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A Day in the Life of a Bookstore
I have had the privilege of working at Paperbacks Unlimited for almost 46 years.  You might think that after all that time, going to work might seem mundane or boring. After all, I am a Gemini who craves new experiences and  can feel suffocated by too much repetition and routine.  Far from it!  I still am happy and excited every day I head to the bookstore.  I do love to travel and went on five trips last year.  I think traveling helps make you appreciate your normal life so much more when you return.  It also doesn't hurt when you have a great staff and wonderful customers who have been bookstore regulars for years.  A customer was in the other day and asked if a picture we have posted was my daughter, Heather.  I said it was and she told the employee who was ringing up her purchase that she remembered when Heather was in a playpen in the bookstore.  Another fun thing is that Heather's son, Drake 14, is going to start working in the bookstore this summer.  3rd generation!   
When I was explaining to Drake all the different tasks that were expected of him and the other employees, I thought that it might be interesting for others to find out about what a day in the bookstore is like.  I have had several people tell me that it must be great working at a bookstore because you get to sit around all day and read.  Not true!  If that were true, we would have gone out of business decades ago. I never run out of things to do and am on my feet all day.
The basics of a day at the bookstore consist of:
1. Calculating the credit when customers trade in books.  This is actually the hardest  part of the job.  We try to take as many of a customer's trade-ins as possible, but some do have to be rejected because of lack of shelf space.  It takes a lot of knowledge to determine what should be taken and what not.  There is really not a market for much of the older popular fiction but we definitely want old books by Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, etc... After the credit is done the books are then sorted into categories and alphabetized.

2. Stocking the books that have come in is the next step in the process. We are committed to making sure our sections are in alphabetical order by author and then by title & stocking tends to take up most of our time.
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3. Helping  customers on the floor, by showing them where a certain book is located or investigating to dig up more information for them, is another very important part of our jobs.  We always try to show customers exactly where the book they want is located unless it is impossibly busy.  (That doesn't happen as often as it used to, unfortunately.) One common question from customers is - "What is the first book in the series."  If we don't know, we turn to Fantastic Fiction or the Stop You’re Killing Me websites, which are fabulous resources.  We are willing to give the customer a print out, listing the order of all the books in the series that they are interested in.
4. Assisting customers at the front desk.  When a customer comes up to check out, our first question is always - did you trade in any books?  We want to make sure they take advantage of their credit, which takes up to 50 percent off the price of our half price books.  Sometimes we ask if they found everything they were looking for.  Often, when they mention a book on their list they couldn't find, we are able to search our back stock and come up with a copy for them.  We try to keep at least two copies of any book we have on our shelves.  Occasionally, such as when a book club is reading a book, we will not be aware that both copies have sold.  If a customer asks if we have a copy, we frequently find one in the back for them and a couple more to move from the back stock to the public shelves.  So, please ask!
That is a brief description of what a day in the life of a bookstore looks like.  It may not seem exciting, but it is to me.  I swear to you that after all the years I have spent in the bookstore, a day doesn't go by that I don't see a book that I have never seen before and that a book doesn't come in that I can't resist taking it home with me.  As my coffee cup says, "So many books, so little time."

Jill B.

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Copyright © 2018 Paperbacks Unlimited, Inc., All rights reserved.

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