What it Takes to Become a Successful Bookstore Owner

Opening a bookstore is a daunting task, even for someone having broad bookselling and book industry knowledge. Just like our partners at Paz & Associates, Binc is dedicated to helping book people thrive in an industry that can be a challenge.

This post on the Paz & Associates blog from October offers some insight on how to make it as a bookstore owner.

Paz and Associates logoPeople often ask us to describe the kinds of people who are most successful bookstore owners. The answers may be surprising … the ability to master spreadsheets is not top of the list!

Love People – When you’re in the business of buying and selling books, it helps to know (and love) the people you’ll be serving. Great bookstore owners are involved in their communities, know a lot of people, and love listening to and learning from others. You can serve others when you understand their needs and desires.

Respect & Admire Authors & Illustrators – We are nuts about books. We devour them ourselves, always find a book to give as a gift, become wild evangelists for authors and books we’ve enjoyed, and look forward to conferences when we can hear from the authors and illustrators themselves. You can sell what you believe in.

Open to Ideas – Work and life begin to meld when you do what you love. You can be at the hair salon and get a really great idea to use in the bookstore. There’s an appreciation for great ideas and a knowledge that you can be inspired in the most unlikely places.

Eager to Learn the Business – Few people who open or buy a bookstore come from retail management backgrounds, but there are some business skills that are essential in this low-margin business where it’s easy to run out of capital and be unable to continue the dream. Successful owners don’t fly by the seat of their pants, but honor the business they’ve begun and learn to manage operations.

This combination separates those who “play bookstore” from those owners who rise to the top of their profession as successful stewards of their business.

Paz and AssociatesSusie Alexander, former B&N employee, opens Once Upon a Storybook in Orange County, CA. Her husband Norm and Curious George help during the recent Grand Opening.

 

If you want more information about opening a bookstore or about how to build a successful book business, visit the Paz & Associates website for more information and resources.

Many thanks to Donna Paz Kaufman for allowing Binc to share this article on our blog.

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