Bookselling is a wonderful and fulfilling profession. Owning your own store may seem a natural and attractive idea if you love and know books. However, your love and knowledge have to be combined with business acumen if your bookstore is to succeed. Like any other retail business, you will have to meet the cost of rent, compensation, and utilities, not to mention payments to your vendors.
You need to make sure you:
• Have the necessary knowledge and experience;
• Have the right financial backing; and
• Are prepared to work hard.
Here are some suggestions to help make your dream of owning an independent bookstore a reality:
Become a Provisional ABA Member. Provisional members have access to a wealth of information, tools, and expertise. From the Book Buyer's Handbook (directory of publisher terms, specials, and co-op offers) to educational events, the bookseller-to-bookseller forums, networking opportunities, and the ABACUS financial benchmarking survey results, ABA has what you need to prepare yourself for bookstore ownership.
Request ABA’s "Opening a Bookstore" electronic kit. Provide your name, email address, mailing address, potential store location and name, if applicable, and where you are in the process (are you on the verge of opening a bookstore? Halfway there? Or just thinking about it for now?). ABA will send you a digital kit including an Opening a Bookstore checklist.
Sign up for Prospective Booksellers School, facilitated by Paz & Associates. This information-packed bookselling experience features workshops on finances, store design, inventory management, marketing, technology, and more. ABA members receive discounts for workshop tuition and guidebooks.
Formulate a Business Plan. Your exploration of bookselling will benefit from a good reading of the information provided by the Small Business Administration on its website. From business plans to legal concerns, this is a wonderful stop for an overview and resources.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) website has numerous articles and resources on a range of small business topics. The organization’s hundreds of nonprofit chapters help link thousands of experienced business professionals with entrepreneurs every year.
Best of luck!