Latest London news, sport & entertainment

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 5°C

Five-day forecast

A Crouch End bookseller has compiled a volume of all the weird things her customers say.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

When Crouch-End writer Jen Campbell got a job in a bookshop to help her get by she never expected that it would lead her to writing a book.

The 24-year-old author had already penned poetry books and short stories after her degree.

But the inspiration for her most recent book came from her other task; dealing with the strange requests of customers.

Campbell, who has worked in bookshops for around three years, decided to jot down every strange and comical conversation she had with people who entered her workplace. The result is: Weird things customers say in Bookshops, to be released in April.

The book is a collection of all the strange things customers have said to Campbell during her time working at Celia Mitchell’s Kentish Town antiquarian bookshop, Ripping Yarns, and before that at a bookshop in Edinburgh.

It includes such gems as “Excuse me, do you have author-signed copies of William Shakespeare plays?” and “Do you have the sequel for Anne Frank’s Diary?”.

“We love our customers at the bookshop” says Campbell, who got the book deal after posting some of the weird comments on her blog This is Not the Six Word Novel. “Sometimes though, people say and do the strangest things” Campbell’s patience has been tested to the limits “I think the worst thing that has happened was when a drunk man came in and was sick all over the counter,” she says.

Campbell was approached by a publisher after posting just two of the strange comments on her blog. The book did not take long to write, with new stimuli coming everyday in the form of strange customers.

Campbell has also recently done a poetry challenge for charity, writing 100 limited edition poems that are available to buy from her site.

Although frustrating at times, Campbell insists she would not swap her bookshop role. “I do love it, I think it is very difficult as a writer to just be a writer. Some days working in a bookshop is the best job ever.”

Some of the questions to baffle bookseller Jen:

Customer: “I read a book in the eighties. I don’t remember the author, or the title. But it was green, and it made me laugh. Do you know which one I mean?”

Customer: “I’m just going to nip to Tesco to do the weekly shop. I’m just going to leave my sons here, is that ok? They’re three and five. They’re no bother.”

Customer: Is this Hampstead Heath?

Me: No... this is a bookshop.

Customer: Hi, if I buy a book, read it, and bring it back, could I exchange it for another book?

Campbell: No... because then we wouldn’t make any money.

Customer: Oh.

Customer: What kind of bookshop is this?

Campbell: We’re an antiquarian bookshop.

Customer: Oh, so you sell books about fish.

Taken from Jen Campbell’s blog

Share this article

submit to reddit submit to Fark

Latest book news, reviews and author interviews


LDN24 Promotions

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

WIN beer with Beer BingoTM

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Read full story »

The Week subscription offer

The Week magazine special offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

Read full story »

Bird Box, the debut novel penned by Josh Malerman, frontman of Detroit based rock band The High Strung


London24 has teamed up with HarperCollins to offer a free Amazon Kindle taster of Bird Box, the debut novel penned by Josh Malerman, frontman of Detroit based rock band The High Strung.

Read full story »

Things to do