on Book Riot:
My second job was at a bookstore (my first job was as a dog treat baker, but that’s neither here nor there), and I continued to work in bookstores for more than a decade. I began in a small chain bookstore, and then spent many years in the largest used and new bookstore in Canada. I met my partner there! When I started, I was overwhelmed. There were…so many books. So many systems and things to remember! There were two floors, and you had to go outside to access the other. A street over was another location that felt more like a cave dug into the stone, with books squeezed into every available space, whether that was under shelves, on top of piping, or on the floor.
I would go on to cycle through many roles at that store: downstairs shelver, upstairs cashier, kids’ section shelver. Then I was the head shipper, dealing with online orders in that cave location, listening to audiobooks while packing orders. Eventually, I ascended into the role I loved the most: children’s book expert. Manager of the kids’ section. I priced, shelved, and recommended books. I valued antique picture books. I invented strategies to squirrel away thousands of books we had no space for. I culled the shelves mercilessly and found new ways to convince and trick the owner into letting us get rid of books that weren’t selling. I trained shelvers and lobbied successfully for the teen books to be separated out from middle grade (don’t even get me started). I fielded questions from coworkers on any kids’ book related topic, usually faster than Google could.
I loved that job, if it’s not clear.