Monday, June 3, 2013

I Found a Dime

Life turns on a dime. Indeed it does.

Tonight will be my last shift at the bookstore.

I find myself a little sad and on edge as I get ready for my shift today.

Deciding to leave the bookstore was not an easy decision for me to make. I have worked on and off in bookstores since I was a teenager, putting up with low-ish pay and sometimes challenging working situations to be able to stay in close proximity to books and the people who love them.

But bookstores have been doing a lot of changing in recent years. The advent of digital reading devices and the explosion of online shopping have dramatically changed book shopping habits. People who use digital reading devices purchase less paper books. They may come into the store to browse, but then purchase them on their device, which does nothing for the individual store's bottom line. People also come in and browse at the store, but when they find out that the online price is so much cheaper, they often go home and buy the books online.

In addition, Borders is gone. The company I've worked for has closed two stores in our metro area, and opened one new one. People - customers and staff alike - wonder if bookstores can remain viable. It is unsettling.

Bookstores, at least the one I work for, seem to be in the middle of an identity crisis. They need to figure out what they want and need to be.

I love books. I LOVE books. I love being around them, I love talking and writing about them.

And I have loved working in a bookstore. But recently, working in a bookstore (for me, all I can say is how it's been for me), has become less about the joy of books and reading and more about trying to struggle through a shift.

I have felt as though I've been on the front lines, spending less time talking about actual books with people, and more time explaining changes and policies - why our stores closed (leases were up, we opened a new store), whether the store I'm currently in is going to close (not that we know), why are books cheaper online (less overhead, buying them here means you get to come in and have customer service and carpets and lights and bathrooms and chairs), and how do you use a Nook anyway?

Changes in the bookstore industry, as well as the climate of my individual store brought me to my decision to leave. Even though I've been with this company for almost ten years and worked in four different stores, it is time for me to move on.

This decision to leave is more about me choosing which dime on which to turn my life, rather than leaving the dime turning to fate.

Even though I chose this dime, I am having a lot of feelings today...sadness to say good-bye to some great co-workers, sadness not to be around the books on a daily basis, sadness maybe even that I want to leave, as well as being a little on edge about all the changes for me personally (I start a brand new job tomorrow!).

Part of the decision about leaving the bookstore has been wondering what that means for me and this blog. I've really enjoyed it, but wondered if me not being at the bookstore makes the blog less appealing, or that I would have less of a draw. That has been scary and sad for me as well.

However, leaving employment at the bookstore doesn't mean I won't still read or write about books (or maybe even write another book!). I'm just not sure what it will all look like yet!

I invite you to stay tuned and see what happens!

Thanks for stopping by the blog. You can send email to: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Or check out the blog's facebook page, NOT The New York Times Book Review. Happy reading!


  1. I can only imagine all the emotions you must be experiencing at this crossroads. I hope that making the decision to leave instead of waiting for some new (bad) turn at the book store plus having a new job to start, will help you move forward in a happy and healthy way. All the very best to you as you explore and learn this new job. Looking forward to new posts about books and more.

    1. Dianne,
      Thanks. Yes, part of my decision to leave was based on the fact that I didn't want the decision to be made FOR me. Thank you for your support!

  2. Brick and mortar stores cannot fight on line shopping head to head. Years ago I suggested that bookstores find a way to sell digital content within their stores and collect a commission on the sale. I have yet to see any store try and figure out a way to this. Fighting head to head will do for bookstores what it did to cd sellers.

    1. Ed,
      I think that would be a GREAT idea to have the stores get a commission on sales of digital content within the store.

      I had a customer suggest that we don't let people use the bathroom unless they have a receipt that they purchased something in the store. That might be a little extreme, but it seems as though something needs to be done!

      Thanks for commenting!