About Us: Hans

In a series of interviews conducted by ABC’s Maria Minaya, we’re going to introduce you to (almost) everyone who works at The American Book Centers in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Books form an integral part of our lives not only because they’re our bread and butter, but because our passion for them came first. Our mission is to pass them on. By reading these interviews you’ll discover the faces behind your favorite sections and get a glimpse of who we are.

Meet Hans

Where were you born?
I was born in Heemskerk, in a nunnery.  It was the children’s part of the hospital. They were the order of the Nuns of Saint Joseph.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
My favorite was my mom’s macaroni.  I hated her Brussels sprouts.  They were like eating grey matter.

Were you read to as a child?
No.  My father made up his own stories.  After dinner he would continue a story he had started nights before.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Not many and I think the same ones are still there.  My mother read.  My father did not.

Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: The smell of old books.
Sale: Paperbacks.
Magazines: Never enough, my favorite format (non-fiction wise).
Piano: Horowitz!  Finally understood piano music after I heard him play Mozart’s piano sonata No. 10 in C Major (K.330).
Price gun: Faulty design. Cha chink.
Cash Register: Not interesting.  Necessary evil.  It’s a point, but not the point.
Discount Card: Club.
“I’m looking for a book…” : Aren’t we all?

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
My connection to words is for information.  I read everything.

What sections do you oversee and what are your other responsibilities in the store?
Business and computers are my sections in the Amsterdam store.  Together with Nicki, I’m responsible for the company’s IT. We do everything digital from software developers to Internet and main intranet.  We custom design all the computer programs for ABC.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part is that we support the staff we work with and that the programs we design for them are helpful.  We have the freedom to make what the staff need.  The ABC IT department is very connected to all our colleagues and the work they do.

How would you describe your customer service, i.e., how you do your job in terms of … cars (Ferrari or Fiat?),  pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), and/or shoes (Puma or Prada)?
I’m a runner, extra miles only.

How long have you worked at ABC?
Fifteen years.

Who is your favorite author? Or what are you reading now?
Right now I am reading Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want by James H. Gilmore.   And I have read all of Truman Capote’s work.

What is the opposite of bookselling?
Faking it. Not being real.  Watching T.V.  Selling something without content.  Things.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
We have it and we have it first.

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