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Booksellers buy books from publishers or wholesalers and sell them to customers.
1. Entry requirements
You’ll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths.
Many employers will also expect you to have a higher education qualification like an HND or degree. You’ll need to be well read, and be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about books.
Experience of working in retail sales, customer service or a library would be helpful.
To work in some specialist shops, like an art bookshop, you may need a related qualification, like art history.
If you’re looking to open your own bookshop, you’ll need sound business skills and a good grasp of the publishing and bookselling industry.
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.
2. Skills required
- good customer service skills
- the ability to plan and organise events like book signings
- the ability to sell, promote and market the products in your shop
- IT skills
3. What you'll do
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- serving customers – taking payment, giving advice, answering enquiries and ordering in books
- stock control – assessing the market and ordering new stock
- admin tasks – accounting, distributing orders, arranging deliveries and dealing with returns
In a specialist bookshop, you may have extra duties, like working closely with teaching staff from local schools, colleges and universities to make sure you stock the right text books.
As a bookshop manager, you’ll recruit and train new staff.
Starter: £14,000 to £17,000
Highly Experienced: £40,000
Some companies operate bonus schemes based upon sales.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll usually work 37 or 38 hours a week, from 9am to 5pm, often including Saturdays. Evening and weekend work is likely. Overtime and part-time work is often available.
You might be on your feet all day. You may be asked to lift heavy boxes.
6. Career path and progressionWith financial backing and a lot of experience, you could open your own bookshop.
You could also work from home as a book dealer, or set up an online bookshop.
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Last updated: 13 September 2018