How to Become a Bookstore Manager


Like many careers, there are many different paths for becoming a bookstore manager; this career is open to those with practical experience and/or relevant education, management competencies, a sense of accountability and responsibility, and a general understanding of business. 


This work would involve overseeing and scheduling staff, adhering to budgets, resolving customer complaints, and monitoring inventory levels. This field also offers diverse opportunities for advancement, as well as potential opportunities for bookstore or retail store ownership due to the skills and competencies it can help you develop.


If bookstore management sounds like a promising career field so far, then read on below; we’ll fill you in on the details, such as how you can get into this profession, how much you could earn, and of course, what you’d be doing once you get there.



Education You Might Need

The educational requirements for becoming a bookstore manager can vary from job to job. For example, some employers may only require that you have a high school diploma combined with relevant work experience in a bookstore or general retail setting.


Other employers however, will require that you have a certificate, diploma or degree in a relevant field, such as business or retail management. This is especially true of larger organizations. Some employers, may require that you have both relevant education and relevant experience. 





Experience You Might Need

If you lack post-secondary education in a related field, not to worry, you still have reliable options for getting into bookstore management. For example, you can start by working in an entry-level job in a bookstore (such as being a member of the sales of stock staff) and working your way into a supervisor position, and then into a management position. 


Another route you can take is to move into this field from the outside. Having experience directly related to the duties you'll be performing can be enough for many employers to give you a chance. This experience may include overseeing and ordering stock, overseeing the preparation and payment of purchase orders and supervising staff, among other areas. 


Success Tip: For a more detailed idea of the kind of experience that would be helpful for this career, take a look at the “General Job Duties” section below.



Who Creates Jobs for Bookstore Managers?

Who Owns the Store?: As a bookstore manager, you could be the employee of a store that’s owned by an individual, a family, a large organization, or a publicly traded organization. You could even be self-employed, and own the store yourself. 


Type of Store: You could work in any type of store that sells books and related ancillary retail goods, which could include but is not limited to:


• Used book stores

• College/university campus bookstores

• Large chain bookstores 

• Independent bookstores





Is This Career Right for You?

To be a bookstore manager, you should have the following attributes:


• An interest in a public-facing career

• You enjoy overseeing the work of others and fostering a cooperative work environment

• You’re well organized and can oversee and manage a budget

• You’re confident when making decisions

• You’re willing to be accountable for the decisions you make 

• A strong commitment to customer service

• The ability to work under pressure and handle challenging situations

• General business sense



Career Advancement Possibilities 

If you display competence and dedication in your work, career advancement opportunities will open themselves up to you. Examples of career opportunities in this field include (but aren’t limited to):


• An increase in wage, salary or bonuses

• Partnership in the location

• Opening your own bookstore

• Moving to a bigger, busier or more profitable location

• Moving into a regional or district manager role

• Moving into corporate-level executive management positions with a large organization

• Moving into a specialized area of the business in a head office function (if applicable), such as customer service, training, purchasing, marketing and operations management


Success Tip: Having an education related to retail management or general business management can usually help you advance more quickly, especially in corporate-level positions.





Details of the Career: General Job Description

As a bookstore manager, you would be responsible for operational and administrative supervision of a bookstore, which would include ancillary retail services. 


This would include overseeing and coordinating inventory control, sales and returns, vendor relations, cash management, and all related reporting. It would also involve supervising regular and/or temporary customer service and stock staff.



Typical Job Duties

Although your specific job duties would vary, you could expect to be responsible for the following as a bookstore manager:


• Recruiting, hiring, training, supervising, scheduling and supporting staff

• Resolving customer complaints

• Making purchase recommendations to customers

• Overseeing inventory and ordering books

• Organizing shelving and table displays

• Possibly providing assistance to employees if they are busy

• Possibly determining price points for books and ancillary retail items

• Devising and executing marketing and promotional strategies

• Preparing and administering the bookstore budget

• Recommending, implementing, and administering operating policies and procedures



What Kind of Salary Could You Earn?

The salary level you could earn as a bookstore manager can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (levels of education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and responsibilities

• Whether you are a salaried employee or paid by the hour

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses, sales commissions or partial ownership)


Salary in Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Retail & Wholesale Trade Managers occupational group earn an average salary of $72,114 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 19, 2019).


Salary in the United Kingdom: According to the National Careers Service, the salaries of Retail Managers are between £20,000 and £30,000 a year. With experience, earnings for larger store managers can rise to over £40,000 a year.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of Americans working in the First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers occupational group is $42,900 per year. 



Bookstore Management Jobs

Our job board below has bookstore manager postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Work Environment in This Profession

Hours: In a full-time job you would normally work between 35 and 40 hours a week. Part-time work is usually also available. Your hours are likely to include weekends and possibly evenings, depending on the store's operating times. Working overtime may be required on occasion, such as when there are staffing shortages or special events or sales to prepare for.


Conditions: You are likely to work out of an office based in your store, and would probably split your time between your office, the stock room, and the sales floor. As a bookstore manager, you would frequently have contact with the staff you supervise and store customers.



Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or be in the same sector of industry, as 'bookstore manager':


• Bank Manager

• Librarian

Purchasing Manager

• Restaurant Manager

• Retail Manager

• Small Business Owner




The following resources were utilized in the preparation of this career guide:


Occupations in Alberta:Retail Store Manager.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 29, 2019.

Occupational Employment and Wages:First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Employment and Wages - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 29, 2019.

Explore Careers:Retail Manager.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved October 29, 2019.


Please Note: Much of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



Scholarships for Becoming a Bookstore Manager

The 'Relevant University Majors' section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a bookstore manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on the following pages:


English Scholarships

Management Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful for getting started in this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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Bookstore Manager