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.
I was born in the city of Haarlem.
What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I liked spaghetti and nasi. I disliked Belgian endive and Brussels sprouts. I like them now, but not back then.
Were you read to as a child?
Yes, when I was a small child just before going to bed.
Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Yes, we had a lot of books in my house.
Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: I love to read them. They make easy reading.
Sale: I like cleaning out my sections to create a sale and to offer the customer a well-priced book.
Magazines: High turnover, good profits.
Price gun: Indispensable tool.
Cash Register: Love to work it.
Discount Card: Outstanding device since 1972. Great invention!
“I’m looking for a book?”: A particular book?
What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I can’t imagine the world without words or books, especially in this age of Internet.
What sections do you oversee and what are your other responsibilities at ABC?
I oversee the history and mathematics sections in Amsterdamand I am one of the two adjunct-directors of ABC.
What is the best part of your job?
Working with and for customers. I also like my deputy director responsibilities, even if they are less visible; the end result is also good for the store. The best part of my job is the connection between my time on the sales floor and my administrative work.
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 would say I’m a Hema man, in the sense of being very reliable and professional. Giving out good information and service so the customer will leave satisfied.
How long have you worked at ABC?
Who is your favorite author?
As an adolescent I read all of Dostoevsky’s works. Now, as an adult, I don’t read much fiction anymore. “Who is your favorite author?” in my opinion is more of a fiction reader’s question. As a non-fiction reader the question is more about what my favorite subjects are. I read a lot about the Second World War and music, especially American blues, folk and country music. Right now I’m reading The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn.
What is the opposite of bookselling?
Selling merchandise you don’t have a connection with. For me, that would be selling jeans or cars.
What do you think people should know about ABC?
That we have a very good selection of books.