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?