I have been doing a whole lot of thinking about book stores and my job recently. It’s no secret that for the most part I loved my old job. I love kids books and books in general and I loved the people I worked with. In all my working life I have never worked with a bunch of people who I got along so well with. In some ways we were like family. Now though I am struggling and all that’s changed is the store I work in. Oh and of course the size. But that single change in actuality is a huge thing. The atmosphere is so different. It is stifling and so very conservative. Everything from the attitude to customers and the business to the damn muszak that is played repeatedly everyday.

This combined with losing out on another job have given me cause to think about a few things.

One thing I know is that I still love books, that is never likely to change. I really am starting to believe that bookstores need to change. I know so many people who don’t buy their books from bookstores for various reasons. For me though part of what I think the problem is, is that book stores seem to be stuck in the past. They seem determined to not to embrace the present and the future. Specialty stores work well because they have a hook, but stores that have a ‘shhh we’re a book store, be careful, be quite and move on’ attitude are really going to have to think it through.

The other thing is as a specialist my work is happy to take advantage of the huge number of hours I put in building up my product knowledge and I’m happy to share my knowledge with the customers but I have to admit, a bit selfishly I’m sure, that I object to them expecting me to provide for them answers to a large number of customer questions for when I’m not there. I don’t get paid for my extra hours and I don’t get paid for training up the other staff. When I made a comment about it I was told it wasn’t about me but the business. Hmmm.

For me it is about me and looking after my family. There is no way I am going to put someone else’s business above my family.

I love books but unless the industry is willing to make some drastic changes…