Saturday, December 27, 2014

Now Hiring: Full Time Bookseller

Pulpfiction Books, Vancouver’s largest independent bookstore, seeks a mature, enthusiastic individual interested in joining us as a full time bookseller in late January or early February 2015.

The successful candidate will:

• Work a full 40 hours per week.  This is a full time position.

• Not currently be attending college or university full time, or plan to within two to three years.

• Be available for a variety of shifts, including mornings, evenings, and weekends at all three of our locations.

• Possess good practical intelligence, and the ability to work quickly and multitask under pressure.  The job involves a lot of physical and mental activity, and is best compared to fast-paced warehouse or restaurant work.  Those interested in standing behind a cash desk socializing and/or being paid to read will not be a good fit with us.

• Be client-focused.  Every time we hire we invariably interview someone who knows lots about books, but very little about client service, and even less about sales.  We can teach our retail systems to almost anyone, but we can't teach empathy and good judgment, which are more elusive components of character, and highly prized around here.

• Have previous customer service or supervisory experience.  Previous book-related experience is preferred but not required. Some of our most valuable staff came to us with no previous bookselling experience.

• Have a wide familiarity with contemporary literary fiction and non-fiction.

• Already possess an undergraduate degree or equivalent work history.

• Bring other skills and abilities to the table.  Examples: social media (Twitter; Blogger); basic accounting and/or bookkeeping skills; carpentry; HTML; SQL, PHP & MYSQL coding experience, etc. etc. etc.

We offer competitive compensation and a vibrant, entrepreneurial work environment.

To apply for this position, please forward a detailed resume to Please, NO phone calls, non-resume email queries, or walk-in requests for employment.

We thank all applicants for their interest, but may, depending on resume volume, not be able to reply to everyone.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What's News @ PFB -- Late October 2014

1.  Kind of short notice, but we're launching Image Comics' The Field, by our friends Ed Brisson and Simon Roy, at PFB Main Street, on Friday October 24th from 7-9pm.  Cheap graphic novels, complimentary snack foods & inexpensive but tasty Chilean wine. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by.

2. New bookmarks, featuring likenesses of Simone Weil, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Zadie Smith, designed by our good friend Don King.

3.  We're now carrying Short Stack Editions -- a series of small, hardbound cookbooks published in Brooklyn, each issue focusing on a particular ingredient.  Other limited-distribution food mags coming in the next few months!  If you have a favorite that you'd like to see on our shelves, please drop us a line, or call.

4.  Rebecca Solnit's Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness, new from Trinity University Press, just arrived and is now out on the shelves.

5.  Classy-looking PFB totes with art by graphic genius & old, old friend Rebecca Dart, coming in time for Christmas!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Note About New Books That's Too Long to Tweet

We started carrying new books a year or two into our now approximately fourteen-and-a-half year run.  The big title back then was Yann Martel's Life of Pi, and what seemed like dozens of people a day would drop into the old shop at 2418 Main to ask for it.  My standard reply -- "No, it's too recent for us to have used, you should go buy it new at [LOCAL INDEPENDENT DISCOUNT BOOKSTORE] down the road" -- felt dumb, especially with all the repetition.  Some people thanked me for the information and headed off, never to be seen again.  Others said something like, "I support you and I want to buy it here.  I don't care if it's new or used."

Enough of this, and even I got the message.  We opened a wholesale account and brought in a few Life of Pis, plus half a dozen other titles, and sold them at full price, tax off.  Sales weren't anything to cheer about, but all the original books eventually sold and we ordered some more, plus a few additional titles with what profit we made from order #1. 

A few years of this, and the front room was full of new books.  We went to 20% off on almost everything, then, a year or two later, added a two-tier discount -- 20% off in-shop/30% off prepaid special orders -- and sales abruptly went through the roof.

We -- despite me still thinking of us as the tiny neighborhood bookstore that could -- are now receiving extra discounts from most of our suppliers based on our sales volumes, which are substantial. So, as a "Thank you" to everyone who ordered from us in the early days, and then waited patiently for their books to arrive while we worked out "systems," I'm going to try an additional experiment, starting this week and running through Christmas.

Most, but not all, $30+ cover price hardcovers in all of our three locations are now 30% off in-shop, & 40% off if ordered directly from their publishers, which adds a few days to the special order process. I'm curious to see what this does to our volumes and the sort of titles ordered in.  Again, this is an experiment, and I reserve the right to cancel or modify it at any time.  But it should make for an interesting next few months.