From the age of 18 to 33 I spent about 12 years working in bookstores – a Borders in my hometown of Fredericksburg, VA and a college bookstore in Richmond, VA after I moved down here to finally finish school at VCU.
The Borders years in particular (1997-2001) were very formative not just for a growing-into-adulthood Jay but also in my interests in music and books and the subsequent collections because it’s hard not to take advantage of a generous employee discount and put all of your money back into the biz when you don’t have much in the way of bills. Most of my existing library and boxed up CD collection is a consequence of these years.
Borders also provided an opportunity to discover new works thanks to review copies of books and CDs that allowed us booksellers to be informed and upsell certain works (mainly the books – most of my review copies of CDs would come from the college radio years at WVCW (2005-2008)). In some cases those books were entirely new authors (to me or anyone else), in others it was a way to get my hands on the newest book of a favorite author before anyone else. Only a handful of these Advance Review Copies (ARC) remained in the library all these years later but they remain as little memories of those halcyon days of being young and carefree and stuff.