Being a Bookseller: What They Don't Tell You!

I have been a bookseller for approximately 3 weeks now, and already it feels like the most perfect job. The book shop is a safe haven for the bookish, and an extremely comfortable work place. I could be there forever.
Yesterday I freaked out a little because I had money in my account – money I'd been paid by Waterstones, for being in that book shop. For helping people find the perfect read, stacking the shelves and arranging the tables as I wished, making orders and checking in deliveries...doing what I love. That was pretty cool. 

I recently participated in the angelic Jasmine's new blog series, Q&A's with booksellers! I was honoured to help out and answer her awesome questions. That was early on in my new life job! 

In the past 3 weeks I have learned a lot. Discovered even more. Here are some of the things nobody tells you about being a least, the things nobody told me...

Shelving is a workout.

Moving stacks of books here and there, shuffling them around and turning the odd one to face out, lifting them from the delivery boxes and planting them wherever they belong – it aches. In a good way. It's like a quick and breezy lifting session. 'Do you even lift, bro? books??'

You get all sorts.

Yesterday I spent 20 minutes checking the balance of about 30 gift cards for one man. I ended up printing each balance out and stapling it to the gift card envelopes he'd brought along. Each gift card had approximately 38p on it. Except one, which had £4.03. Madness.
I have also, in the past week maybe, served lots of international students all of whom are aged around 13/14 and in dire need of YA, of course. I've talked them through every other book in that section and they've then bought 3 each.
At the moment a lot of parents and kids are coming in to buy GCSE study guides, or set A Level texts (all seem mega boring and British, sorry students of today! Bring back the Angela Carter and the poorly translated poetry!). I am so happy that part of my life is over...but I also miss it somewhat.

The alphabet song is always in your head.

I have actually caught myself stacking kids' books and quietly mutter-singing 'Ay bee cee dee eee eff gee...' Bloody alphabet. I sometimes wonder if the books would look better, and be easier to unload, if shelved according to colour or subject matter...

You call the shots.

You wanna rec that book? Face it out, write a little review? Go ahead. You think that one deserves a table, while that one needs to be hidden amongst the dregs on the shelf? Shoot.

In related news, yesterday the gorgeous 'Songs About A Girl' came in. The first copy. Ahead of the release next week. I freaked out and shelved it so fast, rec'd it so hard. (Read my thoughts on that beauty HERE). 

Being given access to a computer system that orders books in is dangerous.

Simple as. Same with the store email address with which I can demand proofs from every possible publisher. *head explodes*

Sometimes, people are idiots.

Oh no wait, I already knew this after working in customer service jobs for the past few years of my life. Hahahahahahahahahaaaha. 

That's all I got so far! I'm sure I still have a lot to learn, and I am excited to do so. Life as a bookseller is treating me well, and long may that continue! 

Follow me on Twitter @GracieActually AND my store on Twitter @wstoneshastings, because that's basically me being slightly more professional...maybe. 


  1. Your new job is cool! I would be uncontrollable if I was ordering in new books for a store. Fair to say I'm really envious!

    Jemima x

  2. I am totally coming to see you next time I'm in town... I was in there yesterday actually, not realising you worked there! Looking up the blurb on The Muse... X

  3. Literally dream day! *gets on knees and prays*

    I'm so glad all is going well Grace, I'll have to pop in one day! :) xoxox

  4. I worked as a Waterstones bookseller for 5 years (I've now left to train as a primary teacher). It's a great job! You do get to meet a variety of people ... just watch out for the ones who assume you're an encyclopedia ("but you work in a book shop, you MUST know!").

    Have fun at your new job!

    Dani :)
    Pen to Paper Blog


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