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How to start an indie bookstore

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

Do you love books?

Have you ever thought about owning your own bookstore?

The internet has made life so convenient.

Sites like Amazon and other online shopping stores, you don’t have to leave your house.

Everything is instant.

Order a book and you can instantly download it to your e-reader, tablet or phone.

Maybe you’re thinking that with a behemoth like Amazon, independently owned bookstores are not a good business idea.

Well, when Amazon came long several big box bookstores were in trouble. Borders, for example, went out of business. But when this happened it left a gap that indie bookstores could fill.

Personally, I love bookstores! I love reading books! And believe it or not, I’m not alone!

There are still people who love getting out of the house, going to a bookstore and buying a physical book.

If you don't believe me, The Census Bureau came out with a report in September 2018 which estimate independent bookstores sales to be $948 million.

There’s a great article from Forbes that talks about indie bookstores and how they are still relevant. Another article from the Huffington Post list 50 indie bookstores in the U.S. There’s still a market out there that loves bookstores, you just have to see if your local market is one of them.

What do you need to know?

There is a lot of competition so the way bookstores have been getting around that is by creating hybrid bookstores. This is done by combining a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, etc. with a bookstore.

By doing this you are creating multiple streams of income, expanding your target reach, and can potentially create a buzz around your bookstore.

It looks like a higher percentage of people ages 18-65 read books in print rather than digital. There are several young people also reading more books.

According to a pew report only 6% of American read only digital books with 38% reading only printed and 28% reading both print and digital.

So do some research, find out what people are reading, what they’re interested in. You can open a bookstore and wine bars like the BookBar in Denver or a bookmobile like the Twenty Stories in L.A. There are so many different things you can do to stand out and attract your desired market. You just need to combine creativity with some research.

So, if you want to open an indie bookstore, before jumping in, do a little market research. Ask people in your community if they would like a bookstore. Do a Facebook survey ask friends and family. Gather some information first and see if it’s something your community would like to have. Once you gather that information you will have an idea of whether or not it’s something worthwhile to start. This information is important because as a brick and mortar store the people in your community will be your customers.

Then get a business plan.

Writing one professionally would be best.

The business plan will help with the information you need like the amount of money you’ll need, what your market would look like, who your local competitors are, etc. And of course, it would work if you are looking to raise money or want to partner up with someone, show to the leasing agent, etc.

Not to mention that a business plan gets you started on your first steps to launching your business.

Did you know that small business is the backbone of our economy?

If you're tired of your 9-5 and you want to start a business you'll be fulling your dreams and help out the economy.

So, what are your thoughts about independent bookstores. Do you like the smell of a brand new book? Do you like going to bookstores, using a kindle, or both?

Leave your comments below!

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