Books-A-Million - Would be an enjoyable job if it were more about selling books and less about selling rewards cards. | Glassdoor
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"Would be an enjoyable job if it were more about selling books and less about selling rewards cards."

Star Star Star Star Star
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Bookseller in Charlotte, NC
Current Employee - Bookseller in Charlotte, NC
Doesn't Recommend
Positive Outlook
No opinion of CEO

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

Pros

Generally stimulating atmosphere, being in a bookstore is always fun. Interesting things to look at, and often intelligent or interesting customers to talk to. Usually good coworkers, who also love books, or at least intelligent types.

Cons

The company will never give you a raise (fact) and they have pretty poor benefits. All the corporation cares about, and therefore all your managers are pressured to care about, is how many rewards cards and magazine subscriptions you get people to sign up for while working at the register. You have to be a salesman to keep this job, and the commissions for what you sell are pretty small.

Other Employee Reviews for Books-A-Million

  1. Helpful (1)

    "A meatgrinder that takes everything and gives nothing back. Company dedicated to burnout."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - MIT in Birmingham, AL
    Former Employee - MIT in Birmingham, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Books-A-Million full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    * I made some great lifelong friends here. Some of the employees are truly fantastic people.
    * 30% off Books and you are suppose to be able to borrow books from stores (works half the time if a manager is aware).

    Cons

    Company offers low wages/salaries, below industry averages. No bonuses except for management. Raises are miniscule and rare (1-2% raises possibly every other year if management agrees.. I am not joking.).

    No compensation or overtime for time worked on weekends and time over 40hrs a week. Comptime is offered but management never makes good on comptime promises, there simply isn't enough people to cover hours and new projects ALWAYS take prescedence over comptime. If you have to work extra hours on YOUR time, you can kiss those hours goodbye and you will not be financially compensated as BAM does not pay overtime to their salaried employees.

    Extremely high expectations of workload. Be prepared to work almost every weekend and nights practically everyday and more days on the fly. Thanksgiving and Christmas time are theirs so give those up.. Don't expect holiday bonuses either. There will be none.

    Now about the management.. Excess of management. Ratio of managers to workers is ridiculous. In some departments the ratio is 4 to 1. with as many managers as this company has, projects are poorly run and very little actual project management is actually performed. All Projects are poorly run, planned, executed and managed. Projects run long and no actual project hour projections are done. Many managers do not even understand the projects they manage or what they affect. Documentation is sparse. The majority of projects are reactionary and knee-jerk responses. Most of the time many projects get done because of the few (many cases 1) actual technical person on the project who knows how to coordinate with other departments and do some project management.

    Extreme lack of innovation. AD-HOC implentations will become production. Despite how competitive the book industry has become, there is little innovation in this company. What worked years and decades ago, is still what drives the engine here. No actual leveraging of social media, smartphones, or the like. All implementations are of a very very basic nature. Given this, I am not quite certain how this company will survive. I expect this chain to go the way of Borders because they are not changing with the times, not leveraging new technologies or opportunities like analysing customer loyalty data or using CRM solutions. To this day, the company has no idea of their sales demographics aside from analyzing basic SKU level items. Very very very basic analysis done. you'll think you are back in the 1990s.

    There is little or no investment in employees. No training in new technologies. Prepare to be working on very old and very proprietary systems and find ways to get that system to "function" as desired with little or no actual expense. It sounds innovative but really it's just cheap. The systems you are asked to work on are so old many are EOL (end of life) and technological barries prevent proper interfacing with the tech they want. Company saves money on the bottom line by cutting corners on tech that becomes difficult to grow and expand on (no future planning). It's not innovative, it's cheap.. Example (Win 98 computers still in use)

    The few people left have carved out a nice little political niche. If you do decide to work here, you will quickly find out who the workers are because it is few and far between..

    Bottom line - Be prepared to work Understaffed, underpaid, overworked, and be underappreciated. You will come to hate your job and find you have no time for your family. Stay away.. Your family will thank you and you will thank yourself..

    Advice to Management

    Cut the fat and get rid of the excess managers. Hire some managers with actual project management experience. Hire technical people who can help you leverage new technologies. pay your people what they are worth if you want to keep them. Invest in your employees.. Your bottom line is not going to be worth much if everyone who is skilled leaves the company.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Come for the coffee and friends, leave for the books. And everything else."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Bookseller/Barista in East Birmingham, AL
    Current Employee - Bookseller/Barista in East Birmingham, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The book checkout program.

    Most of my co-workers and store-level managers are great people; I've made a lot of friends working for BAM.

    My regular customers in the cafe.

    Willing to work with student schedules.

    Generally, a lot of hours are available, if you want to work... but not full time.

    Cons

    Books a Million is a failing business model, and I think everyone involved can smell the smelly smell of it's impending doom.

    The management, (district management and up) is clueless and egotistical. It's almost as if they bought a copy of How to Run a Business for Dummies, and decided that every page was holy gospel written by a combination of Jesus and Sam Walton.

    The employee discount is insulting. Even on paydays where we get 30% off, it's STILL cheaper to order off Amazon AND pay for shipping.

    Instead of focusing on offering a pleasant customer experience, a nicely decorated store, warm coffee atmosphere, etc, all they care about is selling the discount cards and the complete and utter scam that is the magazine subscriptions.

    Customers are seriously expected to throw down $20 ( ! ) to get a 10% discount, online shipping, and wi-fi.... you read that right, PAYING for wi-fi. You can go to McDonald's, Starbucks, even Krystal and get it for free; how is that a BENEFIT of membership? Shipping on Amazon is FREE if you have patience and the least bit of planning skills.

    We also sell Nooks, which is money in the bank of Barnes and Noble. Why? God only knows. I have no words for this. None.

    Almost no one gets to work full time, and there are no raises. Small bonuses are given for every card and magazine sold AFTER the store makes it's goals. I prefer to focus on being nice to customers, making quality coffee, and getting my extra money through tips (an extra $10 a day, easily. Making $10 a day selling cards is a *complete* impossibility, especially in the cafe).

    If sales are down, the DM starts hanging store gift cards in our faces, like little carrots to hungry horses. Unappetizing, moldy carrots. It's hard to complain about free gift cards, but let me try... if they want to increase sales, try offering something of actual value, like, real money. For someone making $7.25 an hour and BARELY scraping out the rent and utilities for each month, I need cash. My landlord does not accept the latest James Patterson novel, cupcakes, or Angry Birds frou frou, As long as they let us check out books for free, gift cards are completely unnecessary. I personally feel my intelligence being insulted as if management thinks they're pulling one over on me and the other employees.

    Also, the cafe is treated like an unwanted stepchild. In the era of online shopping, the cafe should be one of the top 3 priorities of each store, because that's the one thing we can offer that Amazon or eBay can't. However, very few people in leadership seem to understand this. The decor looks like it was purchased wholesale from a store that specializes in unwanted garbage from the 1990's.

     Instead of offering locally made baked goods, we truck them in frozen and months old from somewhere near Atlanta. The label says Cheesecake Factory. The taste says otherwise. Waste is rampant.

    Advice to Management

    STREAMLINE! CUT WASTE! Cut out about half of the book selection, the unpopular baked goods, etc. There has to be over a million dollars of inventory in each store that will NEVER sell. Start offering better sale prices; Amazon has us WHIPPED on both price and selection... severely.

    FORGET ABOUT MAGAZINES. I handle about a call a week from a severely exasperated customer who has been completely unable to cancel their subscription, forcing me to personally call the scam company, provide them with evidence that I work for BAM, and only then is there a chance that the customer's subscription will in fact be cancelled.

    The cafe, as is, is not enough to serve as a reason to visit the store, and it certainly doesn't make up for ripoff prices and a high pressure sales atmosphere that neither employee nor customer enjoy in the least.

    Have smaller, more efficient stores. So much electricity and lighting goes to waste keeping the unsold and overpriced inventory warm and dry until we ship it off to destinations unknown.

    Focus on hiring people that genuinely like the cafe AND books.

    My final advice to management is to start viewing your employees as human beings and decent, functional, intelligent, and rational members of society. And do the same for customers.

There are newer employer reviews for Books-A-Million
There are newer employer reviews for Books-A-Million

See Most Recent

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