About Us: Jouke

In a series of interviews conducted by ABC’s Maria Minaya, we’re going to introduce you to (almost) everyone who works at The American Book Centers in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Books form an integral part of our lives not only because they’re our bread and butter, but because our passion for them came first. Our mission is to pass them on. By reading these interviews you’ll discover the faces behind your favorite sections and get a glimpse of who we are.

Meet Jouke

Where were you born?

In a hospital in a small town outside of Eindhoven.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?

Cornflakes for breakfast, sandwiches with peanut butter and sambal for lunch, lasagna for dinner.

Not a fan of green beans. Dipping them in apple sauce helped.

Were you read to as a child?

Yes, my father would read Paulus de Boskabouter to us, doing all the different voices for the animals and Paulus and Eucalypta the Witch.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?

Yes. An insanely massive collection of Dutch comics. And we read books from the local library.

Quick free associations:

Paperbacks: I like pockets.
Sale: Preferably.
Magazines: I don’t really care for magazines nowadays.
Price gun: I love unpacking the boxes that come in in the shipment. Scanning in the books and using the price gun is part of that.
Cash Register: Customers.
Discount Card: -10%.
“I’m looking for a book…”: Let’s see if we can find it.

What is your connection to books and the written word now?

I go through cycles of voracious reading and then reading hardly at all. I guess I’m sort of manic.

What sections do you oversee and what are your other responsibilities in the store?

I am the buyer at ABC The Hague for Thrillers(/Crime/Mystery//Suspense), Business and Economics, Law, Ancient History, Mythology, Game Novels, Board Games.

And I am the back-up buyer for Philosophy, Religion, Horror, Humor, Sports.

What is the best part of your job?

Meeting friendly people and hopefully make them happy. Seeing good books being bought, knowing their readers will most likely have an excellent time with them.

How would you describe your customer service, i.e., how do you do your job in terms of: cars (Ferrari or Fiat?), pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), or shoes (Puma or Prada)?

I’d like to think I’m a helicopter: I’ll take you where you wish to go, fast, while broadening your horizon.

When did you start work at ABC?

March 2009.

Who is your favorite author? Or who are you reading now?

I have favorite characters, more than favorite authors, I guess. Harry Bosch, James “Sandman Slim” Stark, Calvin & Hobbes, Harry Hole, Vin, Jaime Lannister, Harry Dresden. And many more.

What is the opposite of bookselling?

I don’t know. Is this where I am supposed to think of something clever or creative…?

What do you think people should know about ABC?

We can order books (even second hand ones) that we do not stock, free of charge. And possibly even print them on the spot.