Writing Inspiration: Browsing a Bookstore


Browsing a bookstore isn’t something I have done lately.

I work in a bookstore. At my bookstore, I know all the books on the shelves–because I ordered them in. I curate from my desk and work to make the collection decent and varied for my customers to browse.

But I do not browse them. When I am on the floor, I have a mission in mind:

  • Where is the book that should be on this return?
  • How many of this do I REALLY have in stock? I’m sure the computer is wrong.
  • What displays are up, how full are they, and do I need to reorder, restock, or just remerchandise?

Not to mention, when I’m on the floor, I am likely to be pinged by a customer and asked questions (I don’t mind them if they are about trade books. But about clothing or textbooks? I got nothin’.)

I used to browse bookstores all the time. And then I’d buy my weight in books. Now, my life has a bit of a better bank account balance.

Since I started working at my bookstore, when I go into other bookstores, I generally stay away from the books. I linger at the gifts and journals to see things that I don’t stock in my store. (I mean, after all, I can’t get my employee discount on books in another store…when I can just order them in for myself at work.)

But yesterday I did a quick perusal of a bookstore with fellow Inkette Elisa. I squashed the critical parts of my brain (Sample rapidfire: Why so many hardbacks along with trade papers of the same book? Someone missed returns. But why aren’t they marking things down, then?) and we just chatted about the books on the shelf.

Between picking up Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor and chatting about some of the newer YA titles out, I felt nostalgic. Seeing the glossy covers and faceouts–this is what I had wanted for my writing. To find a place on these shelves.

I just felt a jump start in my urge to get writing, to be braver with getting my words seen by others.

I can’t be the only one: who else loves browsing a bookstore, and just ends up feeling writing inspired?


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