How to start a bookshop
Check out our start-up guide to learn how to turn your book business dream into a best-seller
- What is a book shop business?
- The first steps to setting up a bookshop
- Rules and regulations of running a bookshop
- Making the most of the internet
- Ways to make profit with your book business
- How much does it cost to start a bookshop
- Register a book business name with our preferred company formation agent (external site, opens in new tab)
- See if you can get a Start Up Loan to help you start a bookshop business idea (external site, opens in new tab)
What is a bookshop business?
Despite the rise of the internet and distractions ranging from smartphones, Kindles and iPads, there is still nothing that has come close to replacing the humble book in the hearts of British consumers.
UK publishers sold an estimated 787m books in 2006, with an invoiced value of £2.81bn The Office of National Statistics recently found that men and women in the UK spend around 25 minutes a day reading.
Of course, a large chunk of book sales are accounted for by large chains such as Waterstones or Books Etc., but there is still a healthy demand for the competitively priced or rare publications that independent stores offer.
So, if you are going to open up a bookstore, it is important that you find a niche and exploit it fully. Although it’s unlikely that you will make millions through a new store, if you set up your business in the right area, offering the right sorts of books in an efficient manner, you could conjure up a decent profit before you can say Harry Potter.
Like many businesses, having a knowledge or passion about the industry you are getting involved in is a bonus. Aidan Jenkins runs the Richmond Bookshop, after quitting his sales and marketing job.
“I decided to run my own bookstore because of my love of literature,” he explains. “I have collected second-hand books since the age of 12 and I was bought up in a book-loving family.”
It may be worth considering seeing if you can get a Start Up Loan (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) to help you with financing, and mentoring to start this business idea. You'll also need to think about registering your business, either as a sole trader or as a company - if a company, then Smarta Formations (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) are an organisation that can help you set up.
There are important choices you will need to make when deciding what kind of bookseller you want to be. These decisions will dictate what kinds of books you will need, and the budget you’ll need to acquire them.
Do you want to be a general bookstore with fancy décor and brand new releases? Maybe you would like to sell second hand books that you have gathered and can sell on at a profit? Or do you want to be an antiquarian bookseller and search out rare and valuable books through auctions and collectors?
Whatever your choice, its important that you plan and budget carefully so that your business becomes a best-seller.
Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.