Paul Meadows

Independent Bookseller

I sometimes find it hard to believe that I have been a Book People distributor for almost two years. Time flies very quickly in this challenging, yet rewarding role, as I work continually to expand and improve my business in my area of South West London.

Before starting as a distributor I had previously worked in the City for a major bank, however post-2009 I had to look for new opportunities. Nothing really sat well for me, and after a couple of fill-in jobs I took a step back and thought ‘what is it I really want to do…?’ I had always been keen to start my own business, but there were always obstacles in the way, particularly when it came to choosing which area I should go in to. I wanted to do something that matched my business development skills and abilities, with a tried-and-tested product that didn’t need a huge amount of start-up cash. A traditional franchise didn’t do it for me – I wanted to be involved with something I really believed in.

I replied to a local advertisement, and it was clear from the off that I was on the right track. From my very first day it was obvious that everyone at the Book People were there to help and support you every step of the way.

The first thing you need when you are in your territory is… a customer; and it’s fair to say that there is no shortage of them out there! From schools and nurseries, multi-national and public sector organisations, all the way down to a small office with just a few staff – there are plenty of people who want to check out the books. Of course, building up your area takes time and hard work, but after a short while it becomes second nature to just call into a workplace and see if the occupants would like a sample set of books left – on the majority of occasions it’s a ‘yes please!’ If I ever get stuck then there is always the helping hand of a Business Manager to help me in the right direction. You see, the Book People are not going to just abandon you and let you make mistake after mistake; there’s a genuine ‘here to help’ attitude right through the organisation. Sometimes they suggest ways of making book sales go further – fantastic! A real team effort!

Working as a distributor is hard work – I am out in all weathers, and no matter what happens I always get my books to my customers, but the rewards are plentiful. There’s plenty to love about working as a distributor – for me it’s all about the customers; I’ve probably got about 800 right now and they are all really enthusiastic about the books! I have great relationships with all of my customers, and the support from the Book People is more like being part of a big family rather than a big company. I love the challenge of my work, and it’s great to think that I can build and build… and get the rewards for it too!