade

    Excuse me? I walk through the store but don’t buy anything because I have no money right now but I really do enjoy books and I like to spend my time in a place surrounded by them MMKAY. You guys are a book selling giant, a few people like me coming into your stores isn’t gonna put you out of business.

    Also, you should add to that list: employees that visibly feel really crappy about having to come up to people sitting on the floor and tell them to get up when there are only 3 chairs in the entire store due to a stupid policy some idiot in upper management came up with.