Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Don't put your daughter on the bookshop staff, Mrs Worthington...

...as Noel Coward almost said. Why not? Well in last week's trade paper, The Bookseller, Langton's Bookshop in Twickenham advertised for a bookseller with 2-5 years bookselling experience, with a relevant degree offering pay "to" £11,000. The last time I worked in bookselling - in 1995 - the radical bookshop I worked in paid around that sum, and we did not demand degrees, but rents were cheaper back then. So what would you get elsewhere? Statistics vary but it appears that employers of freshly qualified graduates offer on average £23,000, £25,ooo in London. Of course graduates going into investment banking can expect to earn about £38,000, but who wants to be universally loathed? Retail pays on average £22,000. In other words Langton's is paying half the going rate for graduate first jobbers, but wanting second jobbers. That's bookselling. Indeed Five Leaves will shortly be appointing a sales and marketing assistant at £14,000, pro-rata, and that is publishing. I'd rather spend my time doing something useful than getting rich, but even booksellers and publishers need to feed their hungry children. Still, our government tells us we are all in this together, so that's all right then.

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