Ordering books in a Ghanaian bookshop

Despite its appearance as a modern bookshop, the Silverbird lifestyle store in the Accra Mall still does many things in what I would call a fairly old fashioned way.  Recently I had asked if they had a particular book in stock, and unfortunately the young man at the counter was not able to get anything near what I wanted.   I couldn’t see how he did his search though, so wasn’t sure whether he was just looking for what was in stock in Accra, or whether he was looking elsewhere.

I knew the particular book I was interested in had been published in South Africa and therefore figured it would be pretty easy to obtain, especially given all the South African connections at Silverbird.  Nevertheless I carefully wrote out all the details of the books I wanted and took the information with me, figuring maybe there was some sort of electronic system that staff would use to enter suggestions.  I guess I should have known better.  I was handed a rather tattered foolscap exercise book in which I was to write the details of the books wanted, plus my own name and phone number.  After I finished I asked the shop assistant what happened next, and she told me it would take time.  And when I pressed her for a timeline, she told me four months!

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.    The environment is definitely quite slick, but it doesn’t obviously go too deep.  I had already wondered why there was a security system, but the security guard sort of manually checked each bag and ticked the receipt, and on at least one occasion I saw him turning off the security gate!  I have also wondered how the choices for stock were made, and also how items are arranged.   Most of the time it is OK, but there are some surprises, and there doesn’t seem to be an awareness that the very bottom shelves are hidden if not fully stocked.

Maybe one day I will meet the actual manager to talk to him/her from the point of view of a book-loving customer.  I do have a few questions to ask, but I guess the person is not on duty on a Saturday morning?   Couldn’t they have something more than just displays?  Maybe some staff picks?  But do the staff actually read the books in stock or listen to the music or watch the DVDs?  And if staff picks are not an option maybe some reader picks?  Or would this be too un-Ghanaian?


7 thoughts on “Ordering books in a Ghanaian bookshop

  1. could you notify me if any bookshop has the 5 series of earths children by Jean M. Auel and how much it cost. Thank you

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review for Accra books and things « Accra books and things

    • May I suggest that you look in a local bookshop, or try one of the institutions that does IT training. They should be able to help

  3. Hi, pls i just go admission into a nursing training college and there is a whole list of books am supposed to buy but i have no idea of where to get them. I was wondering if u could direct me to a book shop where i could get nursing course books, I would really be glad if you could help. thanks. Waiting eagerly…………………….

    • My suggestion is to try EPP books – and do remember that not all branches will have the same books. The ones with the largest stock are probably the one opposite University of Ghana, Legon (in the Legon Mall) or the one at Zenith College (behind the Ghana Trade Fair Centre). Obviously these are in Accra. If you are outside Accra, you could ask at a local branch of EPP if they could check from Accra for you. I hope this helps.

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