Books-A-Million

  www.booksamillion.com
  www.booksamillion.com

Books-A-Million Reviews

Updated November 25, 2014
Updated November 25, 2014
422 Reviews
2.2
422 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Terry Finley
122 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. 1 person found this helpful  

    Didn't know I applied for YoMo...

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

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

    Pros

    1) Flexible hours; 2) Talking to book lovers from all walks of life; 3) Discount, which is 30%; 4) Book Checkout Program; and, 5) Advanced Reader Copies/Editions. That about sums up the benefits.

    Cons

    Hm, where to start? First, the training is horrible. I've been at the job for two or more months now, and I still don't feel properly trained. The training, and designated trainers, are sporadic. I also found it completely ridiculous that my "register" training was really just them teaching me how to sell (*cough* force *cough*) the card. None of the important technical functions of the register were explained. Second, the SPIFs and benefits received from selling the cards and magazines weren't explained very well. I still don't really know how it works, and since it's not my main motivation for working at BAM, I'll just remain ignorant. Third, I didn't know that I was considered a YoMo employee as well. Why in the world should I, as a Bookseller, have to wash dishes, clean the YoMo area? It also doesn't help that the YoMo employees always leave the dishes in the sink so that the booksellers pretty much have to do them after we've clean our part of the store. Which brings me to another con: why is that place understaffed all the time? The company knows darn well it takes two individuals to close YoMo. The book part of the store is understaffed most of the time, too. Next, we have to clean, which is not the problem, but it's only bad because we rarely have adequate supplies to clean at all. Why don't we have gloves, and why do we have 10 vacuums that don't work? I also don't think we have holiday pay, but you want me to work on Thanksgiving...um, ok. The opportunities for advancement or for a promotion seem rather limited as well. It's going to be really interesting to see how the company handles the minimum wage increase that is coming for Maryland. BAM will probably just skimp and save by cutting hours and understaffing the store even more.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a better training program; stop pushing the cards (and magazines) so hard, no one should be scared to be fired because they can't make their "goals" by forcing additional products/donations down customers throats; make sure stores have adequate supplies; make sure YoMo has two people in the stores at all time; and, reduce the merchandise on the register counters.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Fun first Internship

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - IT Internn in Franklin, TN
    Former Employee - IT Internn in Franklin, TN

    I worked at Books-A-Million as an intern (more than an year)

    Pros

    Fun atmosphere, engaging work, great people

    Cons

    Sometimes wasn't very sure of what management wanted.

    Recommends
  3.  

    They're trying...

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

    I have been working at Books-A-Million full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Improved dress code, great employees, great discount, products you can really be excited about, getting kids excited about reading, local charity drives, Coffee for the Troops

    Cons

    Terrible raises (when you get them), having to push sales to the point of being obnoxious or otherwise risking your job, dropped express shipping from the membership although competitors still offer with their's

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Some big changes were made recently and they are fantastic steps in the right direction, but I am still being asked to push magazine subscriptions on people to the point where I feel belligerent and more often than not the customer starts to get irritated. I would rather they enjoy their visit to the last minute rather than pushing something on them right before they walk out the door. To be honest, "free" subscriptions is what PREVENTS me from going into stores like For Your Entertainment and will likely keep me from going into a Books-a-Million store (but not shopping on the website), after I leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    BAM is a great place to work - if you don't mind not getting paid much.

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

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

    Pros

    Great coworkers where I work!
    30% off everything
    Being able to borrow a book
    Working with people and interacting with customers

    Cons

    $7.60 an hour which, at part time, isn't even enough to pay rent in a unrealistically small apartment.
    Higher management needs improvement!
    The pressure to sell cards is out of hand.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    People are actually getting more and more reluctant to shop with us because of our card offering. People don't want to hear it every time they come in, and at around $20 a card, people ESPECIALLY don't want to hear about it more than once.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 6 people found this helpful  

    Too much pressure and stress. Unrealistic expectations.

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

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

    Pros

    -Absolutely wonderful co-workers. They are by far some of the greatest people I've ever had the chance to meet. Very quirky and unique individuals.
    -Very relaxing atmosphere... when you're on the floor and helping the customers.
    -BOOKS! You also get a lovely 30% discount as an employee.
    -Yogurt Mountain.
    -Not a strict dress code.

    Cons

    Ahh. So much. When I first began working here, I don't think I truly understood how much pressure there would be on selling the discount cards, magazine subscriptions, donations, and anything else you could possibly imagine. I came into this job with confidence and extreme happiness because I was able to work at a bookstore part-time. I have a lot of customer service experience and I truly enjoy helping out customers. However, books-a-million cares little of that. I assumed everyone was over-exaggerating, but it's true. All they really want is for you to sell their cards and scam people into their magazine subscriptions. It's all about the numbers.

    Okay, there are so many flaws in this system.
    If you are a good seller and can easily push people into buying things they don't want, this may be a wonderful job for you to have. However, if you're like me, and feel like a firm no means no, then run away. Perhaps it's just my personality but I can't convince someone to buy something that they don't need. I think about how I'd feel if I were in their situation. A vast majority of people that come to our store, since it is located in one of the most popular malls, are either tourists or people that don't come here regularly. It's very hard to convince someone to buy something that they are clearly not going to use. "I don't come here, ever" is obviously a good stopping point, but no. We are expected to still push that sale. Free shipping online is just simply not enough to make someone spend $25 when they can just head over to amazon. COUNTLESS people come into our store just to buy little token gifts-not even books-and it is obvious that they aren't regular customers, yet we are supposed to somehow get them to spend an extra $25. The price is TOO HIGH. Many people are very interested in the program, as it does give many benefits, but as soon as we say "It's $25", you're likely to lose that sale. It just doesn't seem worth it to people who aren't regular book shoppers, and I can understand that. Maybe I'm too passive and empathetic. I don't know.

     It's also unfair that BAM doesn't take into consideration the fact that people who are making large purchases usually already have a card--these sales count AGAINST you. Logic would tell you that any purchase made with a discount card should not be included in the total sales % we are expected to make.

    **!!MAGAZINES!! **
    Alright, this is clearly a SCAM. Most people are very aware of this. "Risk-free" trials are messy things that should be avoided at all costs. The only people who go for this are young college-aged kids that have never had an awful experience with such a thing and perhaps the elderly (but I've never asked, because that just seems downright evil). Anyway, you're supposed to be really shady about this entire thing. I'm not. My conscious would never let me be. I tell everyone that they HAVE to go to the website so that they won't get a subscription. Unfortunately most people will forget and there will be many, many unhappy customers.
    Also, why are we even still doing this? Magazines are slowly but surely becoming something of the past, and so that in itself is why we hear far more "no's". There is truly no way you can pitch this--it's either yes or no. Another reason why many people say no is because by the time we reach the magazine stage, the customer is already worn out from all the talk about discount cards, donations, etc. They don't want to spend yet even MORE time signing up for free magazines.

    Last but not least: Donations.
    Currently, it's coffee for troops. This is wonderful, sure, but the price is outrageous to me. We are expected to ask customers to donate $10 for a pound of coffee. That's sometimes 2x their purchase. Many are interested, like the discount card, until the price is named. They're not bad people; it's just simply too high. I'm sure people wouldn't even spend $10 on coffee for themselves.

    Interactions with customers should be fun, easy, and stress-free. I can't bond with the customer when I have to focus on shoving a million things down their throats.

    ONE MORE THING: we are not booksellers. that is highly misleading--we are discount card sellers, essentially.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'm sorry, but it really annoys me when the managers are relaxed in their office while scolding us "booksellers" through the mic for not meeting the numbers. I just want to be like, how about YOU try and sell these cards and magazines and everything else. I'd love to see that.

    -Get rid of magazines for millionaires; it's shady and outdated.
    -Reduce the price on discount cards or offer something like a free tote bag for joining.
    -Exclude the sales from people that used their discount card in our % that we are supposed to meet.
    -FOCUS ON THE BOOOOOOOKS.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Thank God for the coworkers!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Books-A-Million

    Pros

    Be glad your coworkers are so awesome and supportive, because you won't get that support from management.

    Cons

    The business is dying, so their business model seems to be based upon at the register incentives that the clientele is (for the most part) too smart for.

  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Cafe Seller

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cafe Specialist in Rapid City, SD
    Former Employee - Cafe Specialist in Rapid City, SD

    I worked at Books-A-Million part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Okay environment
    You can borrow books

    Cons

    They try to turn you into a con-artist. By this I mean they want you to sign up anyone with a credit card for a free trial of magazine subscriptions that they have to cancel in a certain number of days or else they're stuck with it for years to come. I would never work as an over the phone magazine sales person because it felt dishonest, and I felt the same way with this aspect of the job at BAM.
    A lot of pressure to sell. Disproportionate to benefits and pay. No part-time benefits.
    Terrible about accommodating family emergencies or semesterly changes in school schedules.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Part time people need benefits too (maybe this changed when some aspects of Obamacare kicked in, I don't know)... also turning your employees into pushy sales people who won't take no for an answer is not the way to get loyal employees or customers.

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

    Not what I expected

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

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

    Pros

    The hours are flexible. The employee discount makes it really nice. Management is understanding about schedule conflicts.

    Cons

    Very low pay. Training felt rushed and was in some cases lacking. Hours will be cut if sales goals are not made. Full time nearly impossible to achieve; you have to keep making the difficult sales goals in order to stay full time. Magazines for Millionaires is a scam.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Cheating workers out of tips

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

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

    Pros

    At least there's a tip jar. :-/

    Cons

    I've worked in the cafe for years and its become an increasing issue that we do not offer a way to be tipped on the credit card machine. We DO have a tip jar but not everybody Carey's cash. I get multiple people a day that ask about that option , which means I'm losing money. I am grateful I am not on a waitress salary but given Booksamillion is cheap and pays minimum wage with no raises I don't think it's right. Every coffee shop I know has the tip option on the machine. Even the mom and pop places, which makes Booksamillion look ridiculous. Please bam , get your stuff together and appreciate your employees!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a tip option on the cafe card machine!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Great place to work!

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

    I have been working at Books-A-Million full-time

    Pros

    Love the book checkout system, and the employee discount was just increased to 30% everyday. Enjoy working with my team, including the DM, RVP, my staff and other store managers. Goals are challenging, but achievable, with the right team and focus.

    Cons

    All expenditures, including salaries, new store openings, even office supplies, are tightly budgeted. There is absolutely no waste, which can also be considered a pro, but approval for everything gets tedious. I think the CEO must have been raised by a mother who fed five kids on a sack of flour, a sack of beans, 3 lbs of government cheese, and four gallons of milk every month, because he certainly knows how to stretch a dollar. It's a great lesson for other companies, but if you like expensive, touristy locales for meetings, conferences, etc. look elsewhere. Salaries are low, but if you love the job, it's worth it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recent responses to Glassdoor surveys are a start to repairing your reputation, it's great that you take the reviews seriously. Keep it up, and follow thru on annual raises for staff and management.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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