Five Things I Learned from Working in a Bookshop

Happy Bookshop Day! It’s a wonderful day to celebrate by supporting your local bookshop. I had the privilege of working in a bookshop not too long ago and I never documented any of my thoughts here, so here’s a quick note about a few things I learned.

  1. No, it’s not exactly all like that scene with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, but nevertheless working in a bookshop is still pretty romantic for a bookworm because you’re surrounded by books all day, of course. Books are beautiful, bookshelves are beautiful, bookshops are beautiful. What’s not to love?
  2. Nothing compares to the smell of walking into a room full of books. Second-hand bookshops in particular smell amazing.
  3. I learned a lot about second-hand bookselling – since I was cataloguing I had to learn a new lexicon of technical language to describe books and their condition. Learning to describe spines and markings in intricate detail made me appreciate the physical elegance of books even more.
  4. Sometimes the stories behind the ownership of a second-hand book can be just as exciting as the story within the book itself. Finding a hidden handwritten message is a little joy and the challenge of deciphering old handwriting is a thrillingly satisfying one.
  5. Nothing online compares to the service of a bookseller in person. They are patient and kind, offering a fountain of knowledge to anyone who enters their shop. They can offer suggestions for the most obscure, strange and random of reading recommendation requests and this means that every day working in a bookshop feels different from the other.

In celebration of Bookshop Day, please support your local bookshop!

直美 | Naomi

Note: photo is of a bookshop in Tokyo, Japan (not the London bookshop that I worked at)

Author: Naomi

Twitter: @Naomified @ThinkingJaplish

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