What a surprising experience with Bookshop.org!
So, yesterday, when someone told me that my my novel "Woman of An Uncertain Age," a midlife "coming-of-age" journey of an Indian widow in NYC , was a bestselling book in the #ownvoices category on Bookshop.org, a leading online book seller, I was so incredulous that I wanted confirm this information with them. And I remembered I had some other questions for Bookshop too.
So I went off in search of a phone number where I could actually speak to a human being which seems less likely than finding a unicorn these days. After fumbling around, I finally found a number and someone actually picked up the phone. Immediately. Now, you might be impressed by just that, but it gets way better. I asked my question and the highly amiable and knowledgeable person on the other end immediately answered my query and even gave me additional context and information. I was thinking to myself ---what good customer service representatives Bookshop.org hires. I needed some more specific information, and the person who told me his name was Andy Hunter when I inquired (he's still a customer service representative in my mind at this point), told me he would send it to me within 24 hours via email.
I silently sighed. No matter how good this Andy person sounded, there was no way he was going to bother finding out the info I needed and then emailing it to me. That rarely happened these days. So, I went back to doing what I needed to.
And then, a mere three hours later, I had an email with all the info I had requested from Andy Hunter of bookshop.org. Now, that's good, isn't it? Again, it gets better.
At the bottom, I noticed that Andy Hunter's signature said he was the founder and CEO of bookshop.org. What? The founder and CEO of Bookshop.org was taking the time to talk to me, patiently answer my various questions (which, if you know me, I tend to have a lot of) and then email me with the info I'd asked for. He even told me had bought a copy of my book!! My head was spinning. This was so unusual it seemed to belong to a fantastical realm.
Now, the journalist in me reared up its head and I wanted to know what the background of Andy Hunter was, the man who wanted to support local, independent bookstores (something I value very much) with his online book site and compete with the intimidating behemoth known as Amazon.
Lo and behold, I was wide-eyed as I learned about this humble-sounding, helpful man's super-impressive publishing resume. Besides being the CEO of bookshop.org, Andy was also the publisher of Literary Hub, founder and chairman of Electric Literature,
and the former publisher at Counterpoint Press, Catapult and Soft Skull Press, according to his Facebook profile.
My head was reeling. This was the man that took 10 to 15 minutes of his day to answer my not-so-significant (in the grand scheme of things) queries? Who emailed me all the info I need in a record amount of time?
Needless to say, I was completely sold. I'm going to be a bookshop.org customer and support them and local bookstores whenever possible and tell others to do the same. I wish Bookshop all the success in the world!