The fiction section of Bogart's Bookstore and Cafe 210 North High St. Millville, NJ

My Start as a Bookseller

I began my career in 2009 when I landed a job at a small used bookstore in Millville, NJ. It's a store that has somehow survived the perils of independent store ownership for over 30 years, due in large part to the efforts of the second owner, who renamed it Bogart's Bookstore and Cafe.

I was hired in the third year of her takeover, when Bogart’s was still revamping the space to become not only the area’s only bookstore but also a community meeting point. When I started, I had no intentions of making bookselling a career. I merely needed a job, and, though I was studying English, had never given bookselling a thought. In fact, a couple years before, while seeking a career change, I applied to a big box store and was denied. I thought maybe bookselling wasn't for me.

When I signed on, Bogart’s already had a budding music and art program, but our owner was beginning to look deeply at the kinds of inventory she was offering. My expertise was in the kinds of books that are interesting to the clientele Bogart’s served. Now, we were a used book exchange program, meaning about 98% of our stock was donated to us in a variety of conditions.

My job when I started was to inspect each section and mercilessly cull until only quality, pertinent items were on the shelves. We had over 100,000 books, and more came in came in every single day, which was both a miracle and a curse. More books meant more business, but it also meant the task of refining our collection was never ending. Still, this process granted me access to some treasures—many of the most beloved parts of my book collection come from my time at Bogart's.

After four years in Millville, I was ready for a change. I had seen the job posting from WORD Bookstore on Twitter and immediately knew I was right for the job. I was ready to move to a bigger town and have access to bigger events.

I met with the manager first and felt very at home. When I met with the owner I knew it would be a perfect match.

 Now, I get to talk to the most amazing people every day—from my fellow staff members to people in the publishing world to the incredible customers that come into WORD Jersey City (Especially the members of my amazing classics book club, Much Ado About Classics, who prove every month that I am only the conduit for these smart people to talk to each other). 

I love being a bookseller. I feel lucky every time I get to handsell a book to a total stranger. I also love being the person who always gets a close friend or family member a book for every gift. It is this passion that I hope shines through on this website.

You'll see which books I deem my favorite. You'll see what I'm excited about right this moment. You'll see what cool events I am attending and authors I'm geeking out about. And hopefully, you can share with me some cool stuff you’re reading and doing, as well.

Please reach out for recommendations or questions on social media or email me at bookarista@gmail.com.