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Jen Campbell: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Jen Campbell: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Do you have any books by Jane Eyre?


Could I have this book without the photographs?


Customer: Hi, do you have any new books?

Bookseller: We’re an antiquarian bookshop - our stock is made up of books which are out of print.

Customer: So other people have touched them?

Bookseller: … Presumably, yes.

Customer: I don’t think I’ll bother, thanks.

Bookseller: … OK.

Customer: Do you have any old porn magazines?

This book speaks - and laughs - for itself. Jen Campbell, aged 24, grew up in the North East of England. She has published poetry and short stories, and she works at Ripping Yarns, an antiquarian bookshop in North London. Ripping Yarns was bought by poet Adrian Mitchell and his wife Celia. The shop was reopened for them by Michael Palin and Terry Jones twenty-seven years ago. Now it is specialised in children’s books, juvenilia, picture books, comics and a wide range of 19th century poetry and literature. 

"I love working in book shops”, Jen Campbell says. “They attract especially strange comments and requests." Over the years she has written down all these strange questions customers ask when they drop in. The best of them have recently been published by Constable & Robinson with wonderful illustrations by The Brothers McLeod. An awesome and unbelievably witty book on the eccentricities which make bookselling one of the most fascinating professions on earth. A must for booklovers!

Jen Campbell, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops. 

London, Constable & Robinson 2012. 119 pp. With illustrations. Hardcover. 

>>> Jen Campbell’s blog 

>>> Ripping Yarns 


Published since 18 Apr 2012