- Former Employee★★★★★
Easy if you don't mind exploiting customers, destroying your own business, and living off RamenApr 7, 2012 - Part Time Book Seller in Seattle, WARecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
- Intelligent and friendly coworkers - Very lenient dress code - Ample paid vacation and sick days - Usually not very busy, since Amazon and nook are destroying our business - Discount at cafe makes breaks convenient - Generally higher caliber of customers than other retail - While the employee discount isn't enough to keep you from buying at Amazon so that you can pay your bills, you do get to borrow hard cover books for free for two week periods
Keep in mind the company has changed over the past few years, so this review would have been much more positive if written in 2008. My guess is that things are even worse now, though since my store closed a few months ago, I can't be sure. The biggest problem is the amount of upselling required by management. Expect to ask EVERY customer if they want a membership, tell them two benefits of the membership, ask if they want to buy a giftcard, demand they tell you their email address (actual suggested wording: "Give me your email address"), and if they have a kid, ask if they want to join the Kid's Club. Management's only solution to sales being down is to raise the goals and micro-manage sales of memberships etc. per hour, then write up cashiers when no one reaches the goals. Another issue is how the company treats its customers and expects us to follow suit. Cashiers were reprimanded for telling customers they can opt out of automatic renewal when buying a membership, though if they don't opt out, their credit card will be charged $25 the next year. Similarly, the membership changed last year to not even have the option to opt out, to require a credit card to apply, to not be cancellable and to no longer discount hard cover books 20%. This made it worse for customers renewing their memberships, but if you're honest to customers about it, your numbers will be lower and you'll be written up and potentially fired. Basically, management sees customers as walking bags of money to be exploited in the short term and requires its employees to treat them the same or else lose their jobs. The final major negative is the nook e-reader. Since stores get no revenue from e-books purchased on nooks they sell or even purchased over the store's own wifi, every nook sold means less money for the store in the long run, so less payroll for you. Memberships also don't work on e-books, though they finally changed to give $10 or $25 off one nook per year. Thus while nook sales are pushed hard, they counteract both the store's prosperity and the membership sales which are required to keep your job. So be prepared to shoot yourself in the foot and pretend to like it, though you won't be able to afford a nook with your paycheck, nor would you want to invest in one once you realize how doomed and desperate the company is. Finally, a con which seems increasingly common in retail. Not only is the pay low, but hours are cut and more workers hired, so that they can have numerous untrained people working for minimum wage 15 hours a week instead of experienced staff that can live off their wages. Oh, and expect a 25 cent yearly raise if you get one at all, and no tips if you work in the cafe.Continue reading
Other Employee Reviews
- Former Employee, more than 5 years★★★★★
Love Barnes!Mar 21, 2023 - Store Manager in Los Angeles, CARecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Great coworkers Flexible hours Lots of great books to read Good health benefits Fun employee perks
Inconsistent hours Sometimes unreachable expectations Poor communication from corporateContinue reading
- Former Employee, less than 1 year★★★★★
You can really feel the book industry dying every day in this store.Feb 24, 2023 - Childrens Lead Bookseller in Naperville, ILRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
I liked a few of my coworkers. Employee discount was decent. The software they use to manage inventory, etc. is intuitive. As a sales job at a big corporate chain, it's not bad. They consistently pay you for the time you spend in the store, not just your scheduled hours.
The specific management at your store is going to make a big difference in your coworker experience. My store manager was abusive towards us. He had severe mood swings and made all our overlapping shifts worse. I actually knew someone who had a calendar where they'd mark the shifts they had in common with our SM so they could mentally prepare. There's a high turnover rate among booksellers. The work is mostly standing - you can't sit on the sales floor, behind registers, etc. This might be fine for someone in great health and technically legal, but it's archaic and hard on most people. 2am annual inventory process is horrible. Not a job for someone who loves reading! Expect to be asked to do what corporate says re: book recs, displays, etc. Expect to have that work nitpicked like crazy. BN is more business, less books, and if you're looking for a bookish job, this is the place for someone with very mainstream contemporary interests. For a genuinely fun book job, apply at an indie store.