Alternative titles for this job include

Booksellers buy books from publishers or wholesalers and sell them on to customers.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Bookseller

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You may have an advantage when looking for work if you've completed a qualification at university, like a higher national diploma or a degree. Employers will accept any subject, although some may prefer English, humanities or the arts.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You can learn some of the skills you need for this job by doing a:

  • Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Retail Skills
  • Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills (Sales Professional)

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


You can get into this job through a retailer intermediate apprenticeship or a retail team leader advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs. You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths. You'll have an advantage if you have previous experience of:

  • retail or online sales
  • customer service
  • publishing

You'll need a broad range of reading interests and an enthusiasm for books.

You may need specialist knowledge for some bookshops. For example:

  • comic art for a shop that sells graphic novels
  • classic literature for rare or antiquarian books
  • art history for specialist art publications

More Information

Career tips

You'll need sound business skills and a good grasp of the publishing and bookselling industry, if you want to go on to open your own bookshop. This includes some understanding of online promotion and sales methods or e-commerce.

Further information

You can find more advice about bookselling and setting up your own business through the Booksellers Association.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • business management skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You might:

  • serve customers and take payments
  • make suggestions and give advice about the books available
  • review books for in-store reviews or book clubs
  • organise in-store promotional events
  • monitor stock levels and create book displays
  • work with publishing companies and order new stock
  • process online orders
  • complete admin tasks like accounting, order distribution, arranging deliveries and returns

Working environment

You could work at a store.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With financial backing and a lot of experience, you could open your own bookshop.

You could work for a publishing house and sell books to retailers.

You could also work from home as a book dealer, or set up an online bookshop.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Retail Parts Advisor Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £13,312 a year Annually
  • Location: Bolton

Retail Parts Advisor Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £13,312 a year Annually
  • Location: Sutterton, Boston

Courses In England

Diploma in Retail Skills

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Kingsbridge

Conflict Management Hospitality & Retail

  • Provider: On Course South West
  • Start date: 03 October 2024
  • Location: Plymouth

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