Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Raison d'être

It's okay if the thing you do best and like to do best is not how you make your living. Or at least I hope it's okay. The reason I was put on this earth is to be a Bookseller. For the purposes of this rant I am defining a bookseller as something other than someone who works in a bookshop. I suppose I could say "book-enthusiast" or "book-lover" but the first of these terms is ridiculous and the second is only a subset of what I meant.

I have been a professional bookseller. It was no fun. I hated shelving and working retail is, well, not remunerative. I found that even though I worked in bookstores (and as such was at least smart enough to enjoy reading) the management of these stores tended to treat me and my co-workers as if we were teenagers working in a CVS.

But getting books into people's hands is another matter-one that has nothing to do with money. I love getting people to read. I love helping them find just the right book-or introducing them to something they never would have considered before, but end up liking. Working in a bookstore makes it easier to do this (0r at least provides a wider audience) but doing it on a non-professional basis is also possible. If anything, doing it for your friends and family is more challenging and therefore more rewarding.

This afternoon, a woman I work with (at a financial services firm-not a bookstore) said that she enjoyed reading more because of me. It made my day and justified my non-paying quest.

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