About Us: Ilse

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 Ilse

Ilse 2015Where were you born?
I was born in a hospital in Alkmaar.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I loved French fries and pancakes.  But I don’t really remember a food I hated.  Everything was fine.  At home I ate what was put on the table.  There was no real choice.

Were you read to as a child?
Yes, only by my mother.  My father was not involved with putting me to bed.  That was my mother’s job.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Yes, lots.  My father read quite often while my mother didn’t.  Now she reads more than she did then.

Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: I buy them and never hard covers.
Sale: I avoid them as I don’t like the chaos.
Magazines: I buy them.  Children magazines and house magazines.
Piano: I don’t play.  I like the music, though.
Price gun: Maybe another system, perhaps something automatic.  In this digital world price guns are antiquated.
Cash Register: Needed, but also antiquated.
Discount Card: Good way to get new customers and keep old ones.
“I’m looking for a book?”: This reminds me of when I’m looking for a book at home.  I pull them off the shelves one by one and read the backs.

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
My main sources of information are the Internet and newspapers.  I read books on vacation.

What are your responsibilities in the store?
Head of the financial department.

What is the best part of your job?
Working together with the administrative staff.  I enjoy cooperating and producing a good result.  This involves trusting others.  Everybody has their own responsibilities.  I also enjoy the freedom of what we do. If people ask me or my team something I expect we’ll get it done.

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 don’t come in contact with customers.  When it comes to how I do my job I’d say I’m on top of everything that goes on.  I see the big picture and this is important.  The details take care of themselves.

How long have you worked at ABC?
Since 1995.

Who is your favorite author? Or who are you reading now?
I have no favorite authors.  I read subjects.   Right now I’m reading a book called Houd Je Mond.

What is the opposite of bookselling?

What do you think people should know about ABC?
I think that customers already know the important aspects of our work.