As readers, we make a lot of assumptions. We—consciously or unconsciously—judge books by their cover. We look at the enormous 800-page book and think: I’ll never have the time, and quickly slide the book back onto the shelf. We expect that our bestselling book club books are in stock and, of course, that we’ll never lose our Readers’ Club credits. Most importantly, we make assumptions about our booksellers, the folks behind the information desk, the ones answering calls and ringing up purchases.
I want you to take a moment, put down this newsletter, and grab your favorite book. Who designed the cover? If you’re in the 0.001% who knows the designer’s name without looking, you have my utmost admiration. More likely, you never thought to wonder. Now, open your book and find the copyright page—it’s the page you usually skip over with all the juicy details like edition number, publication data, and (bingo!) cover designer’s name. I’ll take this space to give a not-so-subtle shout out to Oliver Munday, the secret mastermind behind Colson Whitehead’s covers.
Covers are the overlooked protagonists of the book industry. Next time you walk through Bookshop and you spot a breathtakingly alluring cover, pick it up and check out the artist. Chances are you may have a favorite cover designer, too.
It’s inevitable that we’ll misplace our Readers’ Club credits, forget the titles of our book club books, and feel intimidated by a high page count. But we know that booksellers will do their best to find us the book we are looking for, even if all we know is that it has a blue cover and is a new release (yes, that happens). They will consult with each other, they will pitch in to help one another figure out which book we want, because at its core, bookselling is a team sport.
It sounds cheesy and lofty, but the way I view the world has changed because of Bookshop Santa Cruz. The indie bookstore is an intellectual fishbowl, with seemingly endless amounts of diverse knowledge and experiences. It’s a space to celebrate our nerdy sides and the curiosities of opening a book. As booksellers, we choose to work at a bookstore because we love books. It’s a magical place. There’s something unparalleled about recommending the perfect read.
I am savoring the last pages of this chapter—my final one working at Bookshop Santa Cruz—and the joy I’ve found through my work as local author coordinator and the other roles I’ve had throughout the store. With gratitude and excitement, I look forward to starting my next chapter as I begin medical school later this summer.
Charlotte has had a variety of roles at Bookshop Santa Cruz, including running the consignment program as local author coordinator, and working as an accounting assistant, supervisor, and bookseller. In her spare time, she enjoys CrossFit, posting on her @charsreads Bookstagram account, cooking from her current favorite cookbook, Run Fast. Eat Slow, and of course, curling up with a good book.