What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone say that they are a bookseller? Must be a dream job, all those books and the possibility to read a better part of the day. The reality looks a bit different and I’m going to take the chance of this #blogtober prompt to talk about a day at work and give you some insights to my job as a bookseller. 🙂
There’s different departments in a bookshop. On one hand there’s the booksellers, then we have cashiers and one of the most important jobs would be behind the scenes. My colleagues in the receiving goods department. They’re there at 7 AM to start unpacking the towers of book boxes we receive every day except for Saturday. Books have to be entered into the system and divided into customers’ orders and books for the shop. Here books are also packed and shipped out to customers. I say this is one of the most important departments because you have to work with absolute precision so nothing gets mixed up. Almost every apprentice starts here to see how books arrive, learn how the computer system works and get a feeling for which books belong in which section.
I did my fair share of unpacking at the beginning but now I’m ‘just’ a bookseller. I arrive around a quarter of an hour before we open and start hauling the boxes with the books for my section up from the receiving department. Before I go to shelving them I check my section’s mails and see if my colleagues left me any notes from the day before. And from then on it’s basically just shelving and customer service.
But when does she read??
I mostly read on during my commute to work and sometimes at home in the evening but I’ll be honest. Ever since I started working as a bookseller I’m not as often in the mood to read as I used to. Think about it: I’m surrounded by books, authors, words and language all day long. Reading is my hobby but books are my job and the lines blur. I started making my hobby my job and I lost some passion for it over the years. I still love books and I still love reading but most evenings I watch Netflix or something because I can’t bring myself to read.
Reading at work? Yeah, no. Reading is not part of the job and my boss doesn’t like it when employees read at work. Obviously, I mean, we should work, not read. Not that I’d have the time to read more than a few blurbs at work 😀 Reading is not a requirement for a bookseller but the more you read the easier your job becomes.
If she doesn’t read, then what does she do all day long??
- Shelve books
- Recommend books to customers and place orders
- Answer the phone
- Answer mails
- Check the shelves for books that have been standing for too long and can be returned to the publishers
- Bathroom break!
- Pack boxes to be sent back to the publisher
- Prepare so-called A Blind Date With A Book
- Clean the shelves and rearrange the displays
- Check which books have been sold that day and place orders
- Help out at the register in a tight spot
- Research books that are quite impossible to find (that’s always fun)
- Fix an e-reader
- Clean the coffee-maker
And another day at work went by in no-time. I don’t do all of these things every day because often there is not enough time so I have to prioritise. Customers and their inquiries always come first, though.
Being a bookseller is fun! I love my job even though I start to get weary of being in customer service 40 hrs per week. I love books and I love to talk about them, recommend my favourites and find the perfect book for a customer. Knowing that they are happy with whatever I picked for them, that’s a good feeling right there 🙂
At the moment I’m looking forward to a longer week-end and I know I’ll read more when I don’t have to work. So I have a reading week-end ahead of me. Hell yeah!