By Naomi

When I tell people I work at a bookstore, their first reaction is usually: “It must be so nice to get to read all day.” That would be nice indeed, but that’s not what I actually do.

Even though I don’t get to lounge around reading all day, I still have a wonderful job. Working as a bookseller at ABC means every day is different. All three ABC stores have quite different characters, and I’m here to present what a day in the life of a bookseller in The Hague looks like.

Everyone who works at ABC is also a book buyer. That means we are responsible for ordering the books that make it onto our shelves. We must make sure we have the classics in stock, and we try to find new and exciting books. We are very free in curating our sections, so every buyer gets to put a little bit of their personality into it. That’s what makes ABC so special: everyone who works here is very passionate about books and reading, and that is reflected in the wide array of books we offer.

When I start my workday, the first thing I do is look at my sections—Law&True Crime, Mythology, Religion and Romantasy. I make sure they are neat and organized and that all the books are where they are supposed to be. I put out any stock that came in while I wasn’t working. Next, I go through the sales of the past week to see what has been sold and what I should reorder. I also browse the new releases so that they’re ordered in time for publication. That is especially important for highly anticipated new titles, as we don’t want to disappoint customers who have been waiting a long time for a new book.

Customers are, after all, the most important people at and to ABC. In between our administrative work, we help them in our stores, by phone or via email. During busy periods, like holidays and school vacations, it can get quite hectic, but that’s what makes work so exciting! You never know what a customer will be looking for, and we enjoy helping them find their next read, a pretty edition of their favorite book or that obscure title they’ve been searching for.

The patrons at ABC are varied, and we see a little bit of everything: tourists passing through, people who are new to reading, those who know exactly what they’re looking for and those who come by to be tempted by something new. Everyday there are some regular faces mixed in with the new ones. We love seeing regulars come in, of which there are quite a few (canines included). The people that have been visiting us since before we moved to the current location enjoy sharing stories of the old store and the early days of ABC The Hague. Many have also noticed that there has been quite a lot of construction going on these last few months. Despite the disruptions it caused in-store, ABC The Hague is still a place of joy, comfort and rest for many visitors and we take pride in that.

In between helping customers, we still work hard behind the scenes. We process and scan in new stock and make sure that books are sent to the store in Leidschendam, which is ABC’s smallest and managed by the team in The Hague. Everyone takes turns working in Leidschendam and is responsible for their sections there as well.

In addition to books, we sell a variety of magazines, which also need to be processed. Reservations, either recurring or one-offs, are set aside. Orders made online that will be picked up in The Hague are processed in-store. Customers can make special orders in-store, too. We have access to local, US and UK suppliers and even a second-hand supplier for harder-to-find books.

One last fun fact is that the Booklover Box team is located in The Hague, so this is where the orders are processed. Customers order the Box as a gift to themselves or someone else, and we take special care in making each Booklover Box the ultimate experience for a booklover, filled with books thoughtfully hand-selected by our buyers. The Box is curated specifically to the customer’s requests, and we take care to include books they might enjoy, as well as some bookish goodies from publishers and suppliers.

Even though every day is different, one thing that’s the same every day is how much we at ABC love what we do: selling books.