Staying Traditional: Opening Your First Independent Bookstore

bookstore concept

Books are the main source of knowledge for many people worldwide. This is why bookstores are so important in every community. However, many argue that the time for physical bookstores is over, now that everything is digital. The increasing number of independent bookstores throughout the years tells a different story. There is a greater need for independent bookstores today, and if you’re planning to open one, here are some essential things you need to know about the market.

Cost of Opening a Bookstore

The cost of opening a bookstore varies greatly on the scope of your business. But what we know is that it’s much cheaper than other startups out there. The average startup nowadays requires $184,000 to run for a whole year. A bookstore won’t require you that much money. Some bookstore owners can open one with just a meager $2,000 budget, while some open their first bookstore with a $100,000 loan. We suggest staying on the safe side and have at least $50,000 in your bank account before opening one.

What Kind of Books Should You Sell?

You might think this is the most important question that needs an answer. But frankly, many bookstores don’t even think of this question during the startup phase. This is because books tend to sell themselves.

If you want a list of book genres that make the most money, here are the top five: romance, crime, inspirational (self-help books), science fiction and fantasy, and horror. Any books on this list will surely sell, regardless of the author behind them. You should also consider selling textbooks if you’re close to universities, schools, and other educational areas. If not, then consider sticking to the top five.

Offer Stationery Items to Consumers

stationary items

You might have come across bookstores that sell board games, printing materials, and such. This is because every physical bookstore nowadays has to diversify its products to meet demands from consumers. We’re not telling you to sell items that aren’t right up your alley. We’re not also telling you to sell grocery items in your bookstore. That doesn’t make any sense. What we’re telling you is to sell something that everybody needs: stationery.

Stationery is important in today’s modern society, even if we’ve moved on to the digital age. There are even some experts who argue that stationery is becoming relevant than ever. Regardless of the current market state, you’ll have to sell stationery in your bookstore if you want it to grow. You also have to sell a variety of these items for consumers. For example, notebooks that use glue for their binding are less likely to sell than a spiral notebook. Why is that? Consumers enjoy comfort and accessibility, and spiral notebooks offer exactly that.

Additionally, a plastic coil spiral binding or a metal one can make a difference in the notebooks you sell. They tend to be more durable when compared to other notebooks, and both the bindings and papers can also be removed if they want to recycle or store them. Many people prefer these kinds of notebooks and are more likely to purchase them even if they are more expensive than traditional notebooks.

Another good example when it comes to variety is gel pens. There are many varieties of gel pens nowadays. But mostly, they differ from how much ink they use when writing. Some want thicker ink, while some want a finer one. Having all kinds of nib-sizes (from 0.2 millimeters to 0.5 millimeters) can sell your pens much faster.

These are just a couple of examples when it comes to variety and stationery choices. It’s great to have as much variety in the stationery products in your bookstore because these options will help your consumers find what they are looking for.

Open a Cafe

Here is another business idea you should have in your bookstore. Cafes can earn a decent amount of money when placed right next to a bookstore. It gives people a place to read the book they have newly purchased while having fresh-brewed coffee at the side. This is fairly common for bookstores that have a lot of space. Furthermore, many bookstore owners found that both cafes and stationery items can earn a lot more than regular book sales. So if you have the space for it, give it a shot! It’s not going to be a big investment anyways.

Here are a couple of tips you should consider before opening your first independent bookstore. By knowing these things, you should get a decent income from your store without worrying about the yearly expenses it brings. Remember to put some love into your bookstore because it will love you right back.

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