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Working in a bookstore : one hell of a job!

August 13, 2015

Hi there! My name is Sophie and I work in a bookstore.

Yup, you read that right, I work in a bookstore. Pretty much the best job for a book lover right?

You get to see all the new books, you get to talk to other book lovers, you can read all the time... 

That's pretty much what people think working in a bookstore is, but I wanted to share with you the real deal, an inside scoop as to what this job really is. The best way to do it? Share with you what I do on a regular shift!

Database entry

This is what I do during the school year. As I hope you know, bookstore sell... well, books. Those books are usually all classified in a database used to find details about a specific book. To enter the books in this database, they have to be manually scanned, and then all the info like the author, the publisher and the price need to be added by hand.
I'm speaking from personnal experience that I acquired at the independant bookstore I work at, but I assume every other bookstore, let it be small or big, have a similar system.

Labelling books

This is more specific to smaller bookstore, aka the one who do not have a scanning system at the cash registrer. It's pretty basic, you label every new book with a sticker indicating the price, the invoice number, the quantity, etc.


Obviously, the books don't magically float on the shelves; they have to be manually placed in the right place. See the emphasis on the word right? I'm sure it happened to you before, trying to find a book that wasn't placed in the right spot? Yeah, placing books isn't as easy as it seem, especially when it can fit in five categories at once.

Placing orders

When you work  a bookstore, you often get clients who are asking for older books which  might not be in store at the moment; so what do you do? You order them! This mean finding all the details necessary, checking the availability of the book and, of course, getting the personnal info of the client. At the independant bookstore where I work, we have a lot of schools and libraries ordering from us too, which brings me to the next point

Making bills

For schools or libraries, we need to make an invoice to go with their books. This requires the use of the database and a lot of attentions to details. Trust me on that one, you do not want to forget anything or make a mistake.

Last but not least, serving the clients

This one is pretty self-explanatory.


So as you can see, there's a lot more going on in a bookstore than you might think. Smaller bookstores might have to do more things manually, but you can't sit on your derrière and read all day. Yes, I do get to see the new stuff before everyone else. Yes, I do have cool conversations with clients about books we've both read. But I don't have the time to read on the job. Like my boss tells us all the time: there's always something to do in a bookstore.


OH! And in case you were wondering... This sadly doesn't happened in real life. I wish it would; trust me, it would be wonderful! But... what can I say? Life is unfair;)