Powell’s Books Application Online: Jobs & Career Info

Founded in the American Northwest in the early 1970s, Powell's Books maintains a sizeable presence on the West Coast and operates a popular online store. Job seekers may find viable employment through physical store locations or join teams as part of web-based sales and shipping.

Facts About Working at Powell's Books

Hiring Age: 18 years old (How old do you have to be to work at Powell's Books?)

Available Positions: Sales Associate, Book Store Clerk, Book Seller, Production Designer, Assistant Manager, Store Manager, General Manager, Regional Manager, Business Analyst, Financial Analyst

Printable Application: No. Search Job Openings or visit official site.

Powell’s Books Job Opportunities

Each physical store features between 150 and 200 staff members, on average. The company also maintains large warehouses and distribution centers, which factor prominently into online shipping operations. While the company operates only seven regional retail locations, Powell’s Books continues to grow into online markets and needs to hire motivated workers able to carry out receiving, logistics, marketing, and sales duties. Customer service represents the primary field most applicants find meaningful employment in with the Oregon-based bookstore chain.

Jobs available include both entry-level roles and professional careers. Workers traditionally start out in part-time sales or stock positions with the company before moving on to managerial or administrative posts. The metropolitan bookstore chain specializes in used and new merchandise, which requires new-hires to possess at least some familiarity with the general conditions of books and popular titles and authors. Regardless of position, employees interact with customers on a daily basis and offer recommendations, pricing, and directions to merchandise located inside stores. Online, customer service representatives assist with and resolve issues with company services. Dedicated book lovers with outgoing personalities often fit the ideal molds put in place for new associates.

Powell’s Books Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The prominent Northwest book retailer enjoys a celebrated history spanning decades of regional culture. Awarded distinctions as one of the best independent bookstore chains in the United States, Powell’s Books maintains popularity and rapport with surrounding communities by offering excellent service. Applicants must stand at least 18 in order to gain employment with the regional bookstore. Additional hiring considerations sit outlined in the positions descriptions for popular jobs below:

Bookseller/Book Buyer

  • The often simultaneous positions of bookseller and book buyer provide entry-level part-time and full-time job opportunities for motivated applicants.
  • Hiring requirements primarily hinge on extroverted personalities and general knowledge of books and proper customer service protocol.
  • Workers should remain friendly, engaging, and attentive while on the clock.
  • Managers often inquire about instances of providing excellent customer service in the past during job interviews to make final hiring decisions.
  • Key responsibilities may vary day to day but regularly include sorting through sellback titles, pricing offers, ringing up purchases, assisting in sales, and explaining company policies and services.
  • Booksellers and book buyers earn generous pay scales starting around $10.00 per hour and rising to more than $12.00 over time.

Customer Service Representative

  • Personality and ability to interact with patrons in sociable manners also factor into customer service representative hiring requirements.
  • Customer service representatives may work onsite at physical store locations or at call centers fielding questions about online sales or potential returns.
  • Open availability and caring attitudes often prove influential in employment considerations.
  • Depending on experience, the traditionally part-time position may pay as much as $14.00 an hour.
  • Most customer service representatives initially earn between $10.00 and $11.00 hourly.


  • Entry-level booksellers and buyers may advance into careers as managers.
  • Available job titles include bookseller and book buyer lead roles in addition to assistant store manager and general manager positions.
  • Lead associates may work part-time or full-time, while assistant store managers and general retail managers primarily assume full-time schedules.
  • Responsibilities center on supervising subordinate staffs, placing merchandise orders, processing payroll, creating employee schedules, resolving customer complaints, opening and closing storefronts, logging and reporting sales and inventory, and visual merchandising.
  • Upper-level managerial positions often require advanced degrees or considerable experience in the book retail industry.
  • Lead booksellers and book buyers enjoy hourly pay rates starting at $12.00, in most cases.
  • Assistant store managers and general managers receive annual salary options typically beginning at $30,000. Salary options top out around $55,000.

Tips For Applying

The hiring process requires employment hopefuls to create online profiles through the company careers portal. After submitting usernames and passwords, applicants may sort through available jobs by specific location or in warehouse and distribution operations. Applicants may apply directly to specific jobs or fill out general applications held on file for 60 days. Applicants should display genuine devotion to the American Northwest, literature, and customer service. The chain routinely rewards candidates with open availabilities, expressed interests in books, and outgoing personalities.

Application Status

In order to check on the status of an outstanding application, each applicant must either call, visit, or email an existing location and speak directly with management. The online careers portal often notifies candidates once submissions receive review from recruitment officials; however, management generally reaches out to successful candidates prior to the need for follow-up measures. Job seekers usually receive notification of intent to interview via email or phone call within a week or so of submitting the required hiring materials. The entire hiring process lasts between one and two weeks.

Benefits of Working at Powell’s Books

The retail chain often allows employees to check books out of store locations like libraries.

Workers also receive:

  • Paid lunches,
  • Scheduled raises,
  • Paid time off,
  • Including sick days,
  • Paid training, and career advancement opportunities, regardless of position, tenure, or experience.

Qualified associates receive employment benefits packages, as well. Specific job benefits vary but generally include:

  • 401(k) retirement plans,
  • Healthcare coverage, and vacation time.

Extra Information on Powell’s Books

Book sales comprise a large portion of daily operations; however, the stores operating under the company banner also host community events, lectures, and concerts on a regular basis. Throughout any given month, customers may visit Powell’s Books locations and take part in organized story readings for kids, poetry readings by local and nationally renowned poets and authors, and discussions led by prominent figures in various academic circles. The bookstore posts upcoming events on a regularly updated online calendar for easy reference.


  • Lynn Mayo says:

    I have been coming to Powells since I was a child. I love Powells and what it represents, not only to our community, but to every book lover in America! When I was in New Jersey a few months back I met a gal whose first question to me when I told her I was from Portland was, “oh… have you ever been to Powells Book Store?” This has happened to me more than once, I might add!

    I moved away from Portland a couple of years ago after a 20 year media/business affairs career with Wieden & Kennedy. I am back in my beautiful city and in need of employment. There is no place I would rather give my energy than this amazing organization.

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