None is the loneliest number

When my first book, “The Moneyspinners,” came out 25 years ago, my publisher, Doug Gibson, offered some savvy advice. Never go into a bookstore looking for your book, he said. It might not be there. And if you do go in, he said, don’t ask any of the sales staff about it. They’ll say they’ve never heard of it. Over the years, my books have done well, and I have pretty much followed his guidance.

Until today. I happened to be walking past Indigo’s Bay and Bloor location in the Manulife Centre. I thought, I’ll just take a peek at how the book is being displayed. Funny, it wasn’t in the New Non-Fiction section just inside the door where a best-seller should be. Nor was it anywhere obvious in the business section, so I asked a sales associate, “Where’s BlackBerry?”

“I’m sorry, we don’t have any,” he said. At which point, he recognized me as the author and added, “And that’s good news.” I thought, “Oh yeah?” Turned out that four days earlier the store had 70 copies and they’d all sold. Store employees can’t do anything on their own until the number of copies hits zero, which it did on Monday.

“I micromanage my stock,” said Guy. “Yesterday we called nearby stores and rounded up more copies on an emergency basis. They’re on the way.”

Turns out I was in good company. With the success of the latest book by Michael Lewis, “The Big Short,” sales of his first book, “Liar’s Poker,” have taken off again. The store only had three copies left of that earlier work.

Guy called me 90 minutes later to say that 13 copies of “BlackBerry” had arrived and more were coming. As a result, it’s safe to go back into the store again. But I won’t. Now I have two reasons to stay away: Doug Gibson’s counsel and Guy’s professionalism.

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