The next course begins Monday, March 13 at 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT / 4 pm PT. It has ten classes and ends on Monday, May 15th.
Registration will open Monday, February 6 at 1 pm ET / 12 pm CT / 10 am PT. The course sells out quickly, so set your calendars now!
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Our Basic Bookselling Course is designed to welcome staff into a career in bookselling. It is intended as a primer for frontline booksellers with a year or less experience. The course introduces the book industry as a whole, and the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in bookselling, including: merchandising, hand selling, creating shelf talkers and other reviews, customer service, and creating displays that sell. This course is ten weeks long and is offered twice a year.
2023 Course Instructors
Dean Gary Lovely, Manager, Prologue Bookshop, Columbus, OH
Susan Kehoe, Owner, Browseabout Books, Rehobeth Beach, DE
John Evans, Co-Owner, Diesel, A Bookstore, Los Angeles and San Diego, CA
Gabriel Moushabeck, Owner, Booklink Booksellers, Northampton, MA
Sarah Bagby, Owner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, KS
Heather Hebert, Owner, Children's Book World, Haverford, PA
Being an active member of the bookselling industry is a critical step in growing a bookstore and shows commitment to your chosen profession. Stores with students in all Professional Booksellers School courses are required to be current members of their regional trade association and/or the American Booksellers Association. Students must also be enrolled in PBS, which is free.
Course Components & Cost
This course consists of live classes via Zoom and live presentations of a final project. Homework is assigned for each class. Students are expected to attend the live classes and finish and pass all homework to be certified. The course is $125, with discounts available for members of NAIBA, CALIBA, and MPIBA. Some regional trade associations refund the full registration cost for students who successfully complete the course and are certified.
- understand how bookselling fits into the overall book industry
- learn the vocabulary of bookselling
- provide outstanding customer service
- handsell to adults and kids
- understand a store’s layout and merchandising strategies
- write effective reviews and shelf talkers
- make use of foundational resources such as the ABA, regional trade associations, Edelweiss+, BINC, IndieNext, and other industry organizations
Major Project Deliverables
Weekly shelf-talker/book review and a final project of a display built to serve the store’s customer base and mission statement, with shelf-talkers and live handselling demonstration.
Class 1 – Welcome to Class, Syllabus Review
Class 2 – Bookseller Tools & Services
Class 3 – The Makings of a Bookseller
Class 4 – Inside the Store & Merchandising
Class 5 – Inventory
Class 6 – Customer Service & Engagement
Class 7 – Sales
Class 8 – Handselling: Children's Books & More
Class 9 – Finances of Bookselling
Class 10 –Live Presentations of Final Project
By the end of the course, participants will be able to:
- Understand how Indie bookstores work including roles within stores and how stores function within the book industry, including how publishers work, Ingram, ABA, trade associations
- Gain a functional knowledge of how books are acquired and reviewed, including being taught about: the ABA, white boxes, Edelweiss, Indie Next, BookTok, and the relationship between a store’s mission statement and which books are stocked and displayed
- Identify and understand the traits, skills, and practices that make a frontline bookseller successful, including understanding where to find information on genres and books, understanding leading literary awards, and how effective hand-selling works
- Understand how to capture and increase sales, including special orders, sidelines, wrapping
- Understand the basics of bookstore design and how to create effective displays
- Gain skills applicable to an entry-level bookselling job, including copywriting, display design, and the creation of marketing and publicity ideas
- Write an effective shelf-talker or blurb