A day in the life of a bookstore

The bookstore greeted me with the smell of new books. It was the first time I came to the bookstore at such an early hour (I used to go there only in the afternoon and didn’t know how amazing it was in the morning).

A middle-aged woman met me. Anna, the bookseller, at first thought I was a buyer, but later recognized her new assistant. Short in height, dressed in a floral dress, a pleasant middle-aged lady has worked in the bookstore for about twenty years and knows almost everything about books.

A day in the life of a bookstore 1

Shelves with soul

A new working day has begun. From the very morning, the seller has a lot of work to do: books need to be laid out in the window and dust must be wiped. Mrs. Anna immediately involved me in work. It was surprising that no book should protrude, the rows should be perfectly even.

While my partner was solving organizational issues, I was able to see what was and where it was, so that I could better navigate the space of the bookstore.

Customers did not have to wait long. I couldn’t even think that there could be such a stir here in the early morning, but Anna took the first wave. While she advised buyers, I had time to study. Anna calmly answered questions, led to the shelves and found the necessary books. I admired her casual movements and tried to remember them.

After the first visitors, my partner began to explain to me all the wisdom of book consultation. She said that very different people come and you need to find an approach to everyone: there are those who do not need help or want to choose the product themselves, and those who need advice. There are also people who come to the bookstore just to relax, or to talk, or to find a quiet place to think.

A day in the life of a bookstore 2

I heard – “Each book has a soul and its own story, because, before transferring thoughts to paper, the author went through a certain experience, which he shares. That’s why bookstores have a special atmosphere…”

Yes, indeed, being there, you feel peace and tranquility, but it does not last long, because we have visitors again.

This time I tried it myself. She approached the girl and a little timidly asked: “Excuse me, can I help you with something?”. She answered in the affirmative, and then the first book consultation in my life began.

The girl was about my age and told me that she was looking for a present for her sister. My visitor needed a science fiction book. We could not choose the ideal option for a long time. I don’t read fiction at all, and to be honest, it wasn’t easy to find what I needed, but my friends’ preferences helped me here. During the day, I caught myself thinking several times how wonderful it is that so many of my friends like to read.

When everyone left, I felt relief and internal satisfaction, because I realized that I had begun to master the profession little by little. We didn’t have to rest for a long time, Anna said that we still have work to do. It turns out that before putting the books on the display, the seller has to go through them to find out the essence and place them according to the subject.

“Book coffee”

When there were no more buyers, the saleswoman and I returned to our usual business: we fixed the books on the shelves. I already wanted to ask Anna to go to the nearest coffee shop for coffee, but she just started talking about their tradition of drinking coffee prepared according to a special recipe, so I convinced the owner to wait. Maria Zinovievna came to the shop at lunchtime. She prepared specialty coffee, and we all sat down to taste it together. When I took the first sip, I first felt sweet notes, and then it seemed astringent to me, and Maria Zinovievna assured me that this is the charm of this coffee.
A day in the life of a bookstore 3

“Give me something”

After some time, buyers came to the bookstore again, and I already confidently approached them with a standard question, but this time the answer really surprised me. Usually people talk about their preferences or wishes, but I heard: “Give me something.”

I didn’t know what to answer for a few seconds, and then I started asking additional questions about genres, likes, wishes, but it didn’t help. Then there was only one way out – to ask what the book was for. It shed some light, it turned out that the young people had lost a book from the library and needed to buy any other book to replace the missing one. I immediately went through the book options in my head and recommended the classics.

It wasn’t long until the end of the working day. We advised buyers, and I did it with great pleasure, although fatigue was showing.


The bookstore had about 30 visitors throughout the day. According to my observations, they were mostly looking for psychology, fiction, children’s literature, foreign language books and novels.

Anna says it’s a relatively easy day. It sounds a little strange, because at the end of the working day I realized that I hardly sat down.

It is not easy to be a bookseller, to work in a bookstore you need to read a lot, be competent in many fields and know the assortment perfectly. However, if desired, all this can be mastered.

Among the cons:

  • excessive communication, which leads to fatigue

But despite everything, I would definitely like to work in a bookstore, because during the whole day I met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot of new things.