Bookstore Unions

Host:  Nicole @ Oblong Books

Participants: John @ Cavalier House Books


  • Why do bookstore owners fear unions? Can they be useful in keeping booksellers long-term?
  • Part of larger overall conversation about sustainability + investment in community / booksellers
  • Unions can be useful for any bookstore with several full-time employees; don’t inherently clash with ideas of ownership, payment; unions can’t ask for more than organization can actually give, but allow people to work together and feel ownership in work
  • Pivot trade organizations to professional organizations for booksellers? Refocus from bookstores to booksellers, allow booksellers to feel ownership in work without owning store
  • Nontraditional models of compensation for booksellers (alongside raised wages as often as possible): education opportunities, farm shares, connecting to community, etc.
  • How do we get rid of fear of unions in the bookselling community when they’re ultimately only going to bring about good?
  • Lots of other things because that’s what happens when two people talk for 45 minutes and are too invested in the conversation to take notes 🙂

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