An interview with Andi Richardson of Fountain Bookstore

What’s your favorite area of your bookstore?

Staff Picks! We all have such diverse (and excellent, of course) taste, you can find something for everyone there. It also changes constantly so there’s always something new. Mystery and YA are up there as well though.

What’s the coolest book cover that you like to have facing out on the shelves?

I’m a sucker for a great cover! Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, even though it scares some of my coworkers. It also makes a great pop socket! In non-terrifying covers, The One True Me and You by Remi K. England is gorgeous. Both books are also great!

If you had a staff pick for a recent new release, what would it be? Backlist pick?

We are events-focused so we have mainly books from the last couple of years on hand and don’t do a ton of backlist but I can say that I never tire of recommending Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby, Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore, or anything by Mindy McGinnis (but particularly her Poe inspired duology of The Initial Insult and The Last Laugh).

Do you have a strange customer story?

Thankfully our customers are generally amazing, but we did just have someone step outside of an event to be sick on our sidewalk, then come back in and sit down without saying a word.

What author have you been starstruck to meet, or have you gotten to host a fun virtual event?

Authors are all rock stars to me, so I geek out about pretty much everyone but my interviews with Joe Kenda and Norman Reedus had me nervous! I am also a longtime fan of Chevy Stevens and was so happy to discover that she is a delight to talk to. I also moderated a panel with Alyssa Cole and had to work very hard to keep from fangirling over her! Oh, and Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. Did I mention I love them all?

What are some misconceptions people have about working in a bookstore?

I’m sure everyone has the same answer – that we just read all day long! There’s no time to read – there are books to check in and put away, reviews to write, orders to ship, events to plan – it’s a great job but it’s a lot of physical and mental work.

What is your least favorite bookstore task? Favorite part about working in a bookstore?

Least favorite has to be dealing with the people that don’t understand why our pricing is higher than a certain online retailer – and want to argue about it. We’re also a pretty small store so finding room to put things is a challenge I struggle with. My favorite part by far is the community of people that books create! Fountain has been around almost as long as I’ve been alive and I am so proud to be part of its life and family. Book people are the very best people.

Can you recommend an underrated readalike book for one of the store’s top titles?

If someone liked Colleen Hoover’s Verity, I give them When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole. It has a twist you won’t see coming, social commentary, and spicy bits that are just perfection to me. To be fair, When No One is Watching is probably my most handsold book ever so I’ll find a way to recommend it to you no matter what.

Andi Richardson is the general manager at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA.