About Us: Joe

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 Joe

Where were you born?
Elizabeth, NJ.  Exit 11 on the NJ Turnpike.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I loved cheeseburgers.  I hated fish that looked like fish, but if it had bread crumbs on it I ate it.

Were you read to as a child?
No. My father was not a reader and my mother did not speak English.  She spoke Farsi and this is what they spoke together.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
There were some, but I grew into books.  Every year I got a book club membership as a gift.  One year it was for fantasy, the next year science fiction, etc.

Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: Writer.
Sale: Books.
Magazines: Empire.
Piano: No association.
Price gun: Wish I had one.
Cash Register: Counting.
Discount Card: Spread sheet.
“I’m looking for a book…”: Tell me your top five and I’ll recommend five more.

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I still read three to four books a week.

What are your responsibilities in the store?
I’m in charge of Internet sales, wholesale to other countries, overstock, various spread sheets, and ABC’s trips to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

What’s the best part of your job?
Opening boxes and seeing what’s inside.

How would you describe your customer service, i.e., how do you do your job in terms of: cars (Ferrari or Fiat?),  pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), or shoes (Puma or Prada)?
Roomba (the robotic vacuum cleaner)!!!!  Every half hour I do something different.

How long have you worked at ABC?
32 years.

Who is your favorite author? Or what are you reading now?

John Irving! I’ve read and liked all except  A Prayer For Owen Meany.  I didn’t like the shouting.

What is the opposite of bookselling?
Being a librarian.

What do you think people should know about ABC?

Ask and you’ll find it.