A book buyer is the person in a publishing company or bookstore that decides on the books to be accepted. Competition for book buyer positions tends to be fierce and available positions are few. However, by knowing the general route to becoming a book buyer, you still can push yourself into the industry with hard work. Take the process of transitioning to this career one step at a time and you should be able to land a position after some experience in lower-level positions.
Determine your preferred genre. Since large book stores and publishers tend to hire multiple book buyers -- one or two for each genre -- you cannot build your career on being a general book buyer. Even if you want to work for an independent bookstore that may only need a single book buyer, you should specialize in an area that matches the characteristic of the bookstore. So, choose a genre with which you are particularly familiar and interested.
Read. Read everything you can in your chosen genre. Become familiar with what makes a book in the genre enjoyable and popular. Realize that as a book buyer, you are not only going to be choosing books based on your own preferences, but the preferences of the general public as well.
Gain some experience in the bookstore or publishing industry. Due to the fact that rarely does an avid reader have the opportunity to go straight into a position as a book buyer, you will need some experience in the general book industry before bookstores and publishers can put their faith in your expertise. Apply for every book-related job you can, especially those that are higher up in the industry. If you do not have the background to get higher-level bookstore jobs, apply as a general employee; any experience counts.
Author a book. As many book buyers earn the trust of their employers by being authors themselves, you should publish at least one book to show your potential employers that you understand the workings of writing a book.
Apply for a book buyer apprenticeship or for an assistant book buyer position. Even if you cannot find a paying position, this action could be your foot-in-the-door for a career as a book buyer. Apply to your local bookstores as well as chain bookstores. Offer to work as an intern.
Apply for the position of a full-time book buyer. In many cases, you cannot directly apply for this position, but simply move up after being an apprentice or assistant for a period of time. After working at a bookstore for a period of time, ask your employer about opportunities to make your work into a full-time job.