Operating a Successful Independent Bookstore: A Guide To Get Started

Are you an entrepreneur contemplating owning and operating an independent bookstore? Providing your community with a store that offers books and accessories is a great objective. Just like their enormous counterparts that are a maze of towering bookshelves, you can also build a successful business. Here are the items you need to consider when operating an independent bookstore.

Review Financing Options

Opening a business typically requires meeting with a lender to establish real estate and equipment financing. If you lease your building, you must purchase equipment, such as bookshelves, cash registers, and furniture. If you plan to offer compatible services, such as a coffee and pastry kiosk, you will need the necessary supplies to provide that service to your customers.

Determine Your Niche

There are many options for the type of literature you plan to sell. You can commit to only selling brand-new books. You may choose to buy and sell new and used books. Alternatively, you may focus on a specific niche market, such as antique tomes, railroad history, crime novels, or children’s books. No matter what you choose as your genre, your customers will appreciate your expertise when looking for their next great read.

Find Your Location

Your bookstore will thrive in a location that coordinates with your selections. For example, antique books will likely sell better if the bookstore is located alongside stores that sell antiques. A kiosk that features general interest books will thrive near public transportation. Finally, a children’s bookstore will attract local families in a suburban location.

Establish an Online Presence

As a bookstore owner, an online store can generate additional cash flow. Your lender can help you secure equipment financing to purchase shelves and tables to support your online inventory.

Partner With Schools

Talk with the schools in your community and see if you can partner with their libraries. Offer to provide the schools with free books for students or libraries. Create a community-focused business focused by encouraging employees to read to students. Offer student discounts. Promote events at your store by asking schools to send fliers home to parents.

Attract Customers

Even if they aren’t buying, having customers in your store will make it look more successful to the bystander. Develop a schedule of activities to help community members visit your store. Many of them will purchase gift items while at your store. Some ideas to attract a variety of ages include:

  • Storytimes
  • Book signings
  • Knitting groups
  • Tabletop games challenges
  • Chess competitions
  • Book clubs

As you plan your grand opening, note the successes and challenges. Replicate those things that went well; learn from those challenges you experienced. As your independent bookstore enterprise grows, you will find great opportunities to help you succeed.