The Career Clusters in a bookstore

The Career Clusters in a bookstore
Learn insights into the experience of working in a bookstore, from daily tasks to the different roles you might find.

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The main purpose of a bookstore is to provide a place for people to discover, explore, and purchase different types of written content. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, self-help, or educational materials, a bookstore is where people can go to find all these options in one location.

Bookstores also serve as places where people can gather, discuss literature, attend author events, and engage with a community of fellow readers.

While every bookstore is different, they do have some things in common:

  1. Customer service is key – being able to help people find what they need and answer their questions is important for success.
  2. A sense of community – bookstores serve as more than just retail spaces; they also bring together people who share a passion for reading and learning.
  3. They’re diverse – specialty bookstores exist, but most have something for everyone, catering to different tastes, ages, and preferences.

Discover and explore literature

Bookstores play a vital role in society by not only providing a diverse range of reading materials for individuals to explore and enjoy, but also by creating welcoming spaces that encourage intellectual growth, foster a love for literature, and facilitate meaningful connections within the community.

Key tasks

  • Assist customers in finding books
  • Organise shelves and displays
  • Recommend books based on preferences
  • Process customer transactions
  • Arrange events and book signings
  • Manage inventory and restock shelves
  • Handle online orders and deliveries
  • Create eye-catching window displays
  • Manage book club or reading group arrangements
  • Keep the store clean and tidy

You can find bookstores in the retail trade industry

Bookstores are mostly found in the retail trade industry. There are various types of bookstores, including independent shops with unique selections, chain bookstores offering wide options, and specialty stores catering to specific interests like art, cooking, or travel.

You can expect regular hours and on-site work

Regular hours Work on-site  |  Jobs more common in metro areas  |  Moderate job growth

Bookstores, like most retail businesses, are usually open from 9 to 5. If they are hosting a special event, they might sometimes stay open later into the evening.

On-site work is more common in bookstores due to the need for customer assistance and organising physical stock.

Bookstores are often more common in metropolitan areas where there’s a larger population and higher demand for diverse reading materials and cultural events. This doesn’t mean you can’t find bookstores in rural areas, they might just be fewer in number.

The Career Clusters you’ll find in a bookstore

People from all Clusters are needed for a bookstore to run successfully, but Linkers are typically the most common Cluster. In many roles, you might find yourself performing tasks across multiple Clusters.


Makers in a bookstore might help with the initial fit-out and build of the shop, as well as running and repairing any technology integrated with the store (such as point-of-sale systems, etc). They also need people to help keep the store clean, tidy, and presentable.

  • Shopfitters
  • Maintenance Technicians
  • Cleaners

Linkers are there to help customers in a bookstore find what they need and answer any questions or queries they might have. They help to design and setup attractive displays to entice people into the store, and plan any events the store might run. Linkers are also needed to run any social media sites for the store and advertise the business to the public. Some Linkers might connect with schools, libraries, and other organisations to arrange book loans, educational programs, and special promotions.

  • Retail Assistants
  • Visual Merchandisers
  • Social Media Managers
  • Event Planners
  • Outreach Officers

Coordinators are responsible for the behind-the-scenes operations of a bookstore, including managing rosters and accounts, keeping track of stock levels and incoming orders, or helping with planning events and promotions.

  • Store Managers
  • Accounts Administrators
  • Event Planners

Informers have in-depth knowledge of the books in a bookstore and share it with the public through reviews and recommendations. Other Informers might work as curators, researching and hand-picking books to cater to a store’s unique market or needs.

  • Critics/Reviewers
  • Curators

Innovators help to make bookstores dynamic and immersive spaces. They might explore new ways to engage customers and use technology to enhance the customer experience, both in-person and online.

  • Experience Designer
  • UX Designer

Guardians in bookstores help to keep customers, staff, and goods safe and secure. Some Guardians might help to ensure that the bookstore is accessible to all customers, including those with disabilities.

  • Security Officers
  • Accessibility Officers

How do we expect working in a bookstore to change in the future?

Looking ahead, the experience of working in a bookstore is likely to undergo some shifts. While the heart of a bookstore lies in its physical space, where customers can explore shelves and engage in face-to-face conversations, technological advancements will likely play a bigger role. Bookstore workers might find themselves adapting to a blend of traditional and modern approaches.

With the rise of online shopping and digital content, bookstores might need to expand their online presence. This could involve managing e-commerce platforms, responding to customer inquiries via digital channels, and ensuring smooth online transactions.

As virtual events become more common, bookstore workers might also take on responsibilities related to organising and hosting virtual book launches, author talks, and online reading groups. This digital engagement can help bookstores connect with a wider audience and offer unique experiences beyond the physical store.

To stay relevant, bookstores could focus on creating captivating in-store experiences. This might involve integrating technologies like augmented reality to enhance the browsing process, interactive displays that provide book recommendations, or even offering workshops and classes to foster a sense of community.