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Montana Book Company is seeking a ¾ time Amazing Bookseller, or whatever you want to call yourself - the title doesn’t matter as much as the intent, but here’s some basics before reading on: We’re looking for a long-term employee, someone who can commit to 2+ years, work 30+ hours a work and work extended hours during our busiest sales season from November-January. This position requires weekend and evening availability in addition to standard weekday hours. Schedules vary and are flexible. Ideally, this human will learn most tasks related to day to day operations of the store. This person will not manage people per se, but with more hours comes more responsibilities and duties. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in the bookselling/publishing industry, and those who are considering making a career within it. We will be accepting resumes and hosting interviews until we find the best fit. Starting wage: $15/hour.
Montana Book Company has been in downtown Helena since 1978. We value and advocate for our community, stand up for social and racial justice, and welcome all. We are feminist, anti-racist, anti-fascist, believe BIPOC and Black lives matter, that LGBTQ+ people belong everywhere, that mental health is health, that we reside on Indigenous lands, that we are custodians to our natural world, that work is not why we live, that art saves lives, that science is real, and so much more. We also give heavily to local, state and national organizations and causes that support these ideologies and strive to align our business model to reflect them as we grow. Applicants should share these values and be comfortable working at a company that is responsive to injustice and are committed to exemplary customer service. At Montana Book Co. we are committed to getting to know our customers, their names, as well as their interests. It’s not only important to our primary aim of providing excellent customer service, but also in building our community and finding the perfect book for our customers.
Our bookstore has been called “the loudest bookstore ever.” Sometimes, it’s just a really good time on the floor and it feels more like a social hour than a sales floor. Weekdays are no slouch and Saturdays are kinda hectic. People come to the store to chat with us, with each other, to groan about bad politicians and the state of the world and to find their people. It’s no snooze fest. We’ve managed to make ourselves a community hub, so if you’re looking for a quiet, easy gig…this isn’t it. Along with selling books, we have multiple book clubs and host a few events monthly. We have become a safe space for young and LGBTQ+ humans and we wouldn’t trade that for the world. It is also not uncommon for someone to take offense to our flag or signs and yell something through the door. This was a bigger issue during the mask mandate, but once in a while someone gets real hurt about the idea of everyone having equality, and feels the need to let us know. As owners, it’s our responsibility to take care of those issues and never expect our staff to deal with these things. It’s rare that it happens, but, know that it does.
Because of the energy at the store, our staff require a few things:
✦ The ability to take in constant and continuous new information.
✦ A peripheral awareness and at the same time attention to a singular task.
✦ A sense of humor backed with kindness, obviously, because, I mean, wow, look at this world.
✦ An enthusiastic approach to prioritization of customer service.
✦ An insatiable curiosity towards the world of books.
✦ An optimistic attitude regarding the future of the book and locally owned businesses.
We have big plans for our store. The ideal new hire would be flexible and ready for change. Plans for the store aside, because bookselling has changed significantly since March of 2020, we spend considerable time communicating with customers in all the ways. It’s a complicated new world, but we care about our community and customers, so we’re a little extra.
Is this for you?
Along with the above things we’ve described, we’d like to overwhelm you with some of the requirements our ideal candidate would meet:
✦ A high school diploma or equivalent, college experience preferred
✦ Must be available for days, weekends and evening events). Schedule negotiable upon hire.
✦ Must be able to work increased hours and long shifts during winter holidays (leaving a small business during the holiday season to take a vacation is a deal breaker)
✦ Retail and customer service experience REQUIRED; bookselling or other book world experience preferred
✦ Be flexible, reliable, observant, communicative, patient, adaptive, attentive and hardworking, and a sense of humor is a requirement
✦ And of course, you MUST be a voracious reader. Each staff member averages 3-5 books a month. We all read in multiple genres and although we all have our favorites, reading across all store titles is a must in order to help folks find what they are looking for.
✦ Must be kind and compassionate, with a desire for social justice and equality.
✦ Must believe in shop small and shop local, and love Helena’s thriving downtown.
Note about working in a bookstore: there is absolutely no reading while working. That aspect of bookselling has always been a myth. We’ve barely been able to read our email in the last four years.
Daily duties include, but are not limited to,the following:
✦ Interacting with the public nearly constantly
✦ Maintaining a positive, helpful, and welcoming demeanor at most times
✦ Experience handling conflict assertively, maturely, and with poise
✦ Attention to detail and store upkeep including dusting, cleaning, organizing, tidying, and maintaining a safe and healthy environment
✦ Operating our book-industry specific point of sale system, website, and financial transactions with accuracy alongside other noncommunicating platforms
✦ Assisting with event organization and promotional duties online and elsewhere
✦ Adept at researching online and in multiple book databases
✦ Moving heavy items (up to 40 pounds); reaching and bending to high and low shelves
✦ Able to work on a sales floor for a whole shift (4-8 hours)
✦ Follow detailed procedures accurately and consistently
This description reflects managements assignment of essential functions, it does not proscribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned; this job description is subject to change at any time.
There are a lot of perks in the bookselling world including access to advance reading copies, audiobooks, opportunities to meet authors, an employee discount and more. For employees who are interested in making bookselling a career there are opportunities to attend conferences and we’ll do our damndest to help you get there.
Also, all new employees are required to read How to Resist Amazon and Why by Danny Caine. We are anti-Amazon, I’m sure you can guess why.
MT Book Co. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We welcome all and will not tolerate harassment or hate or descrimination because of your skin color, your gods, your partnering, your ability, or any other protected status . Come as you are.
Drop off a resume and cover letter in person Tuesday-Saturday (ask for Chelsia or Charlie), or if you aren’t local, email us at chelsia (at) mtbookco .com. In your cover letter or email, tell us a little about yourself and your bookish ways, and why you're a good fit for our store. We are looking for the right fit, so this position is open until filled.
But the sooner the better, k?