We're hiring—join our books team!

Red Emma’s has an opening for a new member of our books department. This is a position on our worker-owner track, which means we are looking for someone ready to make a multi-year commitment to growing a democratically self-managed worker cooperative and radical political project, and excited about growing into a role as an equal owner of the business.

Initially, this position is part-time for two regularly scheduled, eight hour shifts, plus additional irregular paid shifts tabling off site events. We anticipate that availability of shifts may grow over time as our sales also grow, but can’t guarantee more than 16 hours/week right now. Our pay starts at $11/hr, with predictable raises based on number of hours worked.

Perks include free food and coffee while on shift, and the ability to order any book we can get deeply discounted to just about cost.


  • You can attend meetings on Monday evening for the department and the project as a whole.

  • You are excited about working in a sometimes chaotic collective environment with no bosses, and able to both take direction and take initiative, and have a self started interest in learning from your department about how the store works and about bookselling more generally.

  • You are not afraid of data entry: the idea of flipping through lots and lots of catalogues and getting the books we should carry next season onto preorders on our inventory system sounds like your cup of tea. And you’ve got the attention to detail that makes this work productive and effective.

  • You are deeply committed to the project of building an inclusive, welcoming space on North Avenue, and committed to strengthening a multiracial, anti-patriarchal, and queer/trans friendly democratic workplace.

  • You have excellent customer service skills, and love to talk to all sorts of people about books they might want to buy, even when those books might not be the ones you are most interested in.

  • You are excited about working at a bookstore that tries to both carry a comprehensive selection of titles on the broad radical tradition, but also focuses on curating titles specifically with an eye to meet the reading needs of Baltimore communities underserved by typical corporate bookselling.

  • You are excited about Red Emma’s as a platform to bring authors to Baltimore, and want to help actively work to suggest talks we should book and help with promoting those talks.

  • You are interested in representing the bookstore offsite at tabling events like bookfairs and conferences.

  • You don’t have any problem contributing to the regular shift work that opens or closes the store, the daily cleaning work that is the responsibility of booksellers, and are excited to pitch in on other irregular non-bookselling tasks that might involve deep cleaning or straightening up the store.

Not required, but a plus:

  • You have the desire and skills necessary to step in and fill the shoes of our fiction buyer. You have a thorough knowledge of fiction and literature, especially contemporary fiction and fiction by authors of color and queer/trans authors. You have strong opinions about Man Booker prize nominees *before* the shortlist is announced, are excited to sell a middle school kid the novel they didn’t know existed but will change their life, you want to work on building vibrant communities of authors and readers in Baltimore City, you are excited both about the good stuff on the NYT bestsellers list but also an amazing self-published debut zine of stories from a local author, and you understand that radical politics and the fiction that changes the world are not the same thing, but can and should be fellow travellers, even if they don’t always get along.

  • You are able to regularly work 3-11PM, especially on weekends.

  • You are excited that we have a store subscription to Publishers Weekly.

  • You have excellent conflict management and de-escalation skills, and are interested to learn more about the intersections of harm reduction and retail.

  • You want to be a host and MC for in-store events with amazing authors.

  • You are excited about using our in-house equipment to make zines and buttons we can sell in the store and elsewhere.

  • You have some prior experience with bookselling or publishing.

  • You are confused about why we don’t have zillions of shelf-talkers and want to help us fix that.

Physical activity required

  • You can lift moderately heavy boxes and climb ladders to reach things on upper shelves, and perform moderately intensive cleaning/opening tasks like taking down chairs and mopping floors.

How to apply:

Email us with a cover letter explaining why you want to work on books as a worker-owner of Red Emma's, and a resume highlighting your relevant experience, at booksjob@redemmas.org. We'll be reviewing applications on a rolling basis with a goal of getting someone working training shifts someone soon, so don't dawdle. No phonecalls, please.  APPLICATIONS CLOSE FRIDAY JULY 21st!

Red Emma’s is a diverse, multiracial, queer and trans friendly workplace, and we actively encourage and welcome applications from women, people of color, and queer/trans folks.