I learned at my recent school book fair that I am a bad book seller. Here are my reasons:
1) I told families not to buy a certain series if they did not care for books like Harry Potter.
2) I told families who weren't sure about a particular book - or its price - to try it from the public library instead.
3) When one father choked on the $30 price tag for Wonderstruck, especially when I explained that one of the two story lines is told completely in gorgeous illustrations (something I thought made the book kind of cool), I told him I was buying a copy for the library, so his daughter would be able to just check it out from there.
4) I could not generate enough enthusiasm about a couple of my preview books to sell any of them. Of the 8 or so that I read and shared with my students, two of them did not click for me. I told my kids about them, but I know my heart wasn't in it. I did sell a couple copies of the picture book anyway, but NOT ONE copy of the chapter book. The sad thing is, the story is fine - just not a great fit personally. Hopefully some kids will discover it on our library shelves and read it anyway.
5) When we had a book in paperback and hardcover, I assumed the buyer wanted the cheaper paperback.
I'm really not sad about my lack of sales skill. I felt like the store manager in the new Miracle on 34th Street when Allison Janney pokes her finger in his chest because Santa is telling parents where to get toys for the best deal. She says the store putting parents ahead of the "almighty-dollar at Christmas time" has made her a Cole's shopper for life. I figure if parents know my goal is more to get kids reading rather than making as much off them as possible, everyone wins.