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Setting up a Bookstore - What the Dickens?

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by Startacus Admin

Setting up a Bookstore - What the Dickens?

As you have hopefully noticed, over recent weeks we have been writing articles discussing the ins-and-outs of setting up various businesses. So far, we have covered starting a book storesetting up: a B&B business, a photography business and a magazine business (to name just a few) and this week we are turning our attention to that most traditional of enterprises... the bookstore.

Already I can practically hear your cries of protest - “Why on earth would someone want to set up a bookstore? Don't they know that paper publishing is dying a slow and painful death at the hands of e-books?” Well, this simply isn't true - in fact, sales of paper books continue to hold steady despite the growth of the e-book. To explain why (rather fittingly) I direct you to to the words of Russell T.Davies in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

“Maybe e-books are going to take over, one day, but not until those whiz kids in Silicon Valley invent a way to bend the corners, fold the spine, yellow the pages, add a coffee ring and allow a tablet to fall open at a favourite page.” Enough said!

Even so, the book market is still a hugely competitive business and it can prove an enormous challenge for independent booksellers who are coming up against the might of supermarkets, large chains and of course e-books, however with solid planning, excellent market research and a clear plan of action, a bookstore can still prove to be a lucrative and worthwhile venture. Here's a few things that you will need to consider...

Market Research

Ask yourself things like:

  • What sort of bookstore do you want to open? Will you sell second-hand books, antiquarian books, new books or specialist books?

  • Is there a market for this kind of bookstore in your area? Do you have any knowledge of the type of books that you will sell?

  • Who will your main competitors be? What is their pricing like? How busy are they? What will your store be able to offer that theirs cannot?

  • Where are you going to source your books from? If you are selling second-hand or antiquarian books will you have a reliable source or supplier?

  • Do you plan to trade only from the shop or will you advertise and sell your books online? What websites will you be able to use to do this?

  • Are there any other locations where you could also sell your books i.e. markets/trade fairs?

  • Are there any grants or start-up business funds available where you live to support your venture

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Published on: 24th August 2013

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