Shelf Talking -- Know Your Book Sense Coordinators

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Ruminator Books, the venerable St. Paul bookstore, now with a Minneapolis location as well, was an original participant in the Book Sense program. It also signed on to when that became an option.

Owner Dave Unowsky is committed to the theory and practice of combining forces with booksellers around the country through Book Sense. That is why he and the Ruminator staff of two dozen full-time booksellers believed it was critical to have a person assigned to all things related to Book Sense. When Nathan Cueller, Minnesota native and recent graduate of Bethel College in St. Paul, was hired at Ruminator two years ago, he was designated as the Book Sense Coordinator, among his other responsibilities.

Unowsky told BTW that "if we were going to make sure our Book Sense books are always on display and that we would stay on top of the 76 lists, we were going to need a coordinator. Book Sense is important, [the display] is one of the first things you see as you enter the store. Someone has to be responsible for that."

Cueller handles the Book Sense displays, and his responsibilities include maintaining supplies of 76 flyers, gift certificates, and promptly ordering adequate supplies of all 76 books. Cueller noted that he works to "know exactly what’s out and what is coming."

The monthly white boxes are unpacked by Cueller, who can show the galleys around, set up displays and shelf-talkers and, he said, "always find something interesting to use." Cueller spends one day a week at the Ruminator store in Minneapolis, where he also supervises all Book Sense displays. Cueller thoroughly enjoys the "bookstore culture" and sees books playing a major role in his future.

As Book Sense coordinator, an assignment he enjoys, Cueller also devotes as much time as needed to "read Carl Lennertz’s e-mails -- he sends out quite a few." -- Nomi Schwartz