My Job in 5: James Howorth
Describe your role.
Officially, I'm a Company Director at The Edge of the World Bookshop Ltd. In reality my role is mainly being the shop manager. I'm responsible for seeing that the shop runs smoothly, which involves everything from buying in stock; working on the shop floor; paying invoices; sorting staffing - to cleaning the staff toilets and doing the daily hoovering.
What do you like best about your role?
Its very focused. My wife Rachael and I run the company. If the shop sales increase, we make more money. If the shop doesn't take enough sales, we can't pay our mortgage and lose our house. This obviously can be stressful, but we have no upper tiers of management to deal with and take a huge amount of pride in the thriving business we have created. I personally think I'd find it really difficult to work for somebody else now.
Which new projects or titles are you working on at the moment?
We are constantly updating the shop and have new titles coming in every day. We have just finished creating a lovely cosy corner with a rug and chairs in our children's section. We also run author events outside the shop and have just booked Kiran Millwood Hargrave to talk about her new book, 'The Mercies', which we're super-excited about!
What skills do you need for your role?
My wife, Rachael, and I have both worked at bookshops in the past, which is a good start. We've also both done a wide variety of other jobs and have found that drawing on all of our past experience in these has been a huge help too. Most people say they'd like to run a bookshop because they love books. This is obviously essential, but I think that a love of dealing with people is just as important.
What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
I've found that most people who work in this industry genuinely love books and what they do - from booksellers, to publishers, to authors, to everything in between. It can be more financially precarious than other industries, but if you're an enthusiast, I can't think of a better business to be in. So if you love books - go for it!