Hello, and welcome to Ask a Bookseller, in which we at Turnaround ask a bunch of questions to various booksellers. Next up we have Celine Debray from the Serendipite bookshop in Lausanne, Switzerland. Pretty exciting to have a bookseller from elsewhere! Also, just look at how beautiful Serendipite is.
What do you get up to during a normal day at work?
Lot of contacts with editors around the world because my bookstore is mainly dedicated to stocking creative and inspiring indie magazines from all regions of the world, and some books as well. I also have to manage deliveries and orders I got from the online shop (from all around the world during the night).
What are you reading right now?
Bitch Magazine (from the US), Ma vie à Paris (Astier de Villatte, a trendy Parisian who owns a small ceramics business), some city guides about Tokyo, where I plan to go in the next year, and some other potential new magazines to select for the bookshop.
Name three books on your reading list?
During holidays (to come very soon), I’ll try to re-read my favourite books again and again such as L’insoutenable légéreté de l’être by Milan Kundera, Ravage by René Barjavel, 1984 by George Orwell, and others that are the classics.
What is the one book you wish you could sell to everyone who walks in your shop?
Not easy, I don’t see because I don’t have such a lot of books, more magazines. But graphic design is always a good idea, so let’s say Entre rouge et blanc, a book by Helvetiq, a very small Swiss edition, which is a curation of Swiss graphic symbols we all know and the best thing is that there is no text, only pictures!
Do you have a favourite publisher? If so, why are they your favourite?
I’ll go for Gestalten because they are in tune with the time and Luster, a smaller one which has a fine selection of interior design books.
What is your current favourite Turnaround book?
What kind of books would you like to see more of, and what kind do you wish publishers would stop publishing?
I would like to see more inspiring books, whatever the topic, with beautiful paper, graphics, illustrations and amazing covers. I disagree with small pocket books which are not beautiful objects at all. I think they could be replaced by digital versions. If there is no real interest in getting a hard copy because of its format, concept, and artistic approach, just forget it and just publish an ebook.
What’s the weirdest book-question you’ve ever been asked by a customer at work?
“Do you write all these books and magazines yourself?”………………………………
And finally… favourite book jacket OF ALL TIME?
Without any doubt Information is Beautiful because I am totally crazy about information and data visualisation.
Because we know you all love a dreamboat of a bookshop, here’s some more photos of the incredible Serendipite:
If you’re ever in Lausanne, be sure to visit!
We are still on the hunt for more booksellers to take part in this feature. So if you are a bookseller who would like to answer some of our questions, please get in touch at email@example.com.