Alex McQueen had better prepare to be inundated by job applications. Being paid to live with your feet in the sand, surrounded by books all day long on a luxury island in the Maldives must count as the ultimate dream job for millions.
Wearing shoes is banned on the island, where holidaymakers – who are mostly wealthy – are urged to switch off from news and electronic devices.
From October, the new barefoot bookseller will run the bookshop daily, including accounting and stock management.
“The applicant will be there on their own, so they’re pretty much running the whole thing themselves,” says Mr McQueen, who is sales manager for Ultimate Library, a UK-based company that curates book collections for hotels, resorts, shops and private residences worldwide.
“The ethos of the island is: no shoes, no news. They encourage guests to reconnect with the ground,” he told The Observer.
He said the bookseller will need to be a self-starter who is happy to introduce themselves to guests and provide them with personalised book recommendations, so he is looking for someone ideally with bookselling or publishing experience.
The successful applicant will have their accommodation meals paid for, and have access to a gym, a spa and watersports diving. Staff also have a private beach.
The basic salary is $750 a month (around £620) but the bookseller will be able to earn extra “service fees” by, for example, running book-related workshops or classes.
Georgie Polhill, 27, who recently finished a six-month contract as bookseller there, said one of the biggest challenges she faced was getting used to the slow pace of life.
“If you tried to fight it too much and harry everyone on to get things done, you would absolutely burst a blood vessel,” she said.
“I came back a very different person. I learned an entirely new culture. I made friends that I will have for life.”
She is now starting a new career in theatre, and has had to readjust to wearing shoes again. She said it “definitely felt weird” at first. “I was so unused to wearing anything around my toes and my heels.”