Assistant Manager Position Open
The primary responsibility of this position will be supervising the day-to-day operations of Eureka Books. If something involves a walk-in customer, the Assistant Manager is probably responsible for it. That includes supervising employees, assisting with the selection and purchase of new books and sidelines, merchandising, and helping with buying used books and Internet sales. This is in addition to the sorts of work we all do: customer service, cashier duties, and general bookstore maintenance, such as shelving and organizing.
Applicants should have bookstore or retail management experience. We are especially hoping to find someone familiar with the buying and selling of new books, but people with experience running a retail store, particularly an independent shop with no corporate overlords or fat procedure manual, are encouraged to apply.
To apply (and this is the first test for the position), drop off or mail in a resume and cover letter. The cover letter should provide a summary of your experience and qualifications for the job. We’re in the book business and that means paper. Electronically submitted resumes will get about as much attention as e-books, which is to say the delete key is just one index finger away. While we like paper, we rely on a lot of software programs, so be sure to tell us about your computer experience.
Please don’t spend too much time telling us how much you love books or how you’ve always longed to work in a bookstore. We’ll assume that’s the case, otherwise you’d be applying to work at BevMo. If you are also applying to work at BevMo, good luck, but we’re not looking for someone who simply wants any old retail job.
This is not a cush job, but it is an interesting one (we think). We work hard, all day. You will not have any time to read on the job (a common misconception about bookstores), though we expect you to be the sort of person who reads a lot in your off hours. If we ask you for an interview, be prepared to field a lot of specific questions about this, which thus far no one has faked their way through.
You will also not have time to be bored. You will be challenged constantly and faced with surprisingly complex problems that need to be solved on the fly. On the same day, you may interact with a homeless person, an avid reader looking for advice choosing a title for a book club, a teenager trying to decide what to read after the Divergent series, the curator of a prestigious library, and the odd billionaire.
You will be expected to work at least one weekend day as well as some evenings during tourist season and between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our regular shift is very civilized: 9:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. We work hard to keep everyone’s schedule the same from week to week, but some flexibility in scheduling is required.
The salary for this job is $13.50 to $15.50 per hour, depending on experience. Benefits include health care, 10 days of paid vacation, three days of paid sick leave, a couple of paid holidays, and an iPhone or an iPhone allowance (we do a lot of communicating through iMessage). Two to four hours of overtime is typical each week for the assistant manager, and will be paid at time-and-half. We can also help with relocation expenses.
Like most bookstores, we trend liberal but we are a store and by definition, capitalist, so we actually make some effort to cater to Republicans and Libertarians. (Yes, we have the new Bill O’Reilly book.) We are more likely to talk about the Giants than the Democrats. Openness to a diversity of opinions is required.
The application period starts now and ends when we hire someone. Procrastination is not a qualification for this job.
Eureka Books • 426 2nd Street, Eureka, CA 95501 • 707-444-9593
On July 14, after 55 years, the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, will publish her second novel. Go Set a Watchman explores the same events as To Kill a Mockingbird, but from an adult’s perspective. Lee actually wrote this novel first, but it was never published and the manuscript had been lost until recently.
In honor of this exciting new book, Eureka Books and the Eureka Theater are bringing the Oscar-winning film To Kill a Mockingbird to the big screen, for one night only: Friday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5, and all proceeds benefit the theater and its restoration (a really good cause!).
When Friday, July 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where Eureka Theater, 612 F Street
What To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck on the big screen
If you buy a copy of Go Set a Watchman from us before the show, we’ll give you a free ticket. So mark your calendars (or call us at 707-444-9593 and reserve a copy of Go Set a Watchman now).
Why We Don’t Celebrate Banned Books Week.
Every September, the American Library Association (A.L.A.) celebrates Banned Books Week. Thousands of libraries and bookstores put up displays of banned books like Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, and Ulysses. Eureka Books never does.
This year’s list (permalink here) of the most frequently challenged books, compiled by the Office of Intellectual Freedom (the A.L.A. unit with the most Orwellian-sounding name), include Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis, and A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard. The reason these books have been challenged are drugs, sex, and language. Homosexuality, racial slurs, and political viewpoint are other common reasons books are challenged. Challenges are mostly made by parents and community members concerned about books available in libraries and taught in schools.
Did you catch what I did?
I started out talking about “banned” books and then I switched to “challenged” books. Book banning is easy to oppose; challenges, a murky concept as described on the A.L.A. website, are less black and white.
It’s a common ploy, using banned and challenged interchangeably. Pay attention next time you read an article about Banned Books Week. Look at the A.L.A.’s website for the same bait-and-switch maneuver.
Even David Goldenberg, of the myth-busting FiveThirtyEight blog, did it with his recent post, We Tried—And Failed—to Find the Most Banned Book in America. [I attempt answer Goldenberg’s question about the most banned books in America here.]
The reason Goldenberg failed was that the A.L.A. won’t show anyone the data used to compile the list. He finally settles on And Tango Makes Three as probably the most challenged book in America (note the switch, from banned to challenged!). Tango is a picture book about a true story of two male penguins who adopt a baby chick at a zoo. It’s challenged as a gay-lifestyle parable. Really, I’m not making that up.
But here’s the thing, despite being the “most challenged” book in America, Tango has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and has been translated into many languages. This year, look for a 10th anniversary deluxe edition.
Wait a minute. A bestselling banned book? Isn’t that an oxymoron? How can a banned book sell so well?
Here’s how, and it’s the reason we don’t celebrate Banned Books Week at Eureka Books: The books are promoted and sold as “banned” books, and readers are encouraged to “celebrate the freedom to read” by buying and reading them. The clear subtext is to encourage a feeling of superiority (“I read banned books”) among those of us (me included) with liberal, left-leaning sensibilities.
But superior to whom? To conservative parents who don’t want their children exposed to four-letter words or to the real-life horrors Jaycee Dugard suffered during her 18 years of captivity.
You or I might disagree with those opinions, but I suspect few parents would object to a high school library turning down a donation of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Explicit S/M sex scenes probably aren’t appropriate for 14-year-olds.
So if we aren’t going to expose our children at publicly funded institutions to every kind of printed matter, then there have to be standards (spoken or unspoken) about what is and is not appropriate. Discussions and even disagreements about those standards are appropriate topics for parents, schools and libraries to engage in. [Amy Stewart, a co-owner of Eureka Books, weighs in with her perspective as a writer.]
While certain books do get challenged regularly, very few of them are actually banned at the local level. Even if a book is removed from one library or school, it’s not as if the book cannot be found nearby. After all, there are millions of copies of the 2014 top-challenged books in circulation.
I support freedom of expression, but I won’t use Banned Books Week to belittle the heart-felt concerns of people whose political and social values I don’t share. I don’t think they are right to try to remove most books from schools, and I am glad they almost always lose their battles (and they almost always lose).
Ironically, the people who challenge books may have the strongest belief in the printed word—books are so powerful to them that they have to fight against them. That sentiment, even if applied in a questionable way, always gives me encouragement in the day-to-day slog of keeping a bookstore alive and thriving.
NOTE: In all fairness, it’s entirely possible that a headline writer came up with the title of Mr. Goldenberg’s 538.com blog post, but it’s a perfect example of how “challenged” books get confused with “banned” books.
This July 4th, during the Old Town Independence Day Street Fair, Eureka Books will host it’s 8th annual dollar-book extravaganza. Everything outside the store will be $1! These are overstock, leftovers from estates we acquired, and books we need to move to make more space. There will be art books, comics, lots of cookbooks, novels, self-help, Spanish language books, books in Japanese, even local history overstock. We’ll move close to 1,000 books from 10 am to 5 pm. Don’t miss it!
At Eureka Books, you can now swap your (gently) used books for almost anything in the store, even new books and most special orders.
Up until now, swap credit was good for used books in the store only. With the new program, you can trade your used books for new books, too. A very few exceptions apply.
In addition to books, swap credit is good for maps, prints, t-shirts, tote bags, pouches and greeting cards. Nearly everything in the store — and most things we can order — can be bought with swap credit.
So read, swap, and repeat. Expand your mind; help save the planet.