Happy Independent Bookstore Day! Remember to visit your favorite indie bookshop today. We are celebrating with bookstore memories from our staff.
David LePere, Sales Representative:
Great bookstores are transformative places, and I was fortunate enough to work in a wonderful independent bookstore in Harvard Square for about 12 years—WordsWorth Books. This was in the 80s when I was young and absolutely dedicated to books and book-reading customers, as was the entire staff there. It was a crazy, fast-paced environment with extraordinary inventory and rapid turnover, so everyone worked hard and had a ball. The mental and physical stimulation, along with the unparalleled camaraderie, made me both a better person and a decidedly more knowledgeable sales rep. I look back on those times with affection (and naturally some relief), but it’s a great comfort to know that new generations of committed booksellers will have that opportunity going forward—to learn from and teach their peers, to transform themselves and their customers, all through the communal power of the printed book.
Heather Goss, Publicity Assistant:
I’ve been a bookseller for 10 years now (currently at Porter Square Books)—it’s the longest job title I’ve ever held! And as a millennial, that’s even more remarkable considering I’m part of a generation of job-hoppers. But with bookselling comes community; that’s what drew me to the profession to begin with, and has kept me there for the past decade. As a bookseller in coastal Maine and Cambridge, MA, I’ve had some wonderful, unique, and even strange interactions and experiences. I’ve made friends with customers who were complete strangers, hand-sold books that I’m passionate about to eager readers, and on multiple occasions even found books for customer based solely on the description that “the cover is blue.” I’ve planned Harry Potter release parties, and fostered Instagram accounts for a wider community reach. I’ve watched my friends become published writers. Most recently, at the bookstore where I currently work, I witnessed a peaceful protest against a guest speaker and her controversial book concerning the juvenile incarceration system and a murderer who gained his freedom. I’ve also helped host events with local writers and internationally-renowned authors. While I’m proud of my personalized and autographed copy of Cary Elwes’s As You Wish, a result of an exciting author event I worked last year, it’s the local author events I usually enjoy the most because they bring out people who are truly engaged with their community bookstore. There’s no one thing that’s ‘best’ about bookselling, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say my top three are: 1) I’ve made life-long friendships with many of my bookstore colleagues, 2) Galleys! and 3) Meeting other people who geek out over the same books I love.
David Goldberg, Sales Manager:
On May 28, 2014, while in New York City for Book Expo America, I enjoyed the ultimate busman’s holiday (by bus, subway, and foot), visiting 192 Books, Three Lives, Posman Chelsea Market, Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop, Community Bookshop, Unnameable Books, Greenlight Bookstore, BookCourt, Housing Works, McNally Jackson, Shakespeare & Co., NYU Bookstore, Strand, and St. Mark’s and posted my journey on Facebook to the delight of all my friends back in New England. I would do this every day of my life if I could.