One reason I launched “EdsList” on this site is so I could use the skills I’ve learned in working with used & rare books and other collectibles over a 25-year period. But at first I would have been glad just to get a job in one of the local book stores. I only applied at one… the only one which really appealed to me… Bookmans! This is a local Arizona institution with 2 stores within an easy commute of where I live in Tucson.
A very wise and successful man, Bob Bookman (who loves classic, old cars!) started Bookmans. But I don’t think he is paying as much attention to running his stores as he should. Here’s the story:
I called to ask about job availability. “Oh, yeah! We’re definitely hiring!” a cheerful voice said over the phone.
I made a nice cover letter and attached it to my resume’ , as requested in their specs, and dropped off one copy at the Bookmans on Speedway and the other one, at the Bookmans on Grant. I handed ’em to people with smiling faces.
Nobody wrote, nobody called.
A month, five weeks went by… I researched who the managers are of these two stores, and wrote personal e-mails to each of them. I briefly mentioned my track record, and said that if work in the bookstore itself was not available, I’d be perfectly suited to research, evaluate, price, and put books up on-line for their on-line sales efforts, since I’ve done that for many thousands of my own books in the past (marketed mainly on ABE Books — formerly, the Advanced Book Exchange).
I never heard back from either store manager!
I went in several times and looked around. In fact, I found two signed ANNE RICE novels this way, which I bought for $8.00 each. If I’d been working there I’d have upped the price a little on those… Anyway, a good look around revealed that their staff is evidently people mostly in their 20’s, roughly college age or grad student, most likely from nearby University of Arizona, maybe a few 30’s. I think I once saw a guy who could have been in his 40’s, but nobody older — and they often have eight people behind their counters both at the registers and sorting through in-coming bags and boxes of books and other material. It is a tremendous entertise they’re doing! But the ‘age gap’ (I’m a bit older, I don’t want to say HOW old!) was painfully obvious.
So, I can only conclude that Bookmans practices age discrimination, or else WHY wouldn’t someone on their staff have AT LEAST called, left a message, or replied to (1) my 2 resumes, or (2) my pair of e-mails to the store managers?
It really IRKS me! I’ve got a terrific Liberal Arts / Humanities-type education which gives me the broadest, widest knowledge of books and authors, and I’ve developed skills in evaluating the condition and value of old books, from Book Bazaar in Santa Clara in 1994 to Mystic Books in Mountain View in the late 1990’s and Ed Augusts Books on-line for the past 9 years, selling many hundreds of books on ABE, and now on my own site. I’m able to sort-out the Book Club editions, and tell True Crime from a Mystery and Historical Fiction from a Romance Novel — at a glance! I’m actually willing to visit sellers in their homes, not forcing them to bring their books into a retail location. My innovations could teach them a thing or two. BOOKMANS doesn’t care about ANY of that, it seems to want young, inexperienced people, not smart, experienced people.
They’d probably say, “we’re not discriminating… it’s you who is overqualified! ” But they’re wrong. They ARE discriminating, or someone, on at least one of FOUR OCCASIONS, would have gotten back to me, asked me to come in, or at least chatted with me over the phone — something that I waited patiently for, but which never happened!
So, now I don’t hope to get a JOB at BOOKMANS anymore, two absolutely silent store managers have cured me of that ambition. I want to COMPETE AGAINST Bookmans in the local used & rare book market and drive people through my website. I want to take business away from Bookmans. They wouldn’t even call me back? I’ll give ’em reason to regret being so dismissive and non-communicative!
Best Wishes, —–Ed