I’ve been really busy over the past two months because I was employed as a temporary bookseller for the Christmas period. I really enjoyed it, although it was difficult at times. Sometimes people come up to the till and just say, ‘I’m looking for a book, but I don’t know the name of it or who the author is. It has a yellow cover, though.’ I always tried my best to find what everybody was looking for but it’s easier in some cases than others! Luckily the other booksellers were lovely and always there to help out when I got stuck so (hopefully) most of the customers left happy.
Working in a bookshop was more physically demanding than I first imagined. Each day we had massive deliveries and then we had to get all the crates of books and related products up to the shop floor, then price them and shelve them. Most of my time was spent either carrying huge piles of books around while trying to find the right place to shelve them, answering customer queries or manning the tills. A lot of these activities overlapped so I could be carrying a pile of books and get asked by a customer to find a book for them at the same time. Or I could be carrying the pile of books and then the bell at the tills would go, which meant there was a queue, so I would put my pile beneath the till while I served people and then when it quietened down I could pick the pile up again and finish shelving.
My favourite part of the job was when people bought books I adore because then I could rave about them for a good five minutes to someone who cared. I also loved giving book recommendations to people. I sold a fair few copies of Throne of Glass, Clockwork Angel and Stormbreaker when people were asking for book recs for their nieces and nephews, etc.
One of the most interesting parts of the job was seeing which books made the store’s bestsellers list. Some books surprised me with how well they sold whilst others were predictably high sellers, like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and Girl Online. There were a few books that sold out really quickly because they were advertised on TV during morning news programmes. Sometimes the store was already on top of what would be popular before the advertisements so we already had the books in bulk, but for other books the advertising came as a surprise so we didn’t immediately have enough copies to meet demand. I loved seeing this side of the book industry first hand.
The best perk of the job was the 50% discount I got on everything in the store (apart from e-readers). Suffice to say I put a lot of my wages back into the shop’s tills. My hoard of books and I rather resemble Smaug and his treasures which is exactly why I purchased a fancy edition of The Hobbit with my discount, it pretty much sums it all up for me. Some of the other books I purchased include all of the Raven Cycle books released so far (I recently finished The Raven Boys and I ADORED it, Noah FTW), Siege and Storm and The Name of the Wind among many, many others.
Overall I had an awful lot of fun, met some truly lovely people and learned a lot about the book industry and how bookshops are run. I am very thankful that I was given the opportunity to be a bookseller, even if it was only temporary.