About Us: Pleun

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 Pleun

Where were you born?
On a houseboat in Amsterdam.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I loved pancakes and everything my Grandmother made. I hated all vegetables as a child. Thank God that changed!

Were you read to as a child?
Yes, all the time. I was read to every night by the whole family: mother, father and grandparents.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
There were a lot of books in the house. My mother was a teacher, my father worked for a newspaper and my grandparents were teachers. We had lots and lots of books.

Quick free associations:

Paperbacks: Vacation!
Sale: Long lines of people.
Magazines: The best Sunday morning.
Piano: Please don’t play it in the store! Not without asking aty least!
Price gun: Damn things!
Cash Register: “Do you have a discount card?”
Discount Card: “Ditto!”
“I’m looking for a book?”: “What kind of book are you looking for?”

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I read a lot, although I read a little less since I started working here. What has not changed is that I must read before I go to bed or else I can’t fall asleep.

What sections do you oversee and what are your other responsibilities at ABC Amsterdam?
My sections are: Crime, Crafts, Weddings & Entertaining and Cooking, and I work at the Special Order Department.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part is interacting with co-workers and with customers. I also love to order books for my sections.

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)?
My smile is very Prada, my consistency is like Hema and these are all wrapped up in the va-va-voom of a Ferrari!

How long have you worked at ABC?
Nine years.

Who is your favorite author?
Truman Capote because he has the cleanest prose. He’s the perfect writer. I have and love all his books.

What is the opposite of bookselling?
Video games. In my opinion they don’t stimulate the imagination while books do.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
What we can order almost any book new or second-hand. That staff do the ordering for store sections meaning that decisions are not made by a corporate head, but by staff members who are knowledgeable, have a connection with their respective sections and know their customer’s needs and wants.