How to Start a Bookstore Business in 15 Steps

Bookstores are the favorite place of more than one generation. The elders love to view and purchase books. Youngsters go for his/her courses book and fiction of their preference. Middle-aged people go to the bookstore for purchasing books of their interest and also to get the book for their children. With so much traffic inside the bookstore, you could start a bookstore company and make good earnings.

Moreover, you don’t need to have previous experience running a bookstore; however, you must conduct thorough market surveys before opening up a shop.

Despite the digital transformation, printed books remain relevant. According to Statista (a global statistics provider), printed books experienced an increase of 8.2 percent in the US between the years 2004 and 2020. Additionally, if you’re from countries like the Philippines or India, owning a bookstore can be lucrative.

Hence, a library store is a prospective one and starting this kind of store will give you great satisfaction. You will be able to enjoy reading books if you are a lover of them.

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Here are the 15 Steps to Start a Bookstore Business

If you want to open a book store, you must first decide which type of book store you want to open. Then, you need to learn everything there is to know about running a bookstore. Finally, you need to put these things into practice.

Location and Research

Your book store business’ success largely depends on where you choose to set up shop. You need to study thoroughly before making any decisions.

Research the demand for specific types of books and which ones have the most demand. You’ll use this information when deciding what kinds of books to stock.

Read: Ways to conduct market research with a low budget

Find the Place

You need to decide where you want to set up your store before starting any construction. If you live in the area, you could begin by renting office space near your house. Otherwise, you may have to look for a commercial property to lease.

To open a bookstore, you’ll need a location that’s close to students or college kids. Also, malls or shopping centers are good locations to start your store.

Write down a business plan for your bookstore business.

A good business plan is the most important thing for a bookstore business. You can get help from experts if needed.

A good business plan should include the following: Capital required to start the business; Source of financing; Headings for expenses including costs of goods sold, rents or leases, cost of fixtures, salaries of staff; and Other miscellaneous items.

As well as costs, the bookshop’s financials should include details of its revenues and income projections. Some of the key points that need to be covered in your bookshop’s financials are the following:

  • Initial and recurring costs
  • Target customers
  • Pricing strategy
  • How would you go about selling them?

Select your Niche

Before starting your bookstore business, you need to determine which types of books you want to carry. If you’re planning on carrying textbooks for school and university students, then that might be a good idea.

If you want to read non-text books, you can buy them at bookstores or online retailers like However, if you’re looking for specific types of books, then

Name Your Bookshop

A good bookshop must have a good title. You can choose any kind of book. But make sure they are not boring. Some people may think that if a book contains a lot of information then it is boring. But actually, a good book is interesting because it contains a lot of knowledge. So, choose a good title for your bookstore. Make sure it is catchy and easy to remember.

Buy web address from your bookstore so you won’t be forced to use one later.

Register Your Bookstore

Next, you need to choose whether you want to be a sole proprietor, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. You can select one depending on your personal preferences.

Taxes, Licenses, and Permits

To start your own book store, register your company for the necessary taxes and get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Also, obtain the federal and local licenses and permits required to run your new shop.

Buy Business Insurance

You need to consider general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance when operating a book store.

Open an online business bank account

You must register the names of your bookstores before opening any bank accounts. This is very important from the financial point of view.

Create an accounting system

Along with a banking system, you should also develop a skill set for bookkeeping. Do not try to learn everything about bookkeeping on your own. Hire a professional who knows what they’re doing. Also, choose a good bookkeeping program that suits your needs.

Arrange Funds

If you don’t have enough funds to open a bookstore, then you can borrow some extra cash from friends or family members. However, if you want to get a bank loan, you will need a solid proposal for the loan request.

You should also consider applying for a business loan. It will give you access to a more significant sum of cash than a personal one would offer and will allow you to buy things without having to pay them off immediately.

Determine the costs associated with starting your bookshop.

For opening your book store, you will require between $40,000-$50,000. It consists of the fixed cost items like the inventory, furnishings, taxes, insurance, licenses, rents, etc, and the variables cost items like salaries, marketing expenses, promotion, advertising, etc.

Evaluate the expenses of your book shop

There are different kinds of costs involved in running a book store. One kind of cost is on the books themselves. Another kind of cost is on things like rent, utilities, etc.

  • The stock of the books
  • Furniture including bookshelves and tables, desks, etc.
  • Electrical fixtures
  • Computer, printer, and other machinery
  • Taxes, Licenses, and Insurance Premiums

On the other hand, however, there are costs like rent, utilities, etc.

  • Salaries and Wages
  • Marketing and publicity
  • Electricity, movement, etc.

A bookstore has a profit margin of 15%.

Booksellers usually charge 40 percent commission to publishers. But they can earn even more by selling used books alongside new books.

Create a Marketing Plan to Increase the Customer Base and Profit

You need a good business plan if you want to increase your sales and profits. Effective strategies include:

  • Posters, pamphlets, flyers, and banners in nearby neighborhoods are important ways of letting others know about your book store.
  • Ads in newspapers, television, radio, and magazines are also useful.
  • Social networking sites are great for spreading awareness about your business. You can share the links of your store’s websites on your social networks. You can even set up different Facebook pages for each of your stores.
  • A good website is an important tool for promoting yourself and your business. You should enable online sales of books through your website.
  • If you organize various types of activities at your store, including book launches, book promotions, or storytelling, you may be able to draw more visitors.
  • Offering special discounts during certain events or times of year (e.g., holidays) may be a good way to attract new customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Start an Online Bookstore?

As more and more people start using ebooks, there’s been a surge in demand for online ebook stores. Here are some of the basics for launching one.

  • Online research into buying trends for books.
  • Create a business plan.
  • Build the online store.
  • If you want people to know about your online bookstore, promote it online.

What ways can I use to raise funds for my bookstore?

Banks offer low-interest rates for small business owners who qualify for their own personal credit cards.

What else can I offer in my bookstore besides books?

To increase profits, you can sell office supplies, toys, gifts, T-Shirt, greeting cards, pens, pencils, cups, etc. You could also set up a separate desk for these products.

What are the salaries for the people who run bookstores?

The hourly rate for salespeople or clerks varies from $12 to $14 an hour. Full-time accountants earn anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 per month. Books can be an excellent business idea if they’re well researched and strategically marketed. You just need to put in the time and effort.

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About Faheem Rafique

The author is an entrepreneur and business writer with over ten years of experience in the field of small business ideas, marketing and branding. Let's connect if you have anything to discuss!