Book Store Owner jobs(Also known as Specialist book shop owner, Bookstore owner)
A book shop owner is the proprietor of an independent book store which typically sells collectible, niche and out-of-print books. As of 2010, there were more than 1200 independent book shops in the UK. Whilst the internet has provided an endless mine of information which can be delivered to desktops around the world in seconds, there are many people who much prefer to read the printed word. Persons who use a computer all day at work are reluctant to continue using one at home, and sometimes, it can be tricky to find specific and detailed information on the internet; this is often due to the seemingly endless results which appear in response to the user’s requested search strings. Independent book stores specialise in providing second-hand, hard-to-source, antique or collectible books, and often choose to specialise in a specific genre. It may be that the shop finds or develops its own interest niche, thereby giving it focussed appeal to persons interested in a given subject. The city of London provides a number of suitable examples, including famous stores for dog owners, Christians, poets, screenwriters and even collectors of Gothic art. The book shop owner is the person who provides the capital to open or continue to run the independent shop, and with that comes all of the responsibility that is to be expected of a self-employed sole proprietor; the manager must deal with stock acquisition, pricing, exchange and refund, complaints, staffing, accounts, taxation, legislation and general management.
SalaryAs the take-home pay is derived solely from the owner’s own sales effort, the salary range can vary depending on where the shop is based, what it sells and how successful it is. Comparison of various websites advertising book shops for sale reveals an approximate average turnover of £75,448 for a small specialist shop outside London. This equates to a pre-tax profit of £29,227, giving a margin of a reasonable 38%. This is not all “take-home” pay though; an allowance must be left within the business to pay for shop maintenance, improvement and disaster mitigation. According to the UK organisation, Charity Bags, charity book shops turn over approximately £75,000, giving a balanced perspective of potential earnings for non-charity (sale) book shops in the UK.
- Handle stock acquisition by buying customer books and offering exchanges
- Decide and administer pricing and method of sale (labelling, point-of-sale)
- Organise and categorise books received from suppliers and customers
- Handle customer exchanges, refunds and complaints
- Organise staffing, holiday and sickness cover
- Decide on opening hours and honour them around personal commitments
- Manage day-to-day accounting, sales tax and personal taxation
- Ensure business is conducted with appropriate regard to legislative requirements
QualificationsA big benefit of becoming a sole proprietor is that it requires no interviews, qualifications or future exams; the candidate draws up a business plan, finds a place from which to trade, capitalises the business and begins trading. Some choose to open specialist book stores after studying a particular subject in detail at university (an archaeological book shop would be an example), but more often than not, the two are not linked. Some proprietors will find that a BTEC or at least part-time college module in sole trading business or business accounting will be useful in facilitating their successful day-to-day management, but otherwise, it is not essential.
- Have a passion and understanding for the specialist subject, if the book shop is to be a specialist store.
- Have a love of books and a desire to help other book enthusiasts
- Be able to recognise and understand the value of customer books and pay an appropriate price
- Good general business skills, including day-to-day accounting and sales promotion
- Be flexible to manage own schedule around opening hours of the shop
- Be able to partake in moderate lifting when restocking