You Have My Undivided Attention… Until

A friend and I have a “texting” book club of sorts. Because we live in different cities, we never actually meet for this book club. Instead, we take turns choosing books, try to read them a the same time, and text each other throughout the reading process. Eloquent texts, which often read like: “Really? You expect me to keep reading this?”

As with most book club books, I keep reading for the eventual discussion. And the little “give it until page 75, and then see if you change your mind” encouragements help along the way.

But what about books read outside the obligation of a book club? Are you an obsessive book finisher? Or have you established a formula for determining how much time and effort you will put into a book before you decide it’s not worth your time? And finally, is there anything that will keep you reading if you’ve reached that point?

If I’m just not getting into a book, I’ll give it 100 pages. If I hate it from the beginning, I’ll give it an hour. If I do abandon a book, I’ll often feel guilt and remorse because of that darned Roald Dahl quote: “I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.”

What’s your rule of thumb for reading/abandoning a book?

As you might have guessed, this is another idea for content. Although I’ve always said you can steal freely anything I write, I don’t think your customers are interested in my reading habits. But they are interested in yours. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. If you have a process/policy/rule of thumb for reading books, write a little piece about it for your newsletter.
  2. Ask each bookseller on staff to write about their reading habits, and then you have a series for your blog.
  3. Pose the question on your Facebook page, and ask customers to chime in.
  4. Offer a dropbox in your store where customers can anonymously deposit books they no longer wish to finish. From this box you can set up a Library of Abandoned Books and have periodic sales from the library, offering all money collected to a local charity.
  5. I still love the Bad Book Confessions that Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino shared through their Facebook page. I think a similar “Abandoned Book Confessions” would be equally humorous–and cathartic.



Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay