Join Kepler's Books, an innovative bookstore pioneering a new approach to bookselling
Book Buyer & Inventory Manager
Compensation: $47,840 - $58,240 per year, depending on experience and qualifications
Employment type: Full-time Salaried Position.
Benefits: Profit Sharing Plan, Paid Time Off, Relocation Allowance if relocating from outside the SF Bay Area, Staff Discounts on books and merchandise sold at Kepler's.
Kepler’s has an opening for a General Book Buyer & Inventory Manager. We're looking for an experienced buyer with a passion for books who will work with our community to find new and creative ways to get people excited about books, develop and implement a best practice model for buying and inventory management, and enhance Kepler’s reputation for being a world-class literary destination for our community.
Kepler’s is managed with the philosophy of stewardship - we act as stewards and our job is to ensure that the organization is optimally serving all its stakeholders including our staff, customers, authors, publishers, vendors, partners, landlord, and the community. This philosophy drives us to develop pragmatic responses to address the evolving needs and issues of our stakeholders. Examples of actions we have taken in the last few years include:
- Scaling back our sidelines business to refocus the bookstore on books
- Spinning off Kepler’s award-winning event program into a separate non-profit called Kepler’s Literary Foundation
- Proactively raising the starting compensation for new booksellers to $15 per hour
- Instituting a profit-sharing program through which the vast majority of the bookstore’s profits are distributed to our staff using a democratic formula
The book industry is going through significant changes. In addition to its domination of online book sales, Amazon is rapidly opening physical bookstores and at last count had seventeen physical locations in major markets. The number of new books being published continues to see high growth while the overall book industry sales have been stagnant. The average new book sells fewer and fewer copies each year. Traditional book reviews have been becoming less and less influential and readers are influenced in their book selections by a wide range of factors.
We are looking for an experienced Buyer and Inventory Manager who is interested in creating a highly collaborative process to develop and manage a world-class inventory of books for our community. Our ideal candidate will possess enough buying experience to have the book and industry knowledge necessary for the job, but will be an out of the box thinker who can take that knowledge to create new ways for buying and inventory management. This position offers the opportunity to help shape the future of a world-renowned bookstore.
Major job responsibilities will include:
- Have overall responsibility for creating, managing, evaluating, and fine-tuning the inventory of adult books.
- Manage frontlist buying and returns
- Supervise the buyers of backlist books and event books.
- Evaluate performance of sections and implement section enhancements on a regular basis.
Responsibilities to develop new approaches for buying and inventory management
- Coordinate and manage a collaborative buying program with participation from major stakeholders include our staff, customers, authors, and publishers.
- Conduct at least one annual survey of Kepler’s customers to gather their input about store inventory, sections, and displays.
- Engage publishers to find ways for them to add more value to our buying and inventory management processes.
- Strengthen Kepler’s relationships with book publishers, authors, and customers.
- Collaborate with leading bookstores around the world to gather and implement best practices for buying and inventory management.
Leadership and teamwork responsibilities
- Collaborate with the store management and staff to schedule and implement inventory management operations, including returns and section management.
- Create alignment with store management on inventory metrics and implement regular reporting and analysis of agreed-to metrics.
- Support booksellers in planning and implementing displays and store promotions and developing new and creative programs to get people excited about books.
- Train new staff on inventory organization in the store, finding books, shelving books, and their role in buying and inventory management.
- Collaborate with the buyer for kid's books and the buyer for sidelines to plan displays, promotions, and overall store performance.
- Be present and available in the store to help on the floor, assist customers, actively work with staff and other buyers
Ideal candidates will be able to demonstrate most of the following characteristics:
- Previous experience in buying and inventory management in a retail bookstore
- Deep knowledge of books, passion for reading and sharing your passion with others
- Track record of developing creative new approaches and practices
- Strong team player with leadership skills
- Staff management skills including good communication, clear goal setting, and giving feedback
- Strong interpersonal skills, including conflict management
- Attention to detail
- Self-directed with a track record of taking initiative and good at time management
- Good at setting and managing goals
- Critical thinking skills
- Strong orientation towards developing, implementing, and improving inventory management processes
- Skilled in tracking and analyzing metrics using Excel
- Experience with software tools like Edelweiss and Above the Treeline
- Able to lift boxes of books weighing up to 50 lbs
- We use Ibid-IE as a POS system, so experience with that is a plus
- A college degree in literature, creative writing, education or a related field is a plus
How to Apply
Applications must include a resume and a cover letter. Please answer at least two of the following three questions in the cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be considered for an interview.
- Tell us about a new process or approach you developed at work and what the results were.
- What categories/ genres of books are your greatest strength and what categories/ genres do you consider yourself not so strong in. How would you ensure that Kepler’s has strong stock of books in the latter categories/ genres?
- Describe two trends you see in the book industry and how should a bookstore like Kepler’s respond to these trends.
Please email complete application to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kepler's, based in Menlo Park, California, has been the intellectual and cultural hub of the community, now known as Silicon Valley, for over 60 years. Kepler's is known for its outstanding literary events, knowledgeable staff, broad selection of books and magazines, and deep ties to the community including local schools and non-profit organizations. Kepler's is a social enterprise with a mission, enshrined in our corporate articles and bylaws, to provide public education and cultural enrichment for our community. Kepler's is located next door to the popular Café Borrone and is conveniently accessible by Caltrain and public bus system.
Kepler's is the first bookselling institution in the US to pioneer an innovative hybrid business model that includes a community-financed bookstore, and a non-profit organization that produces a rich roster of literary events with leading intellectuals and writers. This new approach to creating sustainable bookstores has won numerous accolades and received wide coverage in the media including Stanford Social Innovation Review, Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Kepler’s Literary Foundation produces. In the last few years Kepler’s Literary Foundation has produced well attended premier events with Al Gore, Barbara Kingsolver, Margaret Atwood, Bill Nye, Michio Kaku, Temple Grandin, Jane Mayer, and Roxane Gay and many others.