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You need to have a passion for the job

Dirk Hanekom. © Unknown.
Dirk Hanekom. © Unknown.

What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

Getting to see what all the big and interesting titles are going to be, months before they're released.

Do you have a personal passion for the product you buy?

You have to have passion for what you do in every facet of life. Market trends can be researched, skills can be learnt; but you definitely have to be interested.

Who are your favourite writers?

Too many to mention, but currently Chuck Pahlaniuk, Michio Kaku and Rayda Jacobs, to name a few.

Do you ever have to travel for your job?

Not as much as in other professions, but I have been flown to Cape Town and Johannesburg on a few occasions to attend group meetings.

What is the worst part of your job?

None really, although if I had to say, it would be that working in a bookstore spoils you for choice completely, so much so that you have no idea where to start reading!

Are there perks that go with the job?

Again, getting first look at all the new stock - and having a personal account, although that might be a liability as well - I spend half my salary at work every month!

Have met any famous authors? Who have been the most memorable?

Before working at Exclusive Books, I had the opportunity to meet Terry Pratchett, one of my idols. Also, a host of great South African writers such as Deon Meyer, Marita van der Vyfer, Eben Venter and so on.

If not, which authors would you like to meet?

If I could meet any author, it would either be William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins ... come to think of it, it's another case of too many to mention.

What type of personality is needed to be a buyer?

I'd say it's less about personality than the ability to put yourself in the customers' shoes and think what they'll be reading in three or four months' time.

Does your personal taste come in to play when you buy the books?

To a certain extent, but it's really more about the customers' satisfaction than your own.

What has been your worst experience as a buyer?

Buying mass quantities of a supposedly "sure thing" and then watching those books sit on the shelves gathering dust - without so much as a cursory glance from the customers.

What do you do with the books that don't get sold?

We either return them to the publishers for credit, or we donate them to schools and various other charities.

What genre of literature is your favourite?

I just love reading a good book, be it fiction or non-fiction, comedy or drama ... anything goes.

Are you a writer?

"Yes. I'd have to say that's true."

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