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How to Start a Profitable Bookstore Business in 15 Steps

    Despite the digital books and the attraction of audio-visual media, there are book lovers at all corners of the globe. They regularly buy books and makers of millions of bestsellers in different languages. If you are a book-lover and have a fairly good idea about books, you can start a bookstore business.

    Finding a good location for your bookstore, stocking up the right books, and offering discounts will make your bookstore business profitable and sustainable. Research and planning are very important before starting a business.

    Getting a good idea of your competitors will give you an added advantage. You can plan and add some USP to get an edge over your competitors.

    To achieve success in your bookstore business, you have to pay attention to various factors like the arrangement of books, maintaining catalogs, stock checking, and hiring efficient employees. Think out of the box to make your bookstore different from the others.

    Here are the 15 Steps to Start Your Bookstore Business

    1. Select Area and Location

    The area, as well as location, is very important for the growth of your bookstore business. Choose an area carefully. If it is your native area, you will have certain advantages since you know the features of the area. Apart from that, you will also have some acquaintances in that area that will help you in developing your business.

    The location of your bookstore is of prime importance because that will decide the footfall of customers in your store. Try to find a strategic as well as a convenient location for your bookstore since that will attract the attention of many passers-by who may turn out to be potential customers for your bookstore.

    2. Research the Market

    Despite your preference for a specific area and location, you need to collect certain information about the area. These include the profile of the people residing in that area, their academic levels, financial status, age profile, etc.

    Read: Market Research: How It’s Done, Process, Objectives

    You also need data about students in your chosen area, because that will help you in deciding whether you will have textbooks in your bookstore or not. Another important piece of data you need to collect is the number of bookstores in the area. This will make you aware of your competitors and help you in planning strategies to overcome them.

    3. Write a Business Plan

    Your next step towards bookstore business is writing a business plan. Keep in mind, your business plan must have all the details of your business along with facts and figures. Important points of your bookstore business plan include

    • Your idea of a bookstore business.
    • Why do you want to open a bookstore?
    • Advantages of the area you have chosen.
    • Details of location like area of your bookstore, neighborhood, etc
    • Details about your bookstore and its stock
    • Funds Required
    • Source of Funds
    • Cost Break-up
    • Profit Projection
    • How do you plan to promote your bookstore?

    Discuss all these points with logic as well as figures. Don’t mention any imaginary or unrealistic information or figures.

    4. Nature of your Bookstore

    What kind of bookstore do you prefer? Decide on this before buying the stock. You can make it a bookstore for fiction or academic/textbooks. However, it is best and most profitable to make a blend of all kinds of books in your bookstore. You have to decide on the proportion according to the demographic data of your area.

    5. Select Bookstore Name and Domain

    Now you have to choose a name for your bookstore business. Thoughtful, creative, and easy-to-remember names are best for the bookstore business. As soon as you finalize the name, get the domain in the name of your bookstore business.

    6. Fix Legal Status

    Register your bookstore business in any of the legal formats of business. These include Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLP or Private Limited Company. Find the most suitable option for you and register accordingly.

    Read: How to Register a Small Business

    7. Apply for Taxes

    Register your bookstore business for the taxes. Talk to the local competent authority and procure them as instructed. Ot is worth mentioning here, GST registration is mandatory to conduct any type of business activity in the country at present.

    8. Procure Licenses and Permits

    Obtain all the necessary licenses and permits for your bookstore business. Contact the respective authorities and make sure that you pay the fees in time and regularly to run your business free of hassles.

    9. Buy Insurance

    Getting your bookstore business insured is an important step of your business. You will need General Liability Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance, and Commercial Property Insurance to start with.

    10. Open a Business Bank Account

    Open a bank account in the name of your bookstore business to set the accounting procedure in line from the beginning. Get a business credit card also.

    11. Cost of Starting a Bookstore

    Funds or investment for your bookstore business depends on certain variable factors like the area of your bookstore, inventory, etc. However, on a thumb rule, you will need an investment of Rs. 20 Lacs to Rs. 30 Lacs to start your bookstore in a metropolitan city.

    12. Arrange Funds

    For funds, you can apply for a bank loan, get loans from your family or friends, use your savings, or mortgage any asset of yours to get a loan.

    13. Expense Heads for a Book Shop

    The expense will be incurred in various heads. Some are fixed, while some are variable. The heads of expense include

    • Space Rent
    • Renovation Cost
    • Maintenance
    • Furniture and Fixtures
    • Inventory
    • Salary of Staffs
    • Taxes and License/Permit Fees
    • Insurance Premium
    • Marketing and Publicity Cost

    14. Develop Profitmaking Book Shop Ideas

    You can make your bookstore business more profitable with some important and innovative ideas. Firstly, arrange books according to the genre as well as subjects for the convenience of the buyers.

    Secondly, have enough space for the buyers to bring out a book from the rack and have a look at it.

    Thirdly, hire staff with experience in the bookstore business and who have a passion for books, so that they can guide the buyers in finding their preferred books.

    Fourthly, if any preferred book is not available in your bookstore, note it down along with the contact details of the customer. Bring that book and inform him/her to come and buy the book.

    Lastly, keep other items like stationery, T-shirts, coffee mugs, toys, greetings cards, etc for better sales.

    15. Have a Marketing Plan

    Plan your marketing strategies for your bookstore business thoughtfully and intelligently to get maximum returns on your investment.

    Ads and Publicity

    Publicize your newly opened bookstore through posters, banners, hoardings, flyers, pamphlets, etc. Newspaper and magazine ads are also very effective.

    Opening Ceremony

    Open your bookstore by a grand opening ceremony inviting celebrities like authors, critics, or essayists. Invite other important persons of the area along with the media to get good coverage.

    Hosting Events

    Host various events like debates, book inauguration, discussion forums in your bookstore. This will attract different kinds of prospective clients to your bookstore.

    Offer Special Discounts

    Offer special discounts of 20-40% on the cover price of books to draw the interests of book lovers.

    Other Attractions

    If there is space in your bookstore, start a small coffee shop along with the bookstore. You can also arrange for some children’s entertainment in your bookstore. These features will get you more clients and more revenue.

    Create a Bookstore Website

    Make your website informative as well as well-designed to make it work as your mouthpiece. This will spread the name of your bookstore far and wide. You can also enable online sales through your website. Furthermore, try to create an online store for your bookshop to tap customers on the internet space.

    Digital Publicity & Social Media

    Digital ads are great for the publicity of your bookstore business. Social media too is an important tool for marketing and publicity. Create pages in the name of your bookstore on various social media handles. Update the pages with new posts and events that take place in your bookstore. Share your website link on these pages.

    How Profitable is the Bookstore Business?

    The profit margin is calculated differently. You get a discount and earn profits. The publishers generally will offer you a discount of 40% on the cover price of the book. Hence if you sell the book at a marked price, or offer a discount of 5-10%, you are still on profit. Apart from that, if you sell other items, you will get a profit from that also.

    If you can set up a section of used books in your bookstore, you can get more profits from them, as you can buy used books at a much lower price.

    The profit will depend on your sales figures. However, normally bookstore business gets a profit between 35-40%.

    If you want to start your bookstore business, there is a bright future ahead of you. Good planning and extensive marketing and publicity will help you achieve high success in the bookstore business.