How to Start a Bookstore

by Shenron on October 17, 2009

As part of what we hope to make an ongoing series here at Everyday Career, we’re going to start covering what it takes to start your own business.

Many people don’t work for “the man” anymore and are looking for alternatives to their old 9-5 lifestyle. So, for all of those people, today is the day we kick it all off with a quick idea at what it takes to start your own bookstore.

Everyone loves books, so what a great place to start.

Bookstore1 How to Start a Bookstore

1. Where You Are: The first step before you even put a penny down on an idea is to figure out who and where your customers are. If you live in a university town or a big city, look around and see where the current bookstores are located and see if you can figure out why they’re in the place they are. Depending on the demographics of an area, a small bookstore located right across the street from a college campus may be a great option or if you’re in a small suburb, a book stall at the local strip mall may be the best thing to do. It will take a lot of time and studying to figure out who the customers are going to be and why they go to certain bookstores and not others.

2. Niche: Obviously, I don’t want to be the deciding factor in what type of bookstore you ultimately run but these days people are looking for a lot more specialized content. Not to say that in days gone by people didn’t want very specific books and products, it’s just that today it’s a lot more expected that a store or vendor have specifics than before. In an age of instant satisfaction, you have to be able to compete with online retailers that can have books to a person’s door in under 2 to 3 days. If you can get them their “Where’s Waldo Super Collection” in just under a few minutes, you’re bound to attract more attention. See if there’s a lack of a certain type of book genre in the area and capitalize on it.

3. Buy Wholesale: When it comes time to open the doors to your business, make sure you’ve saved as much money as possible by buying wholesale. Buying one book at a time can get enormously expensive. There are plenty of wholesale book retailers online and they’re nothing more than a quick Google search away.

Bookstore How to Start a Bookstore

4. Make yourself pop: Do you remember that dull coffee shop down the street from you that shut down a few months ago? The key word here is “dull.” To put it bluntly, people are stupid a lot of the time. It doesn’t matter if you have the best store in the world (let’s hope you strive to!), they normally just care about what it looks like. If you can make your store “pop” and be conducive to your customer’s needs, you’ll attract customers like kids to a fair. Make yourself memorable. If you get a great looking logo and a nice interior, people will remember you and will come back.

We hope you enjoyed the first of many business installments we’re planning. Let us know how we’re doing in the comments below!

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