‘Oh! It must be so lovely working in a bookshop. You get to sit around all day and read books.’ Last month I discussed some (yes, only some) of the myths vs realities of owning a second hand bookshop. So today I’m going to talk about a few of the perks of working in a bookshop that people may or may not be aware of.
If you are working in the right shop (looking at you Readings), your coworkers are some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. Talented, smart, supportive, these people still support me from interstate on a regular basis and I am eternally grateful for my current coworkers at Dog Eared Books. I wouldn’t be able to run the shop without them.
Like minded people come in all the time and being a true book lover can transcends age, gender or cultural differences. I’ve made some truly fabulous friends through people regularly visiting to the bookshops I’ve worked in. The same cannot be said of various other retail environments unfortunately.
When you’re feeling a bit tired and frazzled, allowing your eyes to rest by looking at a beautiful book can recharge your battery in a strange sort of way. Although this is of course peculiar to booklovers, I know there are many books with all sorts dramatic, inspiring, delightful, arty or colourful covers that appeal to different personalities.
As you are reading all the time, chatting to your amazing coworkers who read different and interesting books you are always picking up weird little tidbits of information. I know various coworkers who regularly clean up at the local pub quiz nights. I walked into a bookshop a few months ago with friends and almost every single book they picked up I had an odd little fact about the book, the author, the cover or the time in which it was published. So much so, that they started picking up random books to test me. All of them were very impressed with my knowledge, but if I’m going to be honest, it’s fairly normal from my point of view from my years of working at independent bookshops.
So for those of you who want to work in a bookshop, yes there are amazing perks but it’s a lot of hard work physically. Think of the last time you moved house, that’s basically what booksellers do all day. Moving books from one end of the shop to the other. However this does mean that you get strangely fit and muscular, if you do it properly!
This shouldn’t surprise anyone as a perk of working in a bookshop. Whether it’s a new bookshop or second hand, there is an endless supply of books available to you. As discussed in a previous post, they’re not always the books you actually want to read but I’ve discovered some gems of books through saving them from the bin and giving them a go. I managed to read ‘The Hunger Games’ before it came out in a dog-eared reading copy and loved it. ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece’ by Annabel Pitcher I picked up purely for the title and was the one book that made me cry that year.