About Us: Jeroen W

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 Jeroen W

Where were you born?
I was born in Hengelo, and since that’s in Twente, that makes me a Tukker. Tukkers are the Dutch equivalent of hobbits. Not that we’re small. We just eat and drink a lot and are backward in an endearing way. Also, we have hairy feet.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
Arretjescake! It’s a kind of cake my mother makes that consists mostly of cocoa, butter, raw eggs and biscuits. The nightmare of any decent hardworking coronary artery.

I didn’t like (and still don’t like) bell peppers. Or pineapple.

Were you read to as a child?
When I was little my mother always told me stories about a squirrel, but she made them up herself. I think I was only read to in primary school. Although, a few months back, my girlfriend and I took turns reading a really awful romance novel to each other. We didn’t finish it. At least, I didn’t.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Yes, mostly Agatha Christie; my mother devoured them. My father only read the paper. We regularly went to the library, where I borrowed completely age-inappropriate SF-novels. I always angrily skipped over the sex scenes; wondering why someone would write about naked women when you could use that space for more fights and adventure! My priorities were different then.

Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: Cheap!
Sale: Yellow pricetags.
Magazines: SciFiNow!
Price gun: Hey Joe, where are you going with that pricegun in your hand?
Cash Register: ring
Discount Card: My awful handwriting.
“I’m looking for a book…”: Always a challenge not to reply with“Oh really?”

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
Well, I read a lot. Books as well as newspapers, articles online, magazines. I always carry a book with me wherever I go. Going on any kind of a journey without having something to read is unthinkable to me.

What sections do you oversee and what are your other responsibilities in the store?
I buy the Science Fiction and Fantasy books in The Hague and sometimes I work in Amsterdam, doing this and that, but mostly helping customers.

What is the best part of your job?
Helping customers find what they want, especially when they didn’t know they wanted it until I told them so.

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’m a pitbull, I’ll hang on to a customer until I’m sure they get what they want.

When did you start work at ABC?
I started in July 2011.

Who is your favorite author? Or who are you reading now?
My favorite authors are: Terry Pratchett, George R. R. Martin, Chris Ware, John Steinbeck, Daniel Clowes, Kazuo Ishiguro, Alan Moore, William Gibson, and Gerard Reve.

What is the opposite of bookselling?
Stealing televisions.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
We care just as much about books as our customers do! Please ask us anything you like and tip us about any books you think we should have, but don’t!