Books are a great source for learning, escaping, and expressing oneself. They range from academia, fantasy, as well as biographies. People of all walks enjoy reading and writing books. With such a great range of books, what should I sell?
General or Specific Bookshop
From the start, you have to decide what type of bookshop you would like to establish in order to be of service to your customers. Would you like to have a general bookshop that sells books of a diversity of topics, like the collection of a library? Would you like to have a specialized bookshop that sells specific topics, and they all fit under one branch of topics? Perhaps establishing a shop that serves people in the field of education, university or even medicine is what you desire. Whatever the choice may be for your bookshop, you must do your homework as to whether or not your type of bookshop will be able to be of service to your customers.
Your customers are the reason you will be in business. If you carry the books that appeal to their interests and needs, then you will succeed in running a successful bookshop. However, you must do your homework well. You must research and learn what is the void that you need to fill in with your bookshop. Who is the market population that you want to reach out to and what do they expect from you? In addition, research the literacy desire of your desired location. Where there is a rich desire for literacy, customers will visit frequently and keep your stock of books moving through the shelves. However, where ever there is a low desire for literacy, you may have a handful of customers that frequent your bookshop, but with longer gaps of time between visits; yielding a stock that gets older on the shelves. In the film, "Field of Dreams", the lead character receives a calling to build a baseball field in the middle of a farm field, "If you build it, they will come." It is not until the end of the movie that people do begin to drive towards his field. Keep in mind, its only a film. Your bookshop is real, so work at it.
The best way to understand what your customers need is to ask them. You can gain information from a diversity of surveys. You can start with a short survey with a listing of topics that you know your distributors will carry. You can also look at the "customers preferred" list from your distributors as well as bookshop distribution mail-outs, e-mail messages, and catalogs; to which you may subscribe. Another survey that you can use is one where you ask people to list the top five books they enjoy to read or have read within the past year. You can use a postcard or social media in order to gather this information. It can be quite amazing to learn the diversity of interests that people hold for books.
In addition, You can meet with leaders and members of local book clubs, literacy centers and reading rooms, in order to learn what their readers prefer and enjoy. Don't forget to stop by your local library, they usually have a small table or display of featured books, suggested seasonal readings, and social meetings as well. The library can be a center from which to learn where readers are at and what books they are diving into. Oh, don't forget to ask your family, close friends, and friends of friends too; they will be glad to give you support by sharing their diversity of book preferences as well.
Visit the local bookshops, whether they are small businesses or part of a chain, you can always learn something new from visiting another bookshop. One thing to keep in mind on your visit is that you don't have to be their competing enemy; you can be a complement to their service. Have this in mind as you learn what they are serving their customers. Make careful observations of their feature and seasonal tables or displays, discounted or on sale stock, or sections in which there is a high number of customers picking through books. You can also observe how the bookshop is learning what their customers like to buy. They could be using a point of sale system that helps track of inventory and book sells. Perhaps they are providing a survey upon check-out or providing a link to fill-out on the internet. Are the customers receiving an incentive for their participation of the survey ... perhaps a percentage discount on their next purchase? There is a lot that can be learned about potential customers by visiting other bookshops as well as what you can do to complement them with your bookshop.
In this day in age, there is nothing like the internet. People all over the world can type in "bookshop" in a search engine, and a listing of bookshops pops-up. People can refine their search to their town or city, and find one that serves its customers with books that cater to their topic of preference. All of this work can lead to a potential loyal set of customers ... if you make yourself known to them. Now a days, websites provide basic information about bookshops, yet the heart and inner workings can be observed through their social media site(s). It is this site(s) that will keep your bookshop alive. It will provide you with opportunities to create and run surveys ... learn what your customers like to read and expect out of your bookshop. It is this site where customers will learn to connect with your bookshop and staff. It is through this site that you will be able to connect with your customers by informing them how you can be of service to them as well as how you value their business.
In closing, it is a great opportunity to work in a bookshop. You can to learn much from your collection of books, but more importantly be of service to your customers. I encourage you to interact and engage with as many of your customers as you can. Try to learn all you can from them and provide for their literary needs; after all, you are here to fill the void with your bookshop.
© copyright 2005 - 2018;
R. A. Gómez