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My first paying job was at a bookstore (babysitting does not count in this instance – sorry!) I was a month or so shy of 16 and I had wanted a job for when I got my license and I would need a way to pay for all the fun I would have, right?
Luckily, I was able to get a job at a bookstore one town over. It was amazing – and I was devastated when 8 months later, we had to close and I had to get a new job.
Nearly 4 years later, I finally was able to work in another indie bookstore in my college town! Since starting working here, I was reminded of everything that I loved about working in a bookstore plus more, so I’m going to share them with you!
One big part of working at a bookstore is knowing what new books are being released. You can spend a bit of time browsing the shelves and when new books come in you get first dibs!
Additionally, you may get access to books BEFORE they are released to the general public through Advanced Reader Copies. These may not always be exactly how they will be finalized when officially published, but it is still neat to get a chance to read a book before it comes out!
Of course, one of the best perks is the employee discount! This will obviously vary depending on the individual store you work at, but any discount is a good one when you spend so much on books 🙂
If you are here, either reading this post, visiting Again She Wrote, or interested in working in a bookstore, I would feel comfortable saying you like books. And where do people who like books go? The bookstore obviously!
This means you get to interact with others who love to read and talk about books! Sure, you will get the people who don’t care to talk much, but I have had some fun, thoughtful conversations helping people pick out books that I feel they would love to read. And finding a book for someone is one of the best feelings I have ever felt.
Reading is Research
There are so many books already being sold, let alone the additional new books published every week. Because of this, reading pretty much is research for your job!
You’re simply learning about new books so you can better help your customers. It doesn’t hurt that you enjoy it also!
Now it should be important to note that working at a bookstore doesn’t mean you get to sit and read all day, there is a lot more to it. However, I work at an indie bookstore in a small town, which is rarely busy on Monday afternoons.
Commonly, I’ll shelf read – where I’ll browse the shelves and make sure the books are in order and where they belong. Sometimes if it’s slow I’ll pick up a book and start reading a bit of it. Personally, I love to quickly read picture books since they are short, easy, and it helps to get to know what to recommend for our younger population.
Unfortunately, it is not all rainbows and sunshine. Although the cons don’t outweigh the pros, they are notable.
Spending Your Paycheck
The downfall of knowing every book that’s coming out (and that discount!) means it can be hard to not get every book that looks good. Yes, reading is research, but there are still bills to pay!
Long Ass TBR
Being surrounded by books and constantly updating the system with new books means you get exposed to a lot of books. Great when you’re looking for your next read, but not so great when you already have a TBR longer than the constitution.
You May Overhear Some… Unusual Things
You can overhear weird stuff anywhere, school, work, the doctors’, the park, the bank, etc, etc. But bookstores offer a little niche of weird things to overhear.
In fact, there is a book all about it: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores! I actually read this while working lol.
My all-time favorite thing I overheard was between a young boy and his mom:
Boy: “Why are there so many books?”
Mom: “Because it’s a bookstore.”
Boy: “THAT’s why it’s called a bookstore?!”
Sometimes they just are not hiring
Unfortunately, one of the worse things about working at a bookstore can simply be that they are not hiring.
I was incredibly lucky when I applied, and since I have been hired I have heard multiple people be turned away because they were no longer looking.
In this case, I highly recommend still going and supporting the bookstore you want to work at. Who knows, maybe they’ll be hiring in the future and they might like a friendly, familiar face!
Overall, my job at my little independent bookstore is the perfect job for me, and I adore it. Have you considered working at a bookstore? If you have, what was your favorite perk?