Books-A-Million Reviews

Updated June 30, 2015
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2.7
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Terry Finley
188 Ratings

Pros
  • The employee discount is pretty good (in 79 reviews)

  • The book checkout program is a pro (in 26 reviews)

Cons
  • And how do you expect us to sell discount cards when we aren't making sales for the year across the board (in 167 reviews)

  • We are forced to shove discount cards and magazines down the throat of every customer that comes through the checkout (in 58 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

580 Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    A company that rewards success

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - General Manager in Lafayette, LA
    Current Employee - General Manager in Lafayette, LA

    I have been working at Books-A-Million full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Every single day I work, my input is welcome and heard by the top-level members of the operations team. My findings on the job help to shape policy and procedure, and as a result, my opinion of my job is that it matters to the success of the company.

    Cons

    Retail can be a consuming career. Not everyone has the dedication required to be successful in a sales-driven environment.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the lines of communication open.

    Books-A-Million Response

    Jun 26, 2015VP of HR

    Thanks for the feedback. It's one of the many ways in which we are working to keep the lines of communication open!


  2. Mixed Experience for me.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Magazine Specialist in Mount Juliet, TN
    Current Employee - Magazine Specialist in Mount Juliet, TN

    I have been working at Books-A-Million part-time (Less than a year)

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -Friendly Environment
    -Get to talk to people about books
    -Great Discounts for employees

    Cons

    -Selling the cards and magazines. This is by far the worst part of the job, and having to meet metrics is without doubt the most stressful aspect for me.


  3. Great Retail job

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Magazine Specialist in Birmingham, AL
    Current Employee - Magazine Specialist in Birmingham, AL

    I have been working at Books-A-Million (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -working with great people in a comfortable atmosphere. My store's manager had to be one of the nicest, most relaxed managers in the district, and this made the job a lot more enjoyable then it probably would've been.

    -Great employee discounts

    -Getting to talk to people about books all day. This was one of the main reasons I applied for the job, and while it is fun talking to some customers, we all know that not every person is an absolute frolic through the park to talk to.

    Cons

    -Selling the cards and mags. Even though I got better at selling over time, this was still the most daunting and stressful aspect of the job. In terms of stress, it really depends on the manager you had. When I arrived to the store, the current manager working at the time absolutely obliterated you if you didn't make metrics, but her replacement turned out to be far more lenient and in effect selling cards became less intimidating.

    Advice to Management

    -Spend more time on organizing and comping the store.

    -Don't encourage employees to tell "white lies" in order to sell cards. People think that honesty doesn't sell, but you would be surprised at how much respect I received from customers just because I told them straight up what the risks and benefits to buying the cards were.


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  5. Great experence

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Hattiesburg, MS
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Hattiesburg, MS

    I worked at Books-A-Million (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great learning experience with friendly atmosphere.

    Cons

    The company could work on competitive pay.


  6. Could use some work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Bookseller
    Current Employee - Bookseller

    I have been working at Books-A-Million part-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working with books, being organized and working on merchandising, recommending books to customers, interacting with customers, meeting new people and being challenged.

    Cons

    The pay is very low, with no raises and inadequate "commission" pay. The management is very hard to work with, and I feel that district management treats some stores unfavorably while overlooking other stores' downfalls.

    Advice to Management

    District: we are not the problem. In store: effective management skills are subpar. Be mature, understand that everyone is different, and don't lay blame on one person.


  7. Good, exempt for general manager.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller/Barista in Chattanooga, TN
    Former Employee - Bookseller/Barista in Chattanooga, TN

    I worked at Books-A-Million part-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people, enviroment, and customers. Being a batista was amazing and the book checkout was easily the best part of the job.

    Cons

    The pay was awful, and the focus on metrics was downright unachievable. Not to mention the laziness of the general management.

    Advice to Management

    Start to do your own share, up pay, and most importantly lower the price of the membership cards and stop the magazine subscriptions.


  8. Not too terrible

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Books-A-Million part-time

    Pros

    Good for people that like to read

    Cons

    Sometimes expectations aren't clear to employees

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


  9. Helpful (1)

    District Trainer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - District Trainer
    Current Employee - District Trainer

    I have been working at Books-A-Million

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I enjoy my job because I get to work with a group of people who are outgoing, inovative, and visonary. I also get to work with a customer base that shares my interests in literatures, popular culture, and continuation of learning. It is an ever changing environment, adapting to the needs of the customers and the marketplace that allows a brick and mortor bookstore to not only survive but thrive in the ever increasing digital age.

    Cons

    This job fosters a sense of competiveness that is not suitable for all personality types. It is an ever evolving market and the company is very reactionary and quick to change. Because of this, you must be flexible and able to learn new systems, products, and expectations quickly and sometimes without warning or additional resources.

    Advice to Management

    The most successful managers I have encountered in this company were those that were driven by more than just financial motives. It take passion and vision to lead these stores in the face of overwhelming online competition. If you are not motivated by the amazing team of people who are drawn to work for book chains, by your love of the idea of a physical book store where people can congregate to share interests and knowledge, or some other passionate reason other than the fact that it is your job, you are probably in the wrong profession. Embrace change, challenge, and competition to the fulliest and healthiest degree to unlock your full potential as a leader for Books A Million.


  10. Helpful (1)

    General Manager

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - General Manager in Fort Smith, AR
    Current Employee - General Manager in Fort Smith, AR

    I have been working at Books-A-Million

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Outside of just enjoying what we sell I absolutely adore our people. I've never felt more supported by our leadership than I do now. They care about us as individuals and show us by consistently asking for feedback on what we can do better as an organization to make this a great company to work for. I've been with BAM for five years and have never once felt more proud to be a part of such a growing team and company. As a general manager I get to watch new associates grow into more developed specialists and managers alike on a regular basis. I get to watch their passion stem from just a part-time job into a lasting career. The fast-paced, competitive force that we are can seem overwhelming and sometimes disheartening to some people... But those 'some people' shouldn't be here. I thrive on the idea that today I can fall off of the horse while knowing tomorrow I'll win the race. Books-A-Million gave me more than what a lot of people probably realize. I needed a challenge, and it gave me a purpose. At the end of the day I can go to sleep happy knowing that I got to share literature and a sense of excitement with those around me, and what makes that even better? I'm paid to do all of it. :-)

    Cons

    As a salaried manager who writes our schedules sometimes it is very challenging to plan for success when payroll can be your opponent. It feels like it's next to impossible sometimes, but that's where our creativity gets to flex its muscles. There's always a way. You just have to figure it out.

    Advice to Management

    Be ready to run. Like I said above, this is competitive and fast-paced. You have to be ready to dive into the deep end when you only know how to doggie paddle if you wanna learn how to really swim. Be patient and love your team. Love your brand. Love your store. It does get tough, that's something you'll realize quicker than anything else, probably, but if you can stick it out until the "tough" subsides you'll feel how rewarding it is to be a part of something so awesome. Don't get your heart set on a set schedule, and don't expect to work only 40 hours. You must lead by example, and most of the time that means staying positive when it's the hardest thing in the world to do.

    Books-A-Million Response

    Jun 19, 2015VP of HR

    Retail as a career is something we definitely offer at Books-A-Million. You can grow in taking on greater responsibility to achieve what you want to achieve! Thank you for sharing your feedback ... More


  11. Helpful (2)

    A little fun, a lot of book access, a lot of cleaning and even more kids to babysit

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Decatur, AL
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Decatur, AL

    I worked at Books-A-Million part-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    You were required to be a reader and have the ability to check out any book on the shelf for 2 weeks to urge continual update and knowledge of newest books out for sell. I enjoyed working in the book store. The whole atmosphere is so awesome it was hard not to enjoy being there. It was nice to have an incentive to talk to people about the membership cards and magazin trial subscriptions.

    Cons

    Cleaning up after people and baby-sitting children to whom their parents had dropped off, knowing that most of those kids had no respect for books much less other people's property, pay was very lousy as I had to take another job just to support myself. Regardless of what area your worked, you are required to pitch sales and your hours and shifts depended mostly on how many membership cards you could sell or how many magazines you had talked people into "trying" for 3 months. Although there was a monetary incentive to push the magazines and membership cards, they were relative to pennies and quarters per one membership card or 3+ magazines. There was a running goal you had to meet each week which did not waiver regardless of how many hours your worked.

    Advice to Management

    Up your incentive! If the incentive to sell cards and push magazine trials were fair enough, it would be more of a reason to compete with greater and more creative methods. Encourage more clean, guest-centered, polite, and genuine "pitches." If a guest believes you are about to take their card info and run, they WILL not participate and running off that guest runs off all of his/her friends. Please be harsher about discouraging "pulling the wool over guests eyes." I experienced a manager that had these dirty tactics that tricked guests into getting the trial without them knowing that not cancelling the prescription will incur charges to their card months down the line when they look at their bank statement and haven't been to books-a-million or spoken with the liason company but remembers that sketchy magazine pitch at that book store. Also, please make it a point to visit cafes more often. It is not within health code to put any food past discard date in a disfunctional case or refrigerator. It is also not within health code for employees to keep their own personal food in the very refrigerator Joe's products are meant to be stored. Please encourage cleanliness of the tools and machinery used for the espresso machine and press! I cannot tell you how many times I helped the cafe specialist clean up her area and try (without accomplishing) to remove the layers of mildew from the dishes! And last but absolutely not least, please learn to make your employees feel like they matter for more than labor and money, again. Whatever happened to the attitude that everyone is a team and each person is a very important role of the foundation that keeps BAM going strong in so many towns; in so many states; in so many lives; for so many years?!



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