Be a Bookstore Clerk
By Eric Hammer
If you love being around books, you may want to consider becoming
a bookstore clerk. Bookstore clerks work in both local and national
book shops and they help customers to find just the book they
are looking for.
The best bookstore clerks tend to love books and be lifelong
readers themselves, making them excellent guides to help customers
find just the right book for their own needs. Bookstore clerks
also tend to be aspiring writers and journalists as the job allows
for plenty of down time to write.
Finally, consider becoming a bookstore clerk if you are going
to college. Not only will the environment in a book store be
conducive to studying during your down time, but you will also
have access to books at a discount.
Now for the bad news: book stores as we know them, i.e. the
big chains like Barnes and Noble and Borders are a dying breed.
Three phenomena have contributed to their demise: online sales
from companies like Amazon.com, the growth of the ebook market
(Kindle, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader et al) and discount chains like
WalMart offering best sellers at heavily discounted prices. Both
of the major chains in the United States are in serious trouble
and are closing stores.
That said, growth is likely to come from used book stores
and specialty shops which provide a unique service to a niche
who seek out the store from far and wide for their unique selection
of books. Look for jobs with these kinds of stores as a bookstore
clerk and consider learning more about "Print on Demand"
technology, where a machine is installed in the bookstore and
offers to print any book on the spot in minutes. While POD is
still in its infancy, it is likely to herald the future of large
bookstores along with sales of e-readers.
How Much Can You Make?
As a bookstore clerk, you shouldn't expect to earn much more
than minimum wage. According to Indeed.com, the average wage
varies from around $18,000 per year to about $29,000 per year.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
The more creative you are in being a bookstore clerk, the
more likely you are to be hired and to be in demand. If you have
a good grasp of public speaking skills for example, you may be
able to earn extra money hosting readings of books (these are
generally done by the author, though you'll be expected to offer
You should also consider looking for work with a publisher
of books as this will keep in the book world without being around
the chain bookstores, which, as previously noted, are largely
going the way of the Dodo Bird.
Consider also working in libraries and in religious bookstores
in order to increase your available job opportunities. Note however
that working in a library will require you to hold a Master's
Degree in Library Science.
Qualifications / Requirements
While there are no formal requirements for being a bookstore
clerk, it is a good idea to have a love of books and reading.
Those who genuinely enjoy being around books will find the work
more enjoyable than those who are doing it just because it pays
the bills. In other words, love what you do or find a different
Start by visiting local bookstores and asking if they are
hiring. Have a resume ready to show the owner or manager. Look
presentable when you drop by and be prepared to talk about why
you want to work in a book store.
Check out these helpful resources to find out more about becoming
a bookstore clerk:
Lore: An amusing blog on being a bookstore clerk.