Living With A Book Addict: A Bookseller

Kim at the bookstore

Kim at the bookstore

In this, the latest installment of the Living With a Book Addict series, I’m going to chronicle the recent development that has happened with our favorite book addict: she got a new job!  Now, along with the titles of blogger and book addict, we can add bookseller.  Kim recently started working at a book store and has happily immersed herself in the world of book selling for several months now.  It’s safe to say that she has taken her love of books and reading to a new, professional level, and I get to offer my insight (as always) on the changes that have taken place since this new opportunity!

First and foremost, I’m happy that she gets to do something that she is truly passionate about when she goes to work.  Many times she’s come home and happily told me about the people she’s turned on to new series and authors, and there was even one special time when she convinced a young girl to read Pride and Prejudice.  As you can imagine, there is no shortage of recommendations that she offers, and I think it’s great that she gets to interact with so many others who are interested in reading.  Even now as I write this, she’s telling me about another customer who came back into the store and thanked her for recommending a series that he ended up really enjoying.  It’s been awesome to see the impact that a fulfilling job has had in increasing her overall drive and motivation to go to work.

Secondly, how about those discounts?  Now, if I ever need to buy a book, I can look forward to a sweet discount!  I’m kidding, although the discount is neat, what’s more interesting to me is hearing about a whole new industry that I know basically nothing about.  After Kim comes home from work she tells me all about how the store operates and how certain books are destined to appear on certain shelves, etc.  I think it’s quite interesting, and between those stories and some interesting stories about the general public (anyone who has worked in retail knows how “unique” some of the general public can be at times), there’s always something new to talk about.  This new job has been a great source of new stories and new friends, and I imagine that there is much more in store for the future.

Finally, I’m just happy that our favorite book addict has been able to surround herself with her passion, making her happy.  I know it sounds self-explanatory, but after all the hectic adventures we’ve had due to my job, I’m glad to see her just as vibrant and motivated as she was before all of this happened.  The ability to bring her love of books to others is worth more than the money she gets to make as a bookseller, and knowing that makes both of us happy.

So, next time you enter your local bookstore, take a look around at the employees and see if there’s an extra spring in their step.  If so, perhaps they too have the same passion for books and want to share it with others.  Make sure you say hello!

Observations by Jess: Standing Room Only

EKTORP Chair, Idemo black Width: 41 3/8 " Depth: 35 3/8 " Height: 34 5/8 " Seat width: 22 1/2 " Seat depth: 19 5/8 " Seat height: 17 3/4 "  Width: 105 cm Depth: 90 cm Height: 88 cm Seat width: 57 cm Seat depth: 50 cm Seat height: 45 cm  Anyone who has read some of my previous posts knows about my love of bookstores and that I have a very nostalgic and intimate relationship with their smells of coffee and brand new books! For anyone who shares my sentiments, I think we can all agree that something strange has been happening at our local book browsing havens. No, I’m not talking about that random polka track that is in heavy rotation on the B&N radio station,  but I have noticed a lot more people sitting on the ground amongst the shelves and in the aisles. Why, you might ask? Well for starters, there is nowhere to sit!

Apparently Barnes and Noble has become a standing room only kind of place…just like a crowded bar on game night. You find yourself balancing books and coffee instead of beer as you bobble from foot to foot trying to read the introduction of a book you MIGHT have wanted to buy if you hadn’t just spilled coffee down your shirt due to a circus-type balancing act.

This may be a little dramatic (or rather just a real life account of my formerly new shirt), but I must say it used to be nice to be able to put my purse, coffee, and other reading selections down for a moment to take a look and see what kinds of books I picked up. I am not one of those people who is going to occupy the seat for hours on end…make a few phone calls…write some Christmas cards…and eat my lunch in a retail store, but it would be nice to take a load off and enjoy being there.

After the whole hypothetical/not-so-hypothetical coffee spilling incident, I took to the web to see what people were saying about the mysterious disappearance of the Barnes and Noble “Comfy Chair,” or even those hard as rocks wooden ones. The most compelling argument I found against the chairs was on a message board posted by a B&N employee. The employee recounted several instances of people sleeping in the chairs, teenagers getting it on in the chairs, eating five course meals in the chairs, leaving crumbs in the chairs, and reading full novels in the chairs. These are serious problems for any store because when it comes down to it, it is a place of business, not a public library or park. When I worked in retail, reading an entire magazine then returning it to the shelf without paying for it would be considered stealing. I find that I couldn’t agree more!

It seems that just like most things in life, a couple bad apples spoiled the whole bunch. Or perhaps in this case, a couple bad book-worms spoiled the apple? Either way, it’s sad that those who just want to browse and enjoy a relaxing hour in the bookstore are either confined to the cold, hard chairs in the coffee shop or to a lone, crowded bench that resembles a city bus stop in a rain storm.  

At the risk of sounding like an old, cranky lady, it’s disheartening to discover that my fellow bookstore geeks are sometimes so socially irresponsible that a company which generally welcomes the occasional loiterer like myself has had to go to such extremes as to remove chairs from their establishment. I guess I could always sit on the floor…but at the risk of getting kicked in the head…I might just resort to bringing one of those folding beach chairs next time I go.

Check This Out – The Strand Book Store

Hi everyone and welcome to my first “check this out”!  As this is a book blog, I figured what better to talk about than a semi-local mecca for book enthusiasts in the biggest city in the US.  The Strand Book Store has over 18 miles of New, Used, and Rare books!  It is always packed to the walls with bibliophiles and tourists alike, and carries an amazing selection of books and cool “The Strand” memorabilia.  Check out their events page for upcoming events at the store such as signings and author presentations.  Most of all, stop by and check it out in person.  It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Switching to the “dark side”

Seems to me, the one thing us book lovers love just as much as the actual books is the place in which we experience them for the first time. About a month ago, I guest blogged with a piece about my undying love for bookstores. (You can read my post here)  Since then, I have noticed that almost every guest blogger on this site, as well as the literary genius, book reading priestess Kim herself, has mentioned or written on the calming, inclusive, and warm feeling we all get some going to the bookstore. That being said…I am going to reveal a SHOCKING revelation…I got a NOOK!

Yes, me, the girl who loves to wander around the store aimlessly and hum along to bookstore music has purchased a device that puts a chasm between me and my love ! How did such a thing happen you may ask? Well, I started thinking forward. I started thinking differently.

When I first heard about e-readers, I was really, and truly against the idea. What’s wrong with a book? Was there a particular portability issue with a soft cover? How could anyone truly enjoy reading a book when they can’t enjoy the simple accomplishment of turning a physical page? I really thought about that for a long time. Then I realized that the Nook as well as other e-readers such as the Kindle are made for people like me…the avid book enthusiast. I’ll be honest, it took a while for me to evolve my thinking to the point t hat I actually own one and have officially finished my first downloaded book, but I think there is a little more merit in the idea than one would think.

I like the idea of having the bookstore at my fingertips. While I love sitting in the leather chairs or in the aisles of the Barnes and Noble…I also enjoy laying in my bed or sitting on my couch and browsing the entire library on my little e-reader. Just as I do in the store, I choose some books at random and others at suggestion. I read the back of the book and take a peak inside. Then, without having to stand in line and being tempted by the little chocolate balls at the checkout counter, I purchase my book and get reading without even having to wait the extra half hour to drive home first. I still get to turn the pages, but instead of feeling the pages fill heavier from right to left, I watch the little bar at the bottom of my text to tell me how far along I am. Reading my first book on my Nook was actually very pleasant. In fact, this is my official declaration of my acceptance of the e-reader!

Don’t get me wrong, I will still frequent the book store and will always continue to buy physical books. There is nothing like turning an actual page, and displaying finished books on the shelf, but I do believe that the e-readers bring a great deal of convenience to those of use who enjoy diving in to a good read at any time. While I may have crossed over to what some reading naturalists feel is the “dark side” of the literary world, I do make this promise….I will always make time to visit my favorite book store and pick up a good read. Sometimes, you just have to mix it up!

My “Tiffany’s”….

“What I’ve found does the most good is just get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets” – Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Every once in a while a quote from a book will just strike me with extreme poignancy.  The above quote started making me think about what my Tiffany’s is.

When I began having this discussion with Todd and Adam they immediately guessed what my Tiffany’s was….a bookstore!  No matter what kind of mood I’m in, heading to a bookstore immediately calms me.  The soft lighting, the sounds and scents from the Starbucks, the colors of the book covers, the comfy arm chairs; it all has such a soothing effect on me.   

As Todd has said in some of his “Living with a Book Addict” posts, I sometimes come home from work sheepishly carrying in a bag from Barnes and Noble.  (This is usually indicative of me having had a rough day at work) After work I head over to the Barnes and Noble near my job, grab a chai tea from the Starbucks and go roam around for a while.  I pick up a few books and find a nice comfy chair to plop down in and let my stress ease away. 

The other fabulous thing about Barnes and Noble (and bookstores in general) are the people who frequent them.  There are those who have no problems coming up to you to give their opinion on a book that you’re holding and others who find you searching for books and ask if you need a recommendation.  These people add to my bookstore experience and make it that much better.

It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing that I have a place to go to when things get rough, or I just need a pick-me-up.  As always I’m interested in knowing my readers thoughts.  I’ve asked some friends to write me their own “Tiffany’s” pieces and I’ll be posting them in the coming weeks.  Please feel free to leave your comments on your own special “Tiffany’s” location as well.