How do people find out about books? How do booksellers find out about what's coming out? I'm not talking about the very useful reps who show us highlights (tailored to us) of new books coming out, or various publisher catalogues or even the periodic Bookseller highlights.
Blogs can be useful. I occassionally dip into Scott Pack's blog and have been spurred on to order The Key to Chintak a self-published children's novel which was in the Waterstone's top 10. Follow the original link to find out how the book got to be published (I can never tell stories properly and mangling one that's already told quite well is pointless). And one of my favourite blogs is Snowbooks' not just because it is well-written and very good-humoured, but also because you do get to see a side of publishing that you wouldn't do therwise. Occasionally James and Emma do a little mastercourse on an aspect of publishing. They're really useful. Anyway, she's just blogged about how proofs get made. After reading it, I called up and asked for one. And after reading the proof, you'll probably hear me endlessly extolling the (much-)neglected art of zombie fiction.
But I suppose my favourite way to find out about a book is when a customer comes up to the till and pays for a book I've never seen before or just given a cursory glance to. Today someone bought Michelle Knudsen's The Library Lion. And I went "that looks nice". And she started telling me about it. And then someone else went and bought another copy. I then went and had a look.
I do use hyperbole a lot. Every book I recommend is nice, fantastic etc. I know that devalues my use the absolutes. But The Library Lion is that good.
I know I'll have similar experiences in Bath, but I do like the tastes of our (I can't say that for too much longer) customers here in Chelsea. I'll miss it.