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I have a friend who wants my DH and I open a Christian bookstore in our area. Right now we are taking a poll to see what the public thinks of this idea. If there is someone who has their own business I would really like some input from you. I am clueless where to even to begin but I am always up for a challange. I know that there is one bookstore over a hour away from me and it is hard for people to drive there. I feel it would be a great thing but I don't know where to find vendors to buy the supplies from. I would love to hear from my Frugal Villiage Family on this one. So please put in any kind of input for me. GOD BLESS.
 

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You're welcome :)
 

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(My opinion only - 'cause that what you said you wanted)

The first sentence of your post is VERY telling - a FRIEND wants YOU to open a bookstore. You don't seem like it's some passion, or even an interest of yours. Why did the friend pick you? Why don't THEY open a business?

Just some thoughts.......
 

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What she said...

And, if you do open one up, look into having homeschool curriculum in it. One of ours around here had a huge homeschooling curriculum area and someone bought it and they took it out. I know a lot of religious families bought from that store because it was a "Christian" store.
 

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A book store is a risky business at the best of times. Having one that only specializes in one area may not be viable at all.

I would tread very carefully with this idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for the input from everyone. My DH and I also thinks it is a good idea to open one. I have been praying about it the answer will come in its own time. For now I am doing researching, reading and going to keep waiting for the right answer. GOD BLESS
 

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Thank you for the input from everyone. My DH and I also thinks it is a good idea to open one. I have been praying about it the answer will come in its own time. For now I am doing researching, reading and going to keep waiting for the right answer. GOD BLESS
Just a suggestion, you certainly should do what you feel led to, but, If you do, expand your base a little by doing what Zakity suggested, add a homeschool curric area as well. It'll draw in another customer base.
 
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~You need to consult the local churches and see what the demand is like and what they want they're looking for.
Maybe you could start with in home parties like Tupperware to get your feet wet with selling.
If you find some success move on to a flea market booth. You will need to promote your booth with local churches and homeschool and religious groups.
My honest opinion is that I like browsing Bible Book stores but I rarely purchase. Everything is marked up to much to cover the cost of keeping a store. Why would I pay $15 for a book at a store that I can get for less than $10 online? I've seen all the Christian bookstores in our area close.
How about having an online store? You could have stock on hand or be a distributor.
You could also deal in primarily used books. Get a list of best-sellers from somewhere like Christian Book Distributors and start acquiring them used. Websites like Half.com allow you to choose your own price and condition of books and when a seller list one meeting your criteria it is automatically completes the transaction and the seller ships your book. You can build a collection cheap this way.
You can also ask for free Christian books on Freecycle and Craigslist to build your stock.
I've always wanted to have a Christian book library. Is that something you might be interested in? You wouldn't even need a physical location to browse at. You just keep the books organized somewhere and keep a database online. Then you just deliver books for pick-up at churches, community centers, fairs, etc. You could even just rotate boxes of books at each place without having people 'order'' them. It'd be like a book-of-the-month club for churches.~
 

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I agree with nuisance- I like to browse the shop but I buy most of my books on Amazon because it's usually always cheaper and I get free shipping.

I like the idea of having Christian homeschool curriculum for sale. I know if I homeschooled, I would love to be able to physically look at the stuff before I bought it.
 

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Okay. I never OWNED a Christian bookstore, however I did work for a bookstore that was a member of the Christian Bookseller's Association.

Assuming you want to sell new and not used books, there are a few basic places you can get information:

American Booksellers Association

Whether you are buying/selling beca textbooks, bibles, or best sellers, there are some fundamentals to running a bookstore that won't change. The ABA used to have a prospective booksellers' school and a booksellers' school, I do not know if they offer either these days, as I haven't been a member for over 10 years.

For Christian bookselling, here's that association too, although it seems they've changed their name slighly:

CBA :: The Association for Christian Retail

The American Booksellers Association (first link above) used to have specialty directories available of their members. It wouldn't probably be profitable to open a new bookstore down the street from an established bookstore with an emphasis in religious books, probably. Find out what each of the two organizations have re opening a new bookstore.

Two or three things I can tell you for sure: 1) Selling new books is frequently a cash-flow business, you buy books for cash, you return books (or return stripped covers) for credit, and the credit is applied to the newest invoice, not the oldest. You have to be able to come up with the cash to pay that old bill.

Bibles and classics have a longer shelf life than other material, but even in religious books there is a time where the stock needs to be replaced/refurbished. Think about this and how you'll pay for it up front.

If your sales start out really well, don't count on them continuing that way. Plan for your worst case scenario, not the world is coming up roses.

I don't know if this is true for religious bookstores or not, but it IS true for general bookstores: 60% of annual sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. That's 60% of what you make for the YEAR.

IHTH!

Judi
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am doing a survery in the town where I want to open the store so far everyone has said yes they would like to see a store come in the town. I found a space that will be 350.00 per month with everything included even trash, snow is included. Still thinking and praying to see what is going to happen. I want to thank everyone who gave their opinion. Blessings
 

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The building:

Make sure you have plenty of accessible parking. People won't come if the weather is bad and they have to walk outside. Also, check to see if you can see your display windows CLEARLY from the street. Make sure you have a loading area. Make sure you have enough wall space. Find out from the Fire Marshall how high your shelving can be/ what kind of fire alarm system you'd have to have and how big your aisles have to be. Figure out how much back room space you'd have AND what it will cost you a month.

How many linear feet of bookshelving can you get in the place (after you figure your back room/talk to the Fire Marshall) approximately? Draw a plan.

Look at the floors, are they carpeted? Stained? Wood? Need refinishing? Are they level? Really level? (Books fall off of cases when the floors aren't level.)

Are you responsible for leasehold improvements?

Ask the landlord for a copy of his lease agreement and take it to your lawyer and/or a legal aid and find out if there's any "gotchas" in there you don't know about. Find out how old the heating plant is. Is there air conditioning?

If your location isn't good, no matter how much people say they want your store, they won't come. Location is more than 1/2 the reason most bookstores make it or fail. A cheap space isn't necessarily a great one. But with the economy the way it is, it may be. . .

How long has the space been empty? What was there before? Do people actually shop in that area? Ask your local Chamber of Commerce if they have any info that can help.


Books/The Business
If your books are short discount/unreturnable (I think Bibles are, others I'm not sure) how many units do you have to sell to pay the bills and/or make a profit? (Standard discount when I started in the book business was 40%, a short discount book was 20% or less. Trade books are usually returnable, some books (textbooks and expensive, dated refererences typically and others) are NOT.

Short discount books used to be indicated in Books in Print by a small x following the price.

You need to know if you can return books, or if you strip them and return the covers (usually only mass market (rack sized) paperbacks).

Are you going to carry magazines? Do you have a local ID (independent distributor), if so, you may or may not be able to do busines with them. One local ID I knew would pull books specifically for a store, the other would give ythe store what they wanted to period. Depending on the ID, as a specialty store, it may not pay for you to do business with them.

If you open an account with a distributor, how much do you have to order per month?


All of my data is out of date. I haven't worried about this stuff in > 15 years, before the net, before e books, before a lot of changes happened.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Judi
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Judi thank you so much for all of the great information. There is a lot to think about before we make any kind of steps. Also there is one more big step that is holding me back is that we are empty nesters and my DH works on the road a lot and we would like for me to go with him instead of staying home alone all week. With the business I will be married to it instead to my DH. My family comes first instead of work and material things. We are going to keep praying. Once again thank you to everyone.
 

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If you want to go with him, why not organize it as a "party" instead of a full-time business? Have book parties once a month or every 6 weeks. Check with your home owner's to see if this can be covered.

Or, you could set up a regular meeting at your local library, like a reading group, and arrange to sell the books too. That way you could do all of it, go with your hubby, provide the books to your community, AND not be married to a business rather than your family.

If he stops being on the road and/or the minibusiness merits it, you could open a shop in a mini mall or an antique booth or if it's a real success, then hire a part-time employee.

There's all sorts of options that didn't exist before.

Talk to the owners of your local antique co-ops and see if they'd be willing to let you sell new, rather than used books. If so? Start a book booth. You won't have to worry about insurance, (although you CAN buy renter's insurance to cover your stock.), location, getting a credit card machine etc. to start with.

If your state has sales tax, make sure you sign up with the revenue department and pay your taxes, also check to see if your town requires a business license. You'll need your resale number (from the revenue department) and/or license to open a wholesale account with a wholesaler or distributor, also a business checking account too.

Judi
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Everyone has given lots of great ideas. We will consider everything before we make any kind of moves. Thank you for all of the help.
 
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