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Did It Jump, Or Was It Pushed?

All our customers are booklovers. We know it, so please don’t take offence. This post is just to let you know you’re not alone… and perhaps give you a couple of tips. We’ve all done it more than once. It’s just one of those things and, since we’ve been on Rundle Mall and have been experiencing larger numbers of people in the shop, we’ve had it happen quite a lot.

I’m talking about dropping a book.

You may be surprised to learn that this has quite a few variations:

1. The rarest book drop is fumbling an attempted catch of a book hurled across the room (maybe partly because I have large stick which will be brandished should this ever occur and used upon the hurler, not the dropper). RESULT: Damaged book, hospitalised hurler. SOLUTION: Don’t hurl books in my shop.

2. For most of our dust-jacketed books, we use an archival plastic to protect the jacket. However, this can make the book a little slippery to handle, especially if it’s a heavy book. RESULT: Surprisingly, this rarely results in the book falling to the ground. More often there is just a little scrunching of the plastic as a reflex book save is conducted. SOLUTION: Slowly does it – making sure you have a good grip before book leaves shelf entirely. Should scrunching occur, place book on flat surface and de-scrunch (simple enough to do – it’s surprisingly difficult to attempt while holding book in air).

3. Domino Effect. Again, this is largely our fault as we don’t display our books in a traditional format. We often have books stacked and used as bookends or something similar which means when a load-bearing book is removed its load (ie a book or three) may tumble. RESULT: as the name implies, this can damage more than one book. SOLUTION: Again, slowly does it – assess before removing book from shelf entirely.

4. Jumper. Sometimes a book can appear to leap of its own accord but it is generally due to it being placed precariously and gravity doing its thing slowly but surely. RESULT: This usually results in a damaged book – very occasionally it is fatal – as there is no-one to stop/slow its fall. SOLUTION: Take particular care when replacing book on shelf, especially free-standing hardcovers.

Now here’s the important bit. If you happen to participate in a book-dropping incident, try not to feel bad. We see it all the time and do it ourselves. I will not brandish my stick (unless there’s some hurling involved) and we don’t have a ‘you broke it, you bought it’ policy.

Take your time and assess the situation – if there’s no damage and you can replace the book(s) as it was, go for it. But don’t be afraid to bring it to our attention.

Please don’t just chuck the book back on a shelf and scurry ashamedly off – you’re not obliged to buy the book, but maybe you’ll want to anyway. And if you don’t, that’s OK too – we’d prefer to assess the damage and make repairs or alter the price rather than have a book on the shelf that is no longer worth the stated price.