Meet a Bookseller: Rayna Nielsen

We are proud to introduce bookseller Rayna Nielsen of Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans!

How did you get into bookselling?

I have loved books and reading since I was very young so naturally I applied at bookstores as soon as I was old enough to work. After years of waiting for an opening I finally got a job at Barnes and Noble in Fort Myers where I lived at the time. That job literally led to this one as a Garden District Book Shop co-worker (now at Square Books) also worked at that original B and N.

What do you love most about being a bookseller?

These are my people! I love being able to talk books all day with co-workers and customers. I love the scavenger hunt that takes place when finding the perfect book for a customer.

What do you love most about your bookstore?

We’ve been here for 38 years and we are one block off the streetcar line, so we see established long-term customers as well as tourists who just happen into the shop everyday. I love that mix of familiar and fresh faces.

What are you listening to right now?

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

What audiobooks would you recommend or are among your favorites?

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Birdbox by Josh Malerman, and Empire of Sin by Gary Krist

Where / When do you listen to audiobooks?

When folding laundry, in the shower (waterproof, bluetooth speaker—Best Investment Ever!) and in the car.

What is your favorite thing about audiobooks through

I can support local bookstores and give back to my community from the comfort of my home with the touch of a button. Even easier actually with my monthly membership. I also like getting audiobook recommendations from real people especially other booksellers. I respect and appreciate their opinion more than most and waaayy more than an algorithm.

What do you do when you’re not selling books?

I love to travel—domestic, international, day-trips. I always have multiple trips in the works.

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