If you love books, then there are several career opportunities that actually pay you to work with books every day. If being a librarian, publisher or book reviewer isn't for you, then you can consider becoming a book buyer instead. Being a book buyer is a great job for people who want to share their love of books with others and make sure the right books get in the hands of the right readers.
A book buyer has the unique role of finding books that bookstores should buy to sell in the shop. This job could also be called a "purchasing manager." The person is in charge of finding the right products and services for the agency to resell. As a book buyer, you would facilitate the communication and negotiations between both parties, in addition to:
- Having an objective approach to which books the customers would like
- Being open to reading genres that you may not enjoy reading on a personal level
- Being good with numbers and managing budgets so that you can be sure the bookstore can turn a profit from the books it buys and resells
- Understanding which books and authors sell best in order to find the right location for the books in the store
- Finding interesting titles for an independent bookstore
- Finding over 100 new titles to add to the shelves
- Determining how many books should be purchased and negotiating wholesale deals
- Having excellent communication and organization skills
In order to be a book buyer or textbook buyer, you should have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business, economics, mathematics, business administration or even library studies. A master's degree is usually not required but is preferred. Having an MBA will certainly make you stand out as a candidate, but so will a BSBA, or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Book buyers can launch their career right after college, as the position really depends on your skill set and how quick you are to learn the ropes. Overall, the training period can range anywhere between six months and two years. The more experience you can get while you're in college, the sooner you may land a job.
A book buyer will usually work in a bookstore, from the larger chains to smaller, independent bookstores. Depending on the size of the bookstore in which you are working, book buyers may work with other book buyers, or you may work alone. Book buyers might also work for universities, libraries, department stores and other places. Any place that sells books will usually need a book buyer.
Years of Experience and Salary
It's a bit difficult to gauge the specific salary of a book buyer because book buyers fall under the umbrella category of retail buyers and/or purchase managers, who may have a much higher salary than a book buyer depending on the industry. In general, retail buyers made a median salary of $52,940 in 2015, and purchase managers made a median salary of $67,600 in 2018. This will vary depending on the type of bookstore in which you're working as well.
Job Growth Trend
Because of the increase of outsourcing automation services and the convenience of online shopping, the job growth trend for a book buyer (or a purchase manager in general) is projected to decrease by 3 percent. This forecast is for the decade between 2016 and 2026, and it's an important factor to consider if you're interested in becoming a book buyer. However, even online stores may need book buyers too, so it's worth exploring if it's something you'd really love to do.