How to start a bookstore

Bookstore business

You have it clear: you are a lover of books and everything that surrounds their “old-fashioned” environment. If you imagine the smell of books and want to know how to start a bookstore, we will tell you the main keys that you must take into account to open a business as special and beautiful as this one.

bookstore types

There are several options on the market that will allow you to start your own bookstore. In relation to the type of bookstore, by its nature, you can choose the one that best suits your taste and your pocket. Among the most common, we can highlight:

  • The “lifelong” bookstores: They are those that offer books, books, and entire floors with more books of all kinds (or a single floor, let’s not be greedy).
  • Specialized bookstores: Unlike the previous one, your books will only collect one theme or a couple of them. They are usually characterized by being smaller and located in more strategic and studied points of the market (for example, a comic shop near a high school).
  • Bookstores-stationery: In those cases in which, apart from literary material, you want to sell copy shop products or school supplies.
  • The bookstore-cafeterias: You are very fashionable at the moment and they are here to stay. Cosmopolitan, close, diaphanous and pleasant, they are destined for a special and cultured client that may be yours.

Also read: How to choose the best place for a business?

Choose the area well

It is very important that, when setting up your bookstore, and taking into account the financing you have, you choose the area well and study the market: this study will be aimed at both competitors and future customers and, by virtue of this study, you must project your idea in a business model or another. Here are some examples of good choices:

  • In small neighborhoods, generic bookstores triumph, due to the convenience of not having to go to another larger area to find any type of book.
  • In areas close to schools, go for bookstore-stationery stores.
  • In university areas, thematic bookstores will be very well received. Take a look at the other businesses around you: think of a funky manga shop next to a sushi restaurant.
  • In the luxury or more deluxe areas of the city, bet on a careful bookstore-cafeteria, where reading is an experience for the most demanding pockets… and more “generous”.

Characteristics of the premises

In general, the premises in which our own bookstore will take shape must meet a series of requirements:

  • Consider a size of about 100 square meters: it should be neither too big nor too small, which evokes a feeling of intimacy.
  • It must have at least one toilet for workers and a warehouse.
  • It must have toilets accessible to the public in the case of a cafeteria bookstore. In this case, a kitchen or bar area will also be necessary.
  • Have a smoke outlet.
  • If you are going to play music, highly recommended to evoke reading and achieve an ideal environment (especially in specialized type bookstores), you must have the correct level of acoustic insulation.

All these needs require works, which will be more or less expensive depending on the magnitude of your project. There are cases in which you can find yourself in the situation of choosing a place that is already dedicated to the hospitality industry (transfers, sales) and your task is to adapt it to its new function as a bookstore. In this sense, it will be less laborious, as it involves fewer works, although the relevant building permits and the opening license will still be necessary, processed at the Town Hall of your locality.

If you can opt for the option of a transfer from another bookstore, you must go through a process called “transfer of ownership”, in which the cost will be much lower than that of conditioning a store from scratch. The advantages it entails are that:

  1. The bookstore already has an activity license.
  2. The works are already done (unless we want to make some reforms).
  3. We don’t need to make a new activity project. 
  4. We would have a bibliographic collection and we would only have to renew it according to our needs.

Also read: How to start an editorial business

the activity project

Once you have chosen your place and visualized its result, remember that need to carry out an activity project. It will be a document that contains all the necessary elements, from the financing to the requirements of the premises, as well as the technical and fiscal aspects of the land, for which you will need a competent professional or collegiate to sign it. Along with your project, you will be able to apply for the opening license at the Town Hall of your town, which, upon payment of the corresponding fee, will tell us if it is appropriate or not and will proceed to grant it.

As you can see,  setting up your own bookstore is not as utopian as it may seem at first. For you and for the people who still love reading on paper,  dare and launch yourself to fulfill your dream. The culture will thank you! Read?

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