Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Working in the books industry

Are you planning to enter the broad and creative industry of highlighted words, semicolons, shiny covers and colourful libraries? Working in the books industry can be a rewarding feat for anyone, regardless of which subject is stamped onto your degree at the end of your course. Are you looking to throw your graduation hat into a pile of books? Or do you want to stroll through those publication doors a little more unconventionally? Not all careers in the books industry are actually with books. If reading or writing isn’t really your thing, but you like the environment that this type of stimulating, creative industry offers, there is still a place on the shelf reserved for you.

Aside from the more obvious careers such as author, editor, marketing, sales, publicity, and critic, there are a few other jobs available in this industry which you might not have thought of.


Books need covers, right? No matter how many times we say we don’t judge a book by its cover, some of us can’t help but tack that romance novel back into its little home because the people on the front had less chemistry than a lab experiment. Books need good covers which look great on banners, online and in stores. Do you consider yourself a type of photography connoisseur? Then maybe this is the route for you.


Since the installation and growth of YouTube, blogging (and its written counterpart, blogging) have grown massively in popularity. BookTube, a field of YouTube solely composed of members who create content relating to novels, reading, writing and all the other fantastic subtleties which get us excited about books, is an example of the accessibility of the industry in different formats. If you prefer to be behind the camera than taking pictures with it, this might be an ideal career for you.


Journalists are responsible for sniffing out the next juicy event or news story on the block. They are the bloodhounds of the industry. If you like writing, and can fend off the haters who attack you for sticking your nose into their business, journalism might be a suitable path for you. After scouting out the best sources and digging into an unfolding drama story, journalists will be responsible for writing up articles about their findings.


Instead of picking up a pen or a laptop, you might be more comfortable with a pencil and a sketchbook. Illustrators are the reason childhood books are packed full of colour, imaginative caricatures and pop-up objects. Although illustrations are less frequent in certain genres nowadays, the academic and younger fields in the industry will never run out of the need for you to draw their next brain or Peppa Pig lookalike.


Possibly one of the more challenging routes in the industry: a translator. Not only must you have a spectacular command of more than one language; you must also know the rules of several languages’ grammar, punctuation, orthography, syntax and how the meaning is conveyed through text. Are you already bilingual? Trilingual? Basically Google Translate? Do you enjoy the challenge of converting language? Then maybe you can explore your options with translating.

Literary Agent

Do you have a keen eye for spotting talent? If you don’t fancy actually editing, reviewing or writing a piece of work, you can utilise your Sherlock Holmes skills to sniff out the next bestseller. Literary agents are responsible for selling an author’s book to an editor. You help authors get their food in the door – but you need to have your hand on the handle first. A natural intuition for spotting greatness, along with the ability to sell an idea, is vital for this career role.

You can explore a variety of career opportunities in the books industry, allowing you to stay close to your passion while also spending that nine-to-five shift doing what you enjoy.

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