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My accountant loves Batch.

Nautilus Bookshop, Romania

 

Visitors to the Batch stand at London Book Fair in April 2011 may have been surprised to see a teddy bear and a large engagement ring among the laptops. The Prince William Bear was the prize in a draw of booksellers’ business cards and was eventually won by Doina Hanu from the Nautilus bookshop in Romania.

Where is the Nautilus bookshop? The Nautilus bookshop is in a residential area of Bucharest. We are mainly wholesalers so the shop started as a showroom for retailers.

How large is the shop? It is small, but our customers say the selection is very good and they can always easily find what they’re looking for or discover something new. We also have a cat which makes the bookshelves look alive, especially when she jumps on people from behind or from under the books.

How many people work there? There are four of us, but we are not all in the shop at the same time: the customers would not have enough space to move. My son Daniel knows everything about the books and can instantly befriend grandparents and grandchildren, noisy teenagers and grumpy teachers. He has been working with us since he was a pre-schooler and we set up Nautilus, which was about 16 years ago.

What kinds of books do you sell? We sell English language books only, but no text books. We have many books for children and young adults, classical and modern fiction, and the best selection of Sci-Fi and Fantasy in the country, including graphic novels. We have a shelf dedicated to Britain and British people, and here we can enjoy healthy British irony! We stock books on politics and global economy that should be of interest to our politicians, but, unfortunately, they buy their books from somewhere else. To soften the depressing feeling induced by such books, we put the beautiful Collector’s Library series and some art books beside them. I would like to sell Romanian authors translated into English, but I can hardly find any.

Batch and Your Business

How long have you been using Batch? I wanted to use Batch from the very beginning but it wasn’t until after January 2007, when Romania joined the European Union, that our local bank accepted the idea of allowing us to pay suppliers via Batch. I joined the Booksellers Association about ten years ago, as we do not have a similar organization in Romania, and I was enchanted to see how a professional body can work for the common wellbeing.

How does Batch help your business? They have simply taken over an important part of my job. The Batch system is great because it contains invoices and credit notes that I never received with the books, so goodbye to my incomplete lists and to the monthly stress of forgetting to pay something on time! Because I receive calls and e-mails reminding me of deadlines for authorising payments I can concentrate on my job and I have a better night’s sleep. By simplifying my relationship with so many suppliers, Batch allows me to expand my number of contacts without fearing that I will lose track of my debts. And then, when I make mistakes that terrify me and make me think I turned the system upside down, Eileen Kelly and Linda Bowles are always there to solve the problem with calm and a kindness that I would not show to myself. I also have a very sweet feeling of revenge when I order only one transfer to my bank and the fees are about £40 compared to the time when I had to pay £40 for every transfer to every supplier.

How did you feel on winning the Prince William bear? I was simply astonished. The gift is so British, made with so much love and care, and so very special now, before the royal wedding. Princess Diana was special for us; Prince Charles loves Romanian nature and often visits our country. We watched William growing up and he will be king one day. Because I deeply respect your people, I cannot stress how important this prize was for me as a symbol. I did not feel that I deserved such a prize, because of all its connotations.

Where is William now? He is looking through the window at the park across the street. Among the books, he looks like a little king and the engagement ring shines in the sun.

PS . . . William’s Adventure

William had an unscheduled trip on the underground when Fraser Tanner accidentally left him behind at Earls Court station. Thanks to the efforts of the London Transport Police, William made it back to LBF in time for the prize draw.

Nautilus English Books
Str. Arhitect Ion Mincu, nr. 17
Sector 1, 011356
Bucharest
Romania

Contact: nautilus@nautilus.ro
Tel: 021 2225030, 021 2233256
Fax: 021 2230037

 

 

 

Doina and FT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doina Hanu was talking to Janet Ravenscroft. A shortened version of this article first appeared in Bookselling Essentials, June 2011.