Monday, November 21, 2011

Do You Work In A Bookstore? I Need Your Opinions!

I don't think it comes as a shock, considering what this blog is and all, that I have this dream of working in a bookstore. I am not looking through rose colored glasses though. I am aware that there's still customer service, and let's face it, there are times when customers just suck. I've worked retail for 7 years, I am well educated in the stupidity and meanness of people.

Right now I'm working as a pharmacy technician. When I first started out, I enjoyed my job to some degree. As time has gone on, I began to dread going into work. Since last year, I was required by state law to become certified by taking a test about pharmacy. I took the test in 2010 and passed. Unfortunately, you have to re-certify every 2 years. This means I have to do 20 credit hours of pharmacy tech reading/quizzes before my certification expires (late 2012) to stay working as a pharmacy tech. If it expires before I get the credit hours in, I can still get the rest of the credit hours in within one year after expiration, BUT I wouldn't be able to work in a pharmacy until I re-certify.

Now that I've completely confused you...

Here's my problem... I don't want to work in pharmacy anymore. I've reached the point where the thought of doing this job for the rest of my life gives me nightmares. One of the reasons why I'm still there is because I'm not sure where else I can go. My only marketable skill is that I can run a register. And stock shelves. And answer phones. The only job that sounds relatively good to me right now is a bookstore. The only one closest to me is a Barnes & Noble.

So! Here's where you come in. If you have ever worked in a bookstore or are currently working in a bookstore, I want you to tell me about it. Tell me the pros and cons. Tell me the good parts and the bad parts. If you work for Barnes & Noble, tell me about the place and how it runs. I just want to have an idea of how it is to work somewhere other than a pharmacy, because I honestly don't know. I'm sure all retail has the same feel, but part of me wants to believe that a bookstore would be less stress. And let me tell ya, I need me some less stress!

This whole possibility of working in a bookstore is up in the air though. I plan on staying in pharmacy as long as I have to, which will most likely be next fall (since that's when my certification expires). I just need to start weighing out options now.

Thanks in advance for any and all the advice and information! <3



  1. I've never worked at a book store so no advice there but I know what it's like to HATE your job and have nightmares about it. Not fun! Good luck.

    I've always wanted to work at a book store but maybe a smaller one that isn't a chain...unfortunately I don't have any around but B&N.

  2. I worked in a Books-a-Million for 3 years, 2 of which I was a manager. Having retail experience is definitely a plus, since you will likely be dealing with the customers more than the books, especially starting out. In my experience at Books-a-Million, the pay kinda sucked until I got into management. Oh yea, and there is zero time to read on the job, but you'll obviously be better at it if you are familiar with the products. Different stores in the company place different levels of priority on keeping the store in the right shape, not all stores seem to care about keeping books in the right place, or stocking in a timely manner, etc. My favorite part was always playing with the books, and my least favorite was dealing with the customers. I never realized how many stupid people there are in the world until I started working in a bookstore. Expect lots of questions like this:
    "I'm looking for a book, I think it's red... or maybe greenish, and it was on that t.v. show the other day. No, I don't know the author or title. Can you at least order it? Well, I'll just go to (insert competitor store name), I'm sure they can get it for me!"
    Stoopid people.
    Oh yea, and it's all about the discount card / credit card. You have to sell a certain number of these buggers, learn the pitch, etc. The holiday season is the worst, especially with the Christmas music on repeat in the background. If you can get a management position, do it. It was the best thing I did.
    I have tons of stories, and yes, I really did love my job, I just had to leave it because I moved. If you want more, feel free to shoot me an email.

    hopester777 at gmail dot com

  3. I've been trying to get a job at a bookstore for a long time now. Most of the time it's not good timing and I end up applying when they aren't even hiring. The one time I had an interview at B&N, they ended up hiring someone else who had slightly more experience as a manager.

    A couple weeks ago I applied again because I need a second job, but B&N called me not for a position as a cashier/bookseller, but to work in the Starbucks. I did not even apply to work in the cafe! I know nothing about making coffees and I have no real desire to learn, since I don't even like coffee myself.

    Rachel's experience sounds a lot like my experience working at Hollywood Video. Lots and LOTS of dumb questions. haha but sometimes the stupid people moments make the shift a little more long as they aren't one right after the other. :P

    The one thing I hate about any retail job is "active selling." I'm not good at being the pushy salesgirl they sometimes want you to be! I used to say I would be glad to get out of retail, but now that I am a phone-based customer service rep, and have had other kinds of jobs too, I figure most jobs have the same basic pros and cons, and it's just the specifics of the circumstances that change.

    I hope you can find a bookstore job! I will be so jealous if you do, though, haha. :P

  4. Jenny: A non-chain store would be great. Although, my pharmacy is a non-chain store, and a lot of customers come in and act like their entitled because they've "known the owner for thirty years". I have to say though, I did work for Rite Aid, and chain stores do suck. Lol.

    Rachel: That's good to keep in mind about management because I'm a manager too, that might be a plus for me. I do like the idea of becoming familiar with books more. Oh man! I think I read about those questions on another blog post once. I am SO not surprised. I'd rather deal with those than questions about insurances. Oh yeah... those discount cards, fun fun! I may take you up on emailing at some point when it becomes more of a definite possibility. Thanks a bunch for the info!

    Colleen: Ugh! Starbucks! I hate coffee too, so I would be so mad if they did that to me. Sometimes stupid customers do make things interesting, definitely if there aren't too many at once. "Active selling", that's not something I like. I always felt uncomfortable asking people to donate a dollar to a charity whenever it's one of those donation times. Thanks for the info!

  5. Look take my advice, don't work for Barnes & Noble. You will regret it and end up hating books, customers, and management. It's an awlful place to work. Trust me!

    1. Thankfully I never ended up there! I almost did this last summer but it seemed like management had no idea how to handle the hiring process. Glad to know though because I've still considered it. :) Thanks!


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