Our team was able to interview a bookstore manager at a local San Diego bookstore. We spoke with Maria at Borders in Carmel Mountain.
1) Can you explain the job of bookstore manager? What are the responsibilities?
There are actually five
managers at this particular store and each has a different job.
I am the Human Resources Manager and I am responsible for making the
employee work schedule, helping them with benefits such as medical coverage,
etc., and handling employee matters.
2) Do you like your job? What do you like best? What do you like least?
I’ve been here for four years. The
thing I like best is being around books and music … it’s like my own
library! The thing I like least is
picking up after the customers.
3) How do you choose what books to stock in your store?
Borders, the company, sends us a basic inventory to stock. In addition, we choose books based on demand, what’s new, and sometimes teacher requests. For example, if we know that a certain topic is going to be studied in many of the area schools, we’ll stock up on books dealing with that subject.
4) How many copies of each book do you stock?
That depends on the popularity of the book. We may have only one copy of books that are not too popular, but many copies of the more popular books. For example, we had over 400 copies of Harry Potter on the first day!
5) How do you attract customers to your store?
many different types of events. We
have children’s events (magicians, storytellers), and also music events (small
bands and individual performers). We
also attract customers through our website Borders.com.
6) What are the most popular selling books for adults? For children?
most popular books for adults are anything written by or about Oprah.
The most popular children’s books are the Harry Potter books.
7) How do you decide what books to promote?
we can promote books based on our own personal preference.
These are called “Staff Selections” and we can discount or highlight
books that we personally enjoy and think others might also enjoy.
Most of the time, Borders, the company, gets money from publishers who
wish for us to promote specific books.
8) How do you promote or publicize books?
displaying them around the store
9) Do you ever have authors visit the store to sign books?
Yes. As a matter of fact, we just had an author visit us yesterday to announce the winners of a local writing contest and to sign books. Also, when authors visit some of the area schools, they make the bookstores their “last stop” and sign books. When Tedd Arnold visited Canyon View, and other area schools, he also came to Borders to visit and sign books.
10) Do you sell anything else besides books?
Yes. We sell music, videos, magazines and periodicals, newspapers, cards and stationery, calendars, coffee and other beverages, pastries, candy, and gift certificates.
11) How quickly can you order books that are not in stock?
If I can
place a call to the publisher on Monday morning by 10:00 a.m., and they have it
available, then I can have the book the following day.
That is the absolute fastest time in which I can place and receive a book
order. Typical delivery times for
special orders are about one week.
12) Do you deal with all publishing houses, or only certain ones?
Most of the major ones. There are many small publishers and I’m not certain how many we deal with.