About Us: Marten

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 Marten

Where were you born?
In Bedum, north Groningen.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I loved tomato soup. I hated lima beans and Belgian endive (chicory).

Were you read to as a child?
Yes, every night and by both parents.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
We had a lot of books in the house and a lot in my best friend’s house. Having books is synonymous with having access to wealth for me. It has everything to do with accessibility, especially to art books because they opened up the world of art for me.

Quick free associations:
Sale: Books, red sign.
Magazines: Glossy.
Piano: Wooden floor.
Price gun: Souvenir shops.
Cash Register: A cash register.
Discount Card: How can I get one?
“I’m looking for a book…”: So am I.

What is your connection to books, the written word now?
It has changed since I started working here. I like being surrounded by all kinds of books. I’ve started reading a lot more non-fiction lately. I find it inspiring because it gives me a fresh perspective on how to approach the world. I read a lot more since I started working here. I read morning, noon and night!!!

What sections do you oversee at ABC Amsterdam?
Magazines, photography, and fashion.

What is the best part of your job?
Being able to surround myself with books and that I learn a lot about the books I sell and order.

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)?
I’m a Volvo car: old fashioned, boxy but reliable.

How long have you worked at ABC?
A year.

Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is Roald Dahl.

What is the opposite of bookselling?

What do you think people should know about ABC?
Customers have more influence than they think when it comes to the selection of books available. And that we are a browsing store. You have to look around for the hidden treasures.