Employment – Bookseller



(Photo courtesy of Cory Doctorow via Flickr)

We love that you’re interested in working at our bookstore. Unfortunately, we’re not hiring right now. But please feel free to submit your resume and other info. It’s quite possible one of our current booksellers will hit the lottery and buy their own bookstore in a quaint village in Scotland full of quirky but voracious readers.

Still interested? Okay.

Forget everything you read in The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry or saw in You’ve Got Mail. Bookstores are busy places with dozens of different tasks that need to be done every day. Sometimes you’ll get an adrenaline-pumping exchange of favorite books and ideas. Most times you’ll be busy with less exciting–but no less important–tasks like shelving, running inventories, shipping orders, cleaning up the children’s area, even dusting and vacuuming.

So what are we looking for in a bookseller?

A Love of books – This seems pretty obvious. If you don’t have a genuine lust for books, you’re not going to enjoy the job. So be honest–with yourself and with us.

Experience – We’re willing to train promising employees who have no bookselling experience. But if you do have prior experience, it’s a huge plus.

Patience – Customers don’t always know what they want, or they’re in a hurry. Sometimes their heads don’t reach all the way to the counter and you can’t understand what they’re saying because they’re feeling very shy. In all cases, you need to be able to keep a cool head, present a friendly, pleasant, helpful demeanor, and do everything you can to make the customer’s experience at Belmont Books satisfying and enjoyable.

A sense of humor – Everything about this business is quirky, and a sense of humor goes a long way towards making the work easier. We want Belmont Books to be a fun place to shop and a fun place to work.

Ability to work independently – The books are all shelved and there’s no one checking out at the moment? The ideal bookseller won’t stand around waiting for someone to tell them what to do, but will get right on the next task.

Facility with computers – Bookstore point-of-sale systems are a little complicated. We don’t expect new booksellers to be expert on them, or even know how to use them. But we do need people who can learn new systems quickly. If you’ve never used a mouse before, don’t know your way around a browser and are still struggling to find letters on the keyboard, this is probably not the job for you.

Knowledge and curiosity – A good bookseller educates herself as much as possible on what’s out there, what’s coming out, what genres/authors/subjects will appeal to which reader. If you have a particular area of expertise–children’s books, mysteries, biography, science–great. But you’ll need to know what’s on the other shelves, too.

Please note that we only have part-time bookseller positions available right now.

Still interested? Send us an email (“employment” at belmontbooks.com) with your resumé and answers to these questions:

  1. What 3 books have you read recently and loved?
  2. How would you go about trying to identify a book for a customer who only remembers it was written by a woman, the cover is blue, and the book was reviewed by someone on the radio that week?
  3. What was the most difficult customer service experience you’ve had? How did you deal with it?
  4. What book would you recommend to a 10 year old reader who doesn’t like fantasies or mysteries?
  5. What book(s) would you recommend to a reader who wants a contemporary novel with finely crafted writing and a happy ending?

Good luck!