The question for this month’s Ask Bethany House made me laugh out loud, so of course I had to answer it: “What are your offices like? I can’t help but imagine a magical paradise of books.”
Time for a confession: publishing company offices aren’t all that exciting. They’re mostly like other offices: lots of people working at computers, conference call tech in the meeting rooms that I still don’t know how to use, printers that mostly work but occasionally need a swift kick, a mailing room for the many packages that go out our doors. That sort of thing.
Still, there are some fun aspects of the Bethany House facilities that might be fun for you readers to know about.
- There are more books than your average office. I know, shocking. But whether it’s editors displaying all of the projects they personally worked on, or the large library in our central space where we can check out books from our other divisions, or the marketing library of copies that are sent out for giveaways, interviews, and promotions, books are EVERYWHERE.
- Far more nerdy bookish décor in individual offices than you’d see elsewhere. Need a map of the indie bookstores of Minneapolis and St. Paul? We’ve got it. Jane Austen bobblehead? Check. A poster featuring women’s fashion throughout the decades and centuries? Yes, even that.
- The reference library has a sliding ladder. Yes, like the one in Beauty and the Beast (although our ceilings are less vaulted and glamorous). We still think it’s pretty cool.
- There’s a sort-of secret, locked Archive Room with copies of all of our books, including translations. It probably has buried treasure as well. I’m not sure because I’ve been thoroughly supervised every time I’ve stepped inside, which is probably for the best.
- Our small conference room is home to the Bell of Triumph, which can be rung to announce moments of great celebratory joy, whether personal (engagements, new babies) or work-related (finishing huge projects or a career milestone).
- Not the building, per se, but there’s a nice little path and neighborhood to walk around outside at 3:00 break…and we recently discovered that it goes by a wild black raspberry patch.
- Readers sometimes send us letters to their favorite Bethany House authors, which we forward along to them. It’s always fun to see those stacks of forwarded mail going out!
I’m sure others would point out different favorite aspects of the Bethany House center of command. But while it’s been fun being in the office more now that pandemic restrictions are lifting here in Minnesota, I’m always reminded that it’s not so much the place as the people that make a company feel like home. So if you ever get a chance to meet even one Bethany House employee, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy that more than a tour of our office.
Do you own a fun bookish object around your home or office? Tell us about it!