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.
What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I’m a very picky eater. When I was small my favorite food was macaroni with peanut-butter sauce. What I didn’t like for a very long time were french fries. It sounds strange. Only when I was about 7 or 8 and had to eat french fries at a friend’s party did I begin eating fries.
Were you read to as a child?
I think so, I must have been, but I remember very little from my youth.
Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Yes, we had a lot of books. My mother read a lot.
Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: Loads of them.
Sale: Always nice.
Magazines: A lot of scanning.
Piano: I prefer the violin.
Price gun: Complicated device.
Cash Register: Okay… three, five, ten… and that makes fifty.
Discount Card: Do you have one?
“I’m looking for a book…”: The über-question.
What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I always read a lot. There was a period during my teenage years during which I read a lot of German because I loved German literature. After that I began reading more English works and studying English language literature. Nowadays I hardly read any Dutch literature. I read on the average two books per month and between novels I read plays. It mixes it up a bit.
What sections do you oversee in ABC The Hague?
I order the Graphic Novels/Manga, Philosophy, Animals/Nature, Film and Horror sections, as well as the Calendars and merchandise.
What is the best part of your job?
Being around books all day. The fact that during my day when a title catches my eye, I can stop and take a look at it. I constantly get ideas on what to read next from customers co-workers or by just walking in the store. I love books and the work here is diverse. I also get to order books for my sections. It is an amazing idea to me that I decide what books come in for the customers.
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 customer service is hopefully dependable and consistent. It’s no-frills, friendly service.
How long have you worked at ABC?
I started working for ABC in October of 2007.
Who is your favorite author? Or what are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading Geoff Nicholson who is also one of my favorite authors. He wrote Bedlam Burning, and What we Did on Our Holidays. I’m also reading Logic of Sense by Gilles Deleuze for my thesis. Another of my favorite authors is Clyde Edgerton. The first work of his I read, Walking Across Egypt, I found in our bargain section. After that I was hooked. Magnus Mills is also a favorite of mine. I started with Three to See the King. Now I’ve read all his works.
What is the opposite of bookselling?
The opposite of bookselling is my last job. I worked with numbers behind a computer. I made formulas and lists in Excel and Access. But in the end I’d rather work with words than with numbers.
What do you think people should know about ABC?
I think that people don’t know enough about our events. We are not just a book store.