Books-A-Million

www.booksamillion.com

Books-A-Million Reviews

Updated March 5, 2015
Updated March 5, 2015
491 Reviews
2.5
491 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Terry Finley
151 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The employee discount increases on pay day which is quite a temptation (in 79 reviews)

  • Book checkout program - any book in the store can be borrowed for two weeks (in 26 reviews)


Cons
  • I felt like a robot I had to sell so many discount cards or I was bashed by the managers (in 167 reviews)

  • Hours are cut if cards and magazines do not meet the requirements (in 58 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    1 person found this helpful  

    This company, store and management are amazing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Bookseller in South Portland, ME
    Current Employee - Bookseller in South Portland, ME

    I have been working at Books-A-Million

    Pros

    I'm only writing this review because I have seen recent reviews of my store in South Portland, ME that were written by two friends who were very high maintenance.
    The management staff at our store is amazing. Probably some of the best managers in the company. The are hard working and push us to do our best all the time. The proof of this is the number of staff that comes back during their school breaks and after trying different ventures. There are also at least 10 employees currently on staff who started when the store first opened.
    The management staff is invested in each staff member and I have seen many of them crawling around on the floor, sweating more than the staff on many occasions.
    We have a great time and are always laughing and having a great time.
    This store gets awesome authors and we get to meet a lot of amazing people. The management has book signings down to a science.

    Cons

    Apparently the management needs to be more selective on hiring people who actually want to work for a living.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it up, your staff is happy and you're doing a great job!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Books-A-Million Response

    Feb 26, 2015VP of HR

    Thanks for the great feedback about working in our South Portland, ME store! We are so proud of that location (and all of our others too), and love to hear about a talented staff that the associates ... More

  2.  

    I'm not currently employed anywhere and I'm currently looking for my first job while I'm still in college

    Current Employee - Merchandise Specialist in Peachtree City, GA
    Current Employee - Merchandise Specialist in Peachtree City, GA

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

    Pros

    I think some of the pros for starting out as a merchandise specialist at Books-A-Million's that it doesn't requires a lot of specialized skills to work in the back loading and unloading trucks and setting merchandise on the proper shelves.

    Cons

    I really don't think that there are any cons to working in this position unless you have back problems like my mom.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't have any advice right now but I am a hard, fast, and diligent worker and currently looking for part-time employment. I can work any shift depending on my college schedule.

  3.  

    Love Working Here

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

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

    Pros

    I absolutely love my co-workers and the management team. Pay is competitive with other retail companies, with additional incentives that other places do not provide. Promotions for specialist positions have been exclusively internal under the current management, and several booksellers have been promoted to management positions as well. It certainly appears to be a priority to promote from within.

    Management is completely understanding and willing to work with each associate so that their needs are met. However, you are expected to show up regularly and actually work your shifts. There is not a task I perform in the store that management hasn't been willing to help me with. The managers run registers, answer phones, shelve books, do customer service. Most of my co-workers hold themselves to high standards and are willing to help locate a book or help offer suggestions in genres that they are more familiar with than I am.

    Unlike other stores of this size, employees are expected to have detailed product knowledge and provide personalized customer service. You really need to read and know about books. If you can't recommend a book to a customer who just read a certain author, or a particular book, you might find it hard working here. In fact, you might feel stupid and belittled. If you arrive with a superior know-it-all attitude because you've worked part-time for 6 months at Target/Walmart/Best Buy on evenings and weekends while you go to college and live with your mom, you probably won't do so well here. However, if you are willing to learn and ask for help and make an effort to become familiar with the product, you will do fine. BAM requires a bit more intelligence than your run-of-the-mill retail job. You should know who wrote Slaughterhouse Five and Jane Eyre. You should know which book won the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal this year. You should be able to recommend at least a few books in several genres, or be willing to ask a co-worker for recommendations (for example, teen fiction is not my thing, but I have a few go-to coworkers who I can ask for help). Take the time and you'll like it here.

    Cons

    Hey, look. All retail establishments offer discount programs or store credit cards. It's the nature of the game. No bookstore operating a retail space can stay in business simply by selling books at list price. We are competing with online retailers offering steep discounts out of massive cheaper-to-run warehouses. We need to develop a relationship with our customers to get them coming back to us, and only us. One way to do this is to offer membership card benefits. Selling the card is part of the job, and this is openly disclosed during the interview process. Just as it is the associate's job to sell the card, it is the manager's job to help encourage the associates to sell the card. I have a sneaking suspicion that the current management team actually shields the employees from a lot of the pressure they themselves are getting about sales and discount cards. I have never heard an employee be mistreated because of card sales. Employees who are struggling are offered guidance sessions with successful associates and managers are always willing to give tips.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Who wrote Moby Dick?

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5.  

    Great entry level position for college students

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

    I have been working at Books-A-Million

    Pros

    Management is willing to work around school schedule
    20% employee discount
    Free book checkout

    Cons

    Management too focused on discount card sales and magazine subscriptions

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus more on customer service

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Quiet, Casual, (Mostly) Non-Demanding Work Environment

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

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

    Pros

    Literary/Cafe atmosphere: I know few people who intensely dislike sitting down with coffee or tea and a good book or magazine, and Books-A-Million has just the environment for that. If you are an associate who already enjoys and frequents such establishments, working at one is an added bonus.

    Ease of training/shipment shifts: Management prefers to cross-train, if they recognize that an associate is versatile, but if that isn't the case, you won't be given more than you can handle. The seasoned managers will recognize immediately where everyone's strengths are, and use them accordingly to maximize output and potential, without being pushy or overly demanding. Shipment shifts require basic organizational skills, and even if that isn't your strength, once you have it mastered, it's more fun.

    Associate incentives: Positive customer comments and feedback are posted in employee areas on a regular basis, and, obviously, are there to boost morale and motivation. The employee discount is, needless to say, the most basic reason to stick with the company (especially if you are a bookworm). Also, you can check out books at any time.

    All-around supportive, friendly co-workers with mutual interests, from management down: No complaints here at all. If you understand that management and fellow associates realize your needs outside of the workplace, as I have, the better chance you have of wanting to stick around. Try to make an effort to invest your time in helping not just customers, but the people who already care about the store. I haven't always been a team player, and, like everyone, personal issues can cloud or even cripple your desire to work, but Books-A-Million gives you a friendly push if you truly want to improve on your teamwork skills. The company has also recently made a conscious, corporate-level effort to evaluate associate satisfaction. That is monumental. That to me reveals a distinct sort of empathy that is driving the company to 're-invent' its approach towards and treatment of its associates.

    Cons

    Just one: Magazines for Millionaires. The actual membership quota is to be expected, as membership sales are part of overall profit. You have to make a daily effort to sell the membership. But the Magazines for Millionaires program is quite simply a waste of both an associate's and a customer's time, especially if you are already struggling with selling the membership. For an associate, the explanation of the program just doesn't make much sense, and even when you go the extra step to read the MFM brochure, it only makes it more confusing. Even regular bookstore patrons are not typically going to want to sign up for a program that ships recurrent magazine subscriptions to their businesses or residential mailboxes, because they either already have one (or more), or are simply not interested. Most customers in the store are there to purchase books and coffee. The best luck you have with this program at the point-of-sale is if you pitch it towards customers who have magazines in hand and ready to purchase, because more than likely, that customer will be more interested than the customer that just wants to buy a Bible, journal, or calendar.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None. Management here understands that associates are people with social instincts. Not machinery.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    My experience at books-a-million

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

    I have been working at Books-A-Million

    Pros

    Good discount
    Friendly coworkers
    Easygoing enviroment

    Cons

    Low pay
    No room for growth
    Bad benefits
    Have to sell alot of discount cards

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Raise pay and make discount cards cheaper.25$ is expensive for alot of people.

  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Bad company

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

    I worked at Books-A-Million

    Pros

    Great environment at the store I was working at, we were like a family and went out together. It was all around good atmosphere in terms of the people.

    Cons

    Discount Cards. It made everyone very nervous and made the environment toxic at times.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    fix

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Wish I could give 2.5 stars...

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

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

    Pros

    You get to share book reviews with customers and coworkers. The rent out policy for books is a great perk as well as percentages off of everything in the store.

    Cons

    Never once felt like the company cared about their customers. It's all about discount cards, which are $25 and only last for a year, as well as magazines, which are a giant scam. They've raised the price of the cards for years as well and continue to raise it. I was greeted everyday with "Get me some numbers" and had three overwhelming pressure to get cards and magazines or lose my job. Also nothing for military members.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Print out flyers or something to give to customers about the discount cards. Make sure your employees feel welcome and like humans in stead of dollar signs.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Not terrible, but could easily be improved.

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

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

    Pros

    The employees I see and work with on a daily basis are some of the nicest and most polite people I have ever had to pleasure of working with. Everyone is always polite and eager to help customers and coworkers whenever possible. When I was training everyone was very patient and did the best they could to answer my many questions. The employee discount on the wide variety of merchandise is also nice.

    Cons

    Aside from typical retail problems, the biggest struggle of working here is the management and many corporate policies I have to deal with. The corporation is so out of touch with their customers it's almost an insult to consumers. I understand that profit margins in this type of business is not very great, but that does not excuse some of the corporate behavior. Their policies on merchandise they buy in change often, and the details are never made clear to customers or employees until there is an issue and it needs to be dealt with. That is a very good way to sum up the entire store: nothing is dealt with until it is already a major problem. The computer software the entire company runs on is long out-dated and very buggy. The entire system crashes and bugs out almost routinely and the biggest inconvenience is to the customers. Tech support for the system never offers any real solutions and never responds to errors timely. The computer problem has gotten so bad that there have been entire days where my coworkers and I cannot do our jobs because of it. I've talked to several managers about this on multiple occasions and no action has been taken to fix any of this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think a lot of problems with this company stem from apathy coming from the corporation. These are very serious issues and any other company I have worked for have done everything they can to make sure their stores and systems run very efficiently. The reason for this is because corporate managers would come in weekly or bi-weekly and work side-by-side with my coworkers and I. They experienced the same problems we did, and knew why they were significant and came up with real solutions. I think Books-A-Million would really benefit from this. Managers from corporate do frequent visits, but that is all they are-visits. They come in for an hour or two, speak with the store managers, walk around the store and warehouse, and then leave. If they did the work their employees did, I think the problems with the company would become very apparent and maybe they could come up with permanent ways to solve them.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Behind the times

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

    I worked at Books-A-Million

    Pros

    Pay is good in management

    Cons

    Not so much for average employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not everywhere is the deep south

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